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5/7/16 - 8:00pm - Kimberly Jackson

“Dyslexia is a principal cause of reading difficulties & illiteracy. A child who cannot read well is likely to fail in school & is more likely than reading peers to drop out of school.  A child who drops out of school is more likely to abuse drugs & to violate the law & is less likely to secure meaningful employment & stable housing.  He or she will be poorly equipped to support a family in later years.” (Sisbarro & Cole, 2005)

This quote proved prophetic for.  Ms. Jackson.  Growing up, she watched a family member struggle with undiagnosed Dyslexia.  This led to the family member dropping out of school, abuse of drugs, law violations and difficulty securing meaningful employment.  As an adult, Ms. Jackson watched a close friend, also with undiagnosed Dyslexia excel.  The difference between the two: early intervention and support.

Born in New Orleans and transplanted to Baltimore via Hurricane Katrina, Ms. Jackson is an actress, director, writer, teacher, mother and educational activist.  Ms. Jackson, founder and Chair of The Ivy School Founding Governing Board, is an 18 year veteran educator.  Ms. Jackson is certified in multiple states in Early Childhood through 8th grade, as well as having certifications from K-12 in English, Speech Communications, Theater and Principalship.  She has both received and delivered professional development in Dunn and Dun Learning Styles Model, Universal Learning by Design, Project-Based Learning, and Arts Integration.  Beginning her career in 1998 with creative arts programming, Ms. Jackson founded The PlayGround Children’s Theatre Company while still in college.   Writing and directing children eventually morphed to teaching teachers how to teach children using theatre and finally teaching and school administration.  She built her expertise as a para, teacher, Assistant Principal, Principal and as a School Turnaround Specialist working with turnaround schools in DCPS.   Ms. Jackson has been successful in her career, moving students at least an average of 10% points in ELA and Math.  Through her work in education she realized that, like her family member, many students were being left behind.  This is when Ms. Jackson’s passion project, The Ivy School, was born.  The Ivy School is a proposed charter school/charter management organization for dyslexic children.  She brings a unique perspective, a wealth of resources and experiences, and knowledge to The Ivy School.

In her down time, Ms. Jackson performs Spoken Word Poetry and competes in Poetry Slams.  She has won multiple Poetry Slams and featured in such places as Busboys and Poets (5th and K).  Ms. Jackson released her first book, The F*ckery Monologues, in 2015.  Currently she is working on her first full length collection on poetry as well as a curriculum guide for incorporating project based learning and simulations into middle school Social Studies.  In addition to writing, performing, studying and advocating for the educational rights of dyslexic students, Ms. Jackson is also a mother to a set of twin boys. . .who are also enjoying acting, performing and hitting the open mic stage.