At KIPP Texas Public Schools, we strongly believe that in-person learning is the best option for our students. Inside our schools, there is more joy and rigor, the best academic and social-emotional experience and development for students, and a safe learning environment that continues to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. We are committed to providing a safe, rigorous, and fun in-person learning environment where students thrive and meet their goals of college, career and beyond.
We also recognize that families may have concerns about sending their KIPPster back to school during the COVID-19 pandemic, and rightfully so. We also have always created environments where even our most medically-fragile students can experience school feeling cared for while also having their needs met.
There are four reasons why we strongly believe in in-person learning:
1. In-Person Learning Supports Students with Forming Stronger Connections
Studies show that socializing and developing friendships helps children learn more about themselves, helps them build empathy, and form lasting relationships with peers.
It probably goes without saying that children are more likely to develop worthwhile connections in-person than online. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) released a statement earlier this summer highlighting the importance of in-person connection for the development of children.
When students are in the same physical setting, making connections feels natural and it is unquestionably easier to reach out to classmates and teachers alike. In-person classes lead to organic discussions where students can bounce ideas off of one another. For remote classes, by contrast, the on-screen dynamic can be impersonal and largely anonymous. “There is little sense of friendship or relationship between the students that would usually be built in traditional in-person classes,” says Daphane Carter, KIPP Texas State Superintendent and Chief Academic Officer. “
Connections formed through in-person interaction are crucial to the social and emotional development of children. This especially applies to children with behavioral or other developmental needs.
2. In-Person Learning Creates Stronger Academic Experiences for Students
Research shows that students learn more when they are in-person at school. Students receiving in-person instruction have fewer distractions, increased concentration, and can receive more direct, personalized learning experiences that keep them from falling behind.
When together in the classroom, KIPP Texas teachers can better connect with each individual student and offer more personalized one-on-one attention and coaching.
Interactivity is key in a learning environment. This can be harder to achieve without time spent in the physical classroom, particularly if online learning is delivered to a large class rather than in small tutored groups or one-on-one environments.
Students participating in in-person learning also benefit from more collaborative and hands-on work with their peers. Students can more easily ask questions and solve problems directly with teachers and peers in real-time.
3. In-Person Learning Helps Improve Mental Health
While authentic connection is a huge component of mental health for children, there are a few other aspects that come into play—specifically ones that children can find much easier with in-person learning and interactions.
Just like adults, kids need physical activity, human interaction, a lot of sunlight, and healthy food to maintain their mental health.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics , “…children get much more than academics at school. They also learn social and emotional skills at school, get healthy meals and exercise, mental health support and other services that cannot be easily replicated online.”
4. In-Person Learning Suits Different Learning Styles
Every child has a different learning style. Oftentimes, these learning styles are separated into four different categories:
- Visual, who retain information better if they can see it or watch the demonstration of an idea.
- Auditory learners, who are at their best when they can hear information.
- Reading/writing, where children learn best when using the written word by taking notes.
- Kinetic learners, or children who learn with hands-on experience.
Online learning presents a few challenges for each learning style. For example, kinetic learners find difficulty using physical techniques to retain information when most of the lessons are visual and auditory focused. And auditory learners may be distracted by seeing their peers’ faces on screen while the teacher is talking.
Being together in a classroom allows a teacher to guide each student according to their unique abilities, and have a good perspective on whether the children themselves are utilizing them to their best ability.
A More Inclusive Approach
We know many learners find their most enriching development experiences in experiential and personalized learning, from group work with classmates, internships, and mentorships. By incorporating more of these activities as part of the overall learner experience, we have created a more seamless way to integrate hybrid experiences for our middle and high school students that take advantage of the resources in our network and are not siloed to one city.
We are so looking forward to having our KIPPsters back in person for the 2021-22 school year and can’t wait to continue walking alongside them and their families, supporting their academic journey, and providing them with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose–college, career, and beyond.
How We Keep In-Person Learning Safe for Your Kids
Helping your children get healthy interaction through in-person learning while staying safe from coronavirus isn’t an easy feat. But at KIPP Texas, we’re doing our best to provide parents with the resources they need to help their children succeed during this challenging time.
At KIPP Texas, your children can make tons of friends, form bonds with their coaches and teachers, stay active, and release stress.
KIPP Texas highly recommends all individuals wear a face covering when inside our buildings and on our campuses.
We will socially distance to the extent possible in our classrooms, buildings, and offices…with some good old fashioned fun, all while staying safely socially-distanced.
Children and teachers experiencing any symptoms of illness are asked to stay home.
Facilities are cleaned daily, and high-touch and high-traffic areas will be disinfected with greater frequency. disinfected thoroughly and regularly, both by us and a cleaning crew.
We have put together this Health & Safety Protocols document for a summary of these protocols and created a “Health and Safety Guidelines” webpage with this same information for easy access. Additionally, because I know that these high-level protocols do not answer every single scenario and question you might have, we are also sharing this Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document with answers that we anticipate you’ll need.