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At Momentum we aim to develop Confident Communicators. Check out our very own Kamora Love-Thomas (8th Grade Scholar) as she joined Quanisha Major (Principal at Tower Grove South & Director of Culture) in an appearance on StudioSTL to talk about the great things happening at Momentum. Read below for a transcript of the interview.

Chelsea Haynes (00:04):
Time flies when you are learning and growing, and that’s what children have an opportunity to do at Momentum Academy. This next segment has been sponsored by Momentum Academy where they’re celebrating 10 years. And joining me now, our Quanisha Major, director of Culture, Principal at Tower Grove South, and Kamora, who is a scholar and a student. Ladies, thanks for being here with us today.

Quanisha Major (00:25):
Thanks for having us.

Chelsea Haynes (00:25):
Of course, of course. And you guys are really celebrating a big anniversary. 10 years! How are you guys celebrating?

Quanisha Major (00:32):
10 years of character, confidence to community- Those are our three pillars. We’re so excited to have served our community, and we’re also really excited to turn a corner and really think about how can we do something different for our region? How do we be attuned to the whole child and what they need? We’re super excited to be opening a pre-K classroom this year, so we now have pre-K all the way to eighth grade in one building, and we’re expanding our offering of that family approach where you can open your door and send all four or five of your kids into one building and know that they’re cared for.

Chelsea Haynes (01:02):
I love that. It’s the growth of the child, but also the growth of the school that is pouring into them. I love that. And Kamora, you’re here with us today. You are an eighth grader. What has Momentum Academy been like for you?

Kamora Love-Thomas (01:12):
Momentum Academy has really been fun. I’ve been there since fourth grade, and it just has been an amazing experience.

Chelsea Haynes (01:17):
I love that. I love that. Well, your hair looks amazing. You look beautiful. Tell me a little bit about what it’s like going into a school and knowing that you’re loved, you’re supported, you’re cared for. Does that make you feel good?

Kamora Love-Thomas (01:29):
Yes. It makes me feel amazing because it is like you have a lot of people behind your back that’s supporting you through whatever you do, and it’s just nice to feel- to have that feeling that you have people supporting you.

Chelsea Haynes (01:40):
Absolutely. That safety and that security. That’s really what you guys are doing and people are, they’re at home, they’re watching, and they might be interested in Momentum Academy. Tell me more about the open house.

Quanisha Major (01:48):
So we’re having an open house. We’re welcoming the whole community. If you have scholars from pre-K to eighth, come down, learn from our teachers and our administrators a little bit about our “whole child” approach. We really affirm that school’s primary role is academics, but we understand that there are so many other skills that scholars need to be successful in this global economy. So kids need communication skills like what Kamora and I are doing right now, but they also need good relationship skills. How do you build bonds and friendships with folks, even if they’re different from you, they need leadership skills. Can you set a vision and create a plan for you and some of your peers to go after it? And so we make sure that we develop kids in those ways. We also do some SEL work. We’re doing social and emotional learning. How do you regulate yourself? How do you help yourself calm down? Those are such big things for little people who have big emotions and feelings.

Chelsea Haynes (02:39):
I love that. I love that. It’s more than just the books, right? It’s beyond the books. Just tapping into that social wellness, that emotional wellness, it really caring for the whole child. What are some other ways that you guys are doing that at Momentum?

Quanisha Major (02:50):
So every morning we start with a morning meeting where our scholars have an opportunity to talk about how they are and also learn from their peers and figure out how they’re doing. Like I said, we talk about big emotions. We talk about how to help yourself calm down when you’re triggered.

Chelsea Haynes (03:05):
That’s important.

Quanisha Major (03:06):
Yeah, we talk about conflict resolution. So how do you talk to a peer when you all are having an issue and do that without your teacher, without someone having to step in? How do you let your friend know it really hurt you when you said this next time? Can you do it this way? And those are skills that kids need, but we also know that big people need those, right? And so if we’re able to develop our kids, I just can’t imagine what the world will be like if grown people all have good relationship building skills and good conflict resolution so that we’re able to use our words rather than violence and things to solve problems.

Chelsea Haynes (03:38):
Well you guys are definitely preparing them for the real world. So thank you for coming in. Congratulations on your eighth grade year. I know you’re getting ready for high school and St. Louis. We’ll make sure you have access on how you can get involved at the open house, coming up at Momentum Academy, coming up very soon on September 28th.


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