Faculty Spotlight: Katty Hargrave-Kerns

Here at 91st Street, Lower School Technology Integrationist Katty Hargrave-Kerns blends modern technology and fundamental education to make meaningful impacts on her Lower School students’ minds. Teaching students from Pre-K through Fourth Grade, Ms. Hargrave-Kerns, known as Ms. HK by her students, aims to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of technology as well as a lifelong love of learning.

Since joining the Sacred Heart community in 2022, the joy of witnessing students' excitement when they master new skills in class stands out as a highlight for Ms. Hargrave-Kerns. Each grade level presents unique challenges and milestones. For instance, first graders are introduced to typing, and their enthusiasm is palpable as they discover each letter. Second graders gain a deeper understanding of how to responsibly and safely use different digital platforms and begin a more in-depth coding unit practicing computational thinking skills.  Third graders start gaining independence, engaging in activities like making playdough and building squishy circuits. By fourth grade, students apply their knowledge in practical ways, mastering digital citizenship and diving into more complex coding projects.

One of Ms. Hargrave-Kerns's favorite projects was a Halloween-themed engineering design challenge that introduced the engineering design process to students. First graders tackled the problem of cleaning up a yard littered with bones by constructing bone towers from Q-tips. Second graders built bone bridges using pipe cleaners and clothes pins to support miniature pumpkins. Third graders, inspired by "Room and the Broom," had to create space on the broom using various craft materials, fostering collaboration and creativity. Fourth graders faced the challenge of building towers to protect pumpkins from pests. These engaging projects introduced engineering concepts and encouraged problem-solving and teamwork.

Beyond the classroom, Ms. Hargrave-Kerns enjoys spending her time as an aerialist. Specializing in the aerial hoop, a large metal ring suspended from the ceiling, she enjoys both taking classes and teaching classes. “I was a competitive gymnast and coach for most of my life and found this as I got older,” said Ms. Hargrave-Kerns.

Through dedication, innovation, and a genuine love for teaching, Ms. Hargrave-Kerns is not only helping to shape the young minds of our Lower School students but also inspiring them to explore and create with enthusiasm and confidence.