Karissa Devore joined ISDenver as an English teacher in 2016, and was recently named the Director of Auxiliary Services, which includes oversight of our Extended Day School programs as well as ISDenver Summer Camps. We had a chance to catch up with Karissa and learn more about her background and what to expect this summer at ISDenver!
Describe your background. What drew you to working at the International School of Denver?
My background includes a B.A. in English Language Arts & Reading with an EC-6th Grade Teaching Certificate, and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction. I first started teaching in a private school just north of Houston with a focus on developmentally appropriate practices and then transitioned into teaching in the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme at a charter school in Austin. Through those two experiences I became passionate about inquiry- based learning, and devoted myself to that method of teaching. When my husband got a job in Denver three years ago, I was searching for a school dedicated to the pursuit of inquiry-based learning and student-centered teaching practices. It was important to me that I be part of an environment where I could utilize my specific skills and training to contribute something significant to the community, not only through teaching, but also through curriculum development and being involved in mentoring students in different extracurricular capacities. ISDenver was exactly the school I was looking for, and I have loved being part of this community.
Tell us a bit more about your jobs at ISDenver, both as an English teacher and now as Director of Auxiliary Services.
As an English teacher in 1st grade, I have the incredible privilege of guiding students through the development of their foundational literacy skills. As the Director of Auxiliary Services, I am dedicated to growing and strengthening our camps and after school programs, building on the years of hard work put in by all the ISDenver staff members who have touched these things throughout the life of our school in its various iterations.
What are you looking forward to most about this summer and the camps we are offering? What makes them unique from others?
I am beyond excited about our upcoming summer camps! This year, the heavy focus is on delivering camps that are enjoyable for students while also being academically valuable. We are adding some new elements this summer, including project based learning and breakout sessions in the afternoons for some camps, giving students more choice and variety in their camp day. We are also forming new partnerships with organizations like The National Inventors Hall of Fame, which will increase our STEAM focused camp offerings dramatically with high quality curriculum and resources.
What are some long-term goals for ISDenver summer camps and after-school programming? Where do you see it in a few years?
My goal is for our camps and after school programs to be the premier offerings of their kind in Denver. I envision a strong, rotating curriculum that keeps things fresh for our students while providing them with an experience that is engaging, fun and supportive of academic, creative, social and physical development.
What are you most proud of in your time here at ISDenver?
I am most proud of the relationships I have built with my students and their families. I truly believe students are most successful when they feel cared for and when there is a strong home-school partnership in place. I have been amazed by the high level of engagement demonstrated by ISDenver parents. To have that kind of support and cooperation from families is an incredible gift to teachers.
What is your favorite part about working here?
I love being with the kids! They remind me to wonder, to explore and to get excited about the little things in life.
Anything else you would like to share? We’ve heard you are crafty!
A bit of trivia about me is that I have many hobbies outside of school! I teach yoga/meditation and mala making, and have a small knitting/crochet business on the side. I try to take advantage of the mountains as much as possible by hiking, camping and snowboarding but after two seasons I’m still pretty terrible at that last one. In the spirit of growth mindset, I can’t snowboard well...yet. I also collect rocks, crystals, cacti and other interesting plants. Stop by my office in the Welcome Center to say hi and see for yourself!
Interested in this year's summer camps at ISDenver? Learn more here!