Creating Culture as an Operations Manager

Every year at DP YOU, we come together as a network to learn from each other and celebrate the culture and values of Democracy Prep. This year we’re recognizing the teachers, academic and operational leaders (and more) who make up the DREAM team by sharing how they’ve excelled in their schools and why they #WorkAtDP.

Xochilth Cosme is the Operations Manager at Harlem Prep High School. She has been with Democracy Prep for six years.

Xochilth joined Harlem Prep Elementary as the receptionist immediately after she graduated from college. She later served as the registrar for two years before joining Harlem Prep High School as the Operations Manager.

“One of the things that attracted me to Democracy Prep is that this network believes that our scholars, even as kindergarteners, can make a difference,” said Xochilth. “I fell in love with that idea.”

Six years later, she is just as excited by Democracy Prep’s mission.

“We’re not just trying to get the kids by,” said Xochilth. “We want to develop a human as a whole so that once they are out in the world, they are able to thrive. Everything that we do is driven by that.”

Another reason Xochilth likes working for Democracy Prep is the positive culture in the schools and the impact it has on scholars.

“It’s such a joyful, caring culture,” said Xochilth. “It is the culture that makes the scholars stay here and want to come to school everyday. You know that they actually want to be here.”

As Operations Manager, Xochilth has innovated systems to make HPHS run more smoothly.

“My school’s leadership [team] has developed me to be a leader within the operational role where I can observe the school culture and ask, ‘What does our culture need?’”

Teacher sustainability is a top priority for her, so she is constantly looking for ways to make teachers’ lives more manageable. This year, she revamped the ‘Minute-by-Minute’ for her campus so that teachers have individualized, easy-to-read schedules at the click of a button.

Xochilth knew she wanted to work in education because she saw how high the stakes were when American citizens, and particularly elected officials, were uninformed. Xochilth was previously undocumented, but because President Obama implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), she could work and gain legal status when she graduated from college. President Obama created DACA when Congress failed to pass the DREAM Act, a piece of legislation that would have granted legal status to certain individuals brought to the United States when they were children.

“The DREAM Act did not pass because our congressmen were not educated in the subject enough to even show up to vote for the DREAM Act. So now, I want to make sure that future generations know exactly what’s going on around them so that they can make the right decisions not only for themselves but for other people.”

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