Lumin Education: At home learning in action


By Tricia Monfrey, Lumin

For the past 18 years, Kim Mason has been a beacon of light in the lives of children and parents at Lumin Lindsley Park Community School in East Dallas. Our community knows “Ms. Kim” as not just a teacher, but also as a relentless advocate for her students with a surreal ability to help even the most energetic and challenging children succeed. Ms. Kim never backs down from an opportunity, and this pandemic has provided the perfect example of her ability to lead as an educator under duress.

Like all of Lumin’s teachers, Ms. Kim has kept in regular contact with the families in our community since we shut down our facilities in March. A few weeks into this national health crisis, one of her 5-year-old students started to show his more mischievous side. We’ll call this student “David.”

David’s father had lost his job and was searching for work; and his mother was left to manage four children, all under the age of 10. Ms. Kim arranged for David’s family to borrow a laptop from the school and David’s mom was encouraging him to log in each day and keep up with his schoolwork, but David had other ideas.

Ms. Kim Mason, Lumin Lindsley Park Community School educator, delivers an at-home lesson via Zoom.
Photos courtesy of Lumin

Ms. Kim was not about to let him slide. During her scheduled phone call with David’s mother, Ms. Kim requested that her young pupil pick up the line to answer for his still-untouched assignments.

Under Ms. Kim’s tele-supervision that afternoon, David did as he was told, but for the following three days, he again left the laptop untouched. Ms. Kim took bold action, she pulled on a facemask, grabbed some gloves, and started the hour-long trip from her home in Fort Worth to David’s apartment in East Dallas

When David recognized that his beloved teacher had suddenly appeared on his stoop, his eyes got as big as mousepads. With his rapt attention, Ms. Kim gave David a concise but thorough explanation on why he needed to cooperate with his parents and actually complete the tasks that she was assigning. Ms. Kim would later recall saying something like, “I don’t want to have to drive to your house again …. Listen to your mom and do your work.”

After Ms. Kim’s impromptu visit, David started working online every day, with extra one-on-one coaching from his big-hearted instructor. Ms. Kim, like many educators in our community, has always gone the extra mile to stay connected to students and families.

When the living room became the school room for Lumin Education students, families whose children normally received a free lunch and breakfast were able to drive by the school and pick up their meals.

Lumin Education, operates two community schools in Old East Dallas, Lumin Lindsley Park Community School and Lumin East Dallas Community School. Both schools focus on providing early childhood education serving children and families from pregnancy through third grade.

As a public Montessori school Lumin charges no tuition, and by design, focuses on serving those in greatest need. Last year, of the 358 children who attended the two schools, 61 percent were low income and 40 percent spoke a primary language other than English.

Lumin Education’s goal for North Texas Giving Day is $75,000 and funds will be used to make sure that teachers like Ms. Kim can reach students like David.

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