Katherine Volpe is a transplant from New York. She came here in 2007 to teach at Wilde Lake High School, bright eyed, enthusiastic, passionate, and right out of undergrad. She has spent her entire teaching career teaching Social Studies at the Lake, which she considers her home away from home. She has taught US History, American Government, Law and the Citizen, Psychology, Women’s Studies and AP Economics. She has also been an integral part of the Innovative Pathways programs, teaching summer school for Social Studies as well supporting students who are completing Bridge Projects for American Government. She was a Crystal Flame nominee for her creation of the US History grade recovery program, which helped students recover their first quarter grades and helped them earn their US History credit, a graduation requirement. In 2019, she was named Maryland History Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Council of Social Studies. During her time at Wilde Lake HS, she sponsored and founded the Wilde Lake Poms Squad, as well as the Greene and Gold Mentor program.
In 2012, upon completion of her Master’s Degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment and Administration Certification, she was promoted to 9th grade Instructional Team Leader. She quickly realized a more global perspective of the school and all that she still had to learn. She enrolled herself in many classes from Leadership Development, Cultural Proficiency, Teaching with Poverty in Mind, Restorative Justice, and Anti-racist teaching over the past eight years. She has taken her learning back to Wilde Lake HS and developed focus groups to review the data and improve life for all WL students, by attacking the retention of 9th graders. Her goal, is to bring a safe learning environment to all students, while also creating student leaders who find their place in the world. She truly believes the future of America is in her classroom. In 2019, she earned her National Board Certification for young Adolescent Social Studies, by implementing many of these very practices to help students challenge themselves by taking high level classes, using data informed decisions in her teaching practices, developing engaging and creative lessons relevant to student lives, and keeping equity at the forefront of her teaching.
Furthermore, Kate has developed the Greene and Gold Mentor program into a leadership development program, in which several students who were mentees in the program have become mentors in their junior and senior years. They are leaders in the building who mentor younger students and have learned to give back to their school community. She has valued student voice and creating a space for male students to circle—Voices of Color—to have a safe place to talk about challenges, barriers and, successes. This year, she has helped create a Food Bank, the Wilde Lake Corner Café, to remove one more barrier for so many of our students. In addition, this summer, Kate is developing a Teaching with Poverty in Mind II CPD class, after spending several semesters teaching the very class that inspired some of her own work. She looks forward to continuing to expand her learning in this important work and bring it to the OhanaHC mentoring program.