[2024 - 2025] KIPP Durham Middle Social Worker ($70k - $100k, LCSW required)

  • Full-time
  • Grade Level: Middle
  • Start Date: Next year opening
  • Department: School-based Support

Company Description

Organizational Overview

Teaching is the absolute hardest profession in the world. Full stop. No contest. Next question. 


Turnaround teaching is a whole other level of hard. The reality of too many of our country’s schools—especially those serving low-income and other marginalized communities coming out of a global health crisis and with a century of systemic under-investment—is that the academic achievement of their students doesn’t match their students' brilliance, and their student culture does not create an environment where each and every student is seen, valued, and loved.  


KIPP Durham Middle School on the east side of Durham, North Carolina, has been one such school. Every 6-8-Grade student in our classrooms today is brilliant, but our efforts over the past decade have not successfully harnessed that collective brainpower to get exceptional results on North Carolina’s state middle school exams in reading, math, and science, the benchmarks that ensure they are on track towards being academically prepared to lead the choice-filled lives they envision for themselves.


KIPP North Carolina, in partnership with the leaders and national resources of the KIPP Foundation, is seeking to change that reality. 


For the 2024-25 school year (and for the next two school years after that), we are assembling a dream team of 18 exceptional professionals—master teachers, instructional leaders, operational leaders, special education experts, and other supporters of learning—who are eager to “re-found” our Durham middle school to create a dynamic and engaging middle school learning environment that maximizes our 160 students’ limitless potentials. 


The Social Worker we are looking to join the KIPP Durham Middle School team will be a master practitioner who has a track record of affecting rapid, dramatic student learning improvements for their students. They will have an NC Clinical Supervision Certificate, too, to provide supervision to other Social Workers in the region who need their hours to sit for the LCSW exam. While we founded the school in 2015, we are treating 2024-25 as a re-founding school year, an endeavor that requires a staff with a founder’s mentality around doing what it takes, making it happen, sweating the small stuff, and creating a reimagined reality for our students.




Job Description



Our one “re-founding” Social Worker will blow the following four crucial competencies* out of the water:


Driving for Results: Our Social Worker will have a strong desire to help support students and teachers achieve outstanding student learning results and the task-oriented actions required for success. Our Social Worker will set high goals for themselves and their students, making persistent, well-planned efforts to achieve these goals despite barriers and resistance; holding others accountable for doing their part to achieve results; and putting in all the extra effort necessary to ensure success. 


Influencing for Results: Our Social Worker will motivate others—students, staff colleagues, and families—and influence their thinking and behavior to obtain outstanding student learning results. Our Social Worker will understand that they cannot accomplish change alone, but instead must influence the work of others. They will use a variety of influencing moves—inspiring students, nurturing ridiculously joyful AND rigorous classroom and schoolwide cultures, grasping and responding to unspoken student needs and motivations, and simultaneously supporting and prodding colleagues to collaborate on the path to schoolwide success—as the situation requires. The relationships they will form are for the purpose of influencing others to enhance student learning, not just for the purpose of personal bonding. 


Problem-Solving: Our Social Worker will be LASER FOCUSED on planning, organizing, and delivering high quality, differentiated support to the students in their care during the day, on select weekend academies, and during summers (while running summer academies during select weeks and participating in summer teacher professional development sessions during other select weeks).


Personal Effectiveness: Our Social Worker will exhibit flexibility and optimism when faced with stressful, uncomfortable, and unfamiliar situations; maintain confidence in themselves and a willingness to keep improving despite the many challenges of their role; actively embrace the constant changes needed to ensure student learning in high-challenge situations; and hold and maintain a strong belief in the human potential for learning and improvement, despite significant societal pressures to settle for less. Our staff will see themselves as not just a classroom/office staff, but a SCHOOLWIDE colleague oriented around solutions and being proactive in their engagements. 




Preparing and Delivering Instruction

  • Provide direct services to our school community including:
    • Crisis intervention and behavior management to expedite students’ return to classrooms for learning and to build students’ ability to meet the school’s high expectations
    • Individual and group counseling (school-based and mandated)
    • Identify and train others to identify students and family members who may benefit from regular one-on-one counseling or group counseling
    • Develop and implement curriculum for social and emotional development/intervention with students
    • Refer, monitor, and evaluate individuals and families to external resources and services
    • Administer records, documentation, and other compliance activities
  • Serve as a Case Manager for our school community 
  • Strengthen and support parent and family involvement
  • Plan and develop school-based interventions with educator colleagues
  • Engage and partner with community agencies and resources in and around the City of Durham
  • Help students and their families with learning, behavior, and/or attendance concerns while strengthening home, school, and community partnerships
  • Evaluate students in terms of personal and family history and socio-economic and cultural differences
  • Evaluate the configuration of factors within the home, community, and school as related to a student’s current social and academic adjustment
  • Set clear, high expectations, and hold students accountable for performance—all of which requires taking personal responsibility and doing everything required to reach challenging goals
  • Embrace and incorporate the gift of feedback from wherever it comes—colleagues, principal, assistant principal, regional coaches, students, wherever—in the spirit of Pursuing Excellence, one of KIPP NC core values
  • Do all the operational things that support great instruction, like keeping records and completing tasks for data tracking systems


Building Positive Classroom and Schoolwide Cultures

  • Develop positive relationships with students, families, teachers, and staff through regular positive phone calls to families, routine curbside check-ins with families at arrival and dismissal, weekly newsletters from the classroom, and attendance at all school events, including Back-to-School Night, family conferences, report card conferences, and all other school celebrations
  • Leverage those relationships to induce behaviors and instructional habits from students that are significantly different from those previously exhibited; pinpoint and tap the needs, wants, and underlying motivations of students
  • Participate fully in the daily routines of a school that form the foundation of culture, like arrival/dismissal, advisory/circle time, lunch, hallway transitions, and the 1,000 other moments that make up a day
  • Embody, nurture, and build KIPP NC’s core values (Pursuing Excellence, Building Knowledge, Fighting Injustice, Sparking Joy, and Rising Together) and the school’s student and staff cultures
  • Assume personal responsibility for student achievement, all the students in the school, and the success of staff colleagues
  • Create and maintain a joyful workspace that exudes love, builds a sense of belonging, and celebrates learning, which includes displaying content-appropriate and identity-affirming decorations


Exemplifying a Growth Mindset

  • Collaborate with leaders and coaches to identify areas of strength and areas of growth for professional development throughout the year, some of which will be leader-led, and some of which will happen in the quiet after-school moments in classrooms with colleagues in the routine preparation for the next day
  • Attend practice clinics to hone and sharpen skills
  • Participate in Teacher Work Days, Regional Data Days, and Professional Development meetings after school; satiate their hunger to learn and grow as a professional


Taking Care of Yourself 

  • Use the many benefits the organization offers employees (health benefits, generous school holidays, etc.) to relieve stress after the workday is done or over school breaks and holidays, as the job of turning a school around is tough—teachers will experience stress and emotional challenges associated with all the essential duties enumerated above, and self-care will be a priority



The following are required of the KIPP Durham Middle Social Worker:

  • A deep commitment to the mission of KIPP NC and an unwavering belief in the potential of all our students
  • An unwavering commitment to anti-racism, equity, inclusion, and liberation
  • A deep commitment to both racial equity and improving the lives of kids from economically marginalized communities
  • 3+ years of experience in K-12; experience in teaching in a high performing charter school and/or schools with a high population of students with free and reduced lunch
  • Demonstrated success in raising the achievement levels of economically marginalized students
  • Master’s degree in Social Work + Licensure-LMSW required
  • NC Clinical Supervision Certificate highly preferred
  • A Bachelor’s degree in a relevant content area
  • Pass Criminal Background Check
  • Fluency in Spanish is preferred

Additional Information

Additional Notes

  • Hours are Monday-Friday, 7:30 AM – 5:00 PM (these are work hours for teachers, not school hours for students)
  • Some Saturday/weekend commitments will be required for additional tutoring and intervention work with students
  • Durham Middle staff will be expected to help run summer academies in the Summers of 2025, 2026, and 2027


Total Benefits

All KIPP Durham Middle staff will be paid on the KIPP Durham 2024-25 Compensation Model and paid according to their years of relevant experience and educational attainment.


In addition, the KIPP Durham Middle Social Worker will receive:

  • A $25,000 salary boost to recognize their investment in KIPP Durham Middle’s re-founding
  • Health Insurance: State Health Plan with low premiums for individuals and deep discounts for spouses, dependents, and families
  • Paid Parental Leave: 8 weeks of 100% paid maternity leave and 4 weeks of 100% paid paternity leave
  • Paid Time Off + Sick Leave: 5 days of PTO and 6 sick days every year
  • Retirement: An optional 403b with a generous employer match with immediate vesting


Important Note: This incredible opportunity to magnetize a Dream Team staff to Durham Middle starting in the 2024-25 school year is made possible by the national KIPP Foundation. Their commitment to KIPP NC is for three school years (2024-25, 2025-26, and 2026-27). After those three years, we will reassess our approach and resource allocation model. We are asking all successful candidates in this role to commit to the entirety of those three years (with a TBD for 2027-28 and beyond!). 


*We are forever indebted to Public Impact, a North Carolina-based non-profit organization dedicated to an excellent education for all students and excellent careers for all educators through its national Opportunity Culture initiative, for this language and framework.

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