Celebrating our KIPP Texas Custodians and Latine Leaders

KIPP Texas Families, 

Joy is in the air! On Friday, I joined many members of our KIPP Team and Family, and community, KIPP Texas – Dallas-Fort Worth Regional Superintendent Eric Coleman, and School Leader Wauneta Vann in a moving ribbon-cutting ceremony at KIPP Oak Cliff Academy – Paul Quinn – the first KIPP school nationwide to be located on an HBCU campus. Earlier in the week, I was able to visit all of our Austin schools and KIPP Shine in Houston. The level of rigor coupled with joy in every classroom was exactly what I was hoping to see. Our teachers are being so intentional about creating brave and belonging classrooms while planning out every question they will ask and thinking through student misconceptions to get ahead of them. Seeing the dedication and hard work of Big KIPPsters Chasing Excellence truly brings me joy. Our front office teams, school leadership, teachers, child nutrition teams, and custodians are doing a beautiful job making sure our Little KIPPster experience is the very best! 

National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day

Speaking of our amazing Big KIPPSters, I want to shine a light on our 240 school custodians across the state! October 2 is National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day. Let’s each share a kind word of gratitude or a written note like this to each of our custodians this week to show how much we love and appreciate our everyday heroes who keep our schools clean and safe for our Little KIPPsters so that they can learn and grow. They love on and take care of all of us. Our custodians are truly incredible!

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Vibrant Hispanic Heritage celebrations continue throughout KIPP Texas. In 6th and 7th grade, students will read Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan and The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, written by exceptional Latine authors, giving our students different insights into Mexican-American culture. Aside from reading and lessons, our KIPPsters are also having fun celebrating through dress-up days! 

At KIPP Paseo Primary in Austin and KIPP Voyage in Houston, students wore traditional attire to celebrate their culture and observe Mexico’s and Honduras’ Independence Day! I love seeing the beautiful and vibrant colors that make up our rich diversity at KIPP Texas. Let’s continue celebrating throughout the month and beyond! 

Celebrating our KIPP Texas Latine Leaders

Part of Hispanic Heritage Month is sharing the contributions of our Latine leaders, past and present, who continue making a difference in our communities. I want to share a leader who inspires me – Justin Scott, our KIPP Texas – Austin Regional Superintendent. As a Latine leader in education, I celebrate him and his family story of Persisting with Purpose.

Justin Scott

Although Justin grew up in a time when speaking Spanish at school was a punishable offense, he Persisted with Purpose and was the first in his family to attend and graduate from college. He strives to bring a brave, belonging, and excellent education and opportunities to all students who enter the doors of KIPP Texas-Austin by leading his school communities with families as partners in education. While growing up, his grandparents and mentors told him that doing hard things is what will prepare him for success in life. He brings this to his work and finds joy in doing hard things. Justin shows that through joyful hard work, we will see our students thrive. 

I also celebrate our KIPP Texas Latine School Leaders: Jaime Jaen (KIPP Aspire Academy), Alexis Brown (KIPP Courage College Prep), Michelle Bennett (KIPP SHARP Prep), Dulce Negreros (KIPP Mosaic Academy School), Olvian Carias (KIPP East End High School), Mayra Gonzalez (KIPP Explore Academy), Camille Avila (KIPP Austin Obras), Janice Lopez (KIPP Austin Collegiate), and Juan Juarez (KIPP Austin College Prep). These passionate and purpose-driven Latine community leaders work to Rise Together with the same goal of Championing Equity for all KIPPsters. Thank you and our 1,400+ self-identified Latine-American Big KIPPsters, for paving the way and inspiring our Little KIPPsters, especially our Latine students who can see themselves in you. 

Student Applications Open Saturday, October 1! 

Wow, can you believe that our student applications for the 2023-2024 school year open this week on Saturday, October 1? Our KIPP Texas teams are hard at work getting everything ready for application kick-off. As a reminder, siblings of our current KIPPsters receive priority in our student enrollment lottery. If you have more than one school-aged child, we would love for all of them to join the KIPP Texas family! 

Thank you all, KIPPsters and families! Because of every one of you, we are on track for an excellent school year. Our Big KIPPsters in partnership with our families will continue building on the strong start and setting up our students for excellence with a joyful and rigorous education.

With gratitude, 

Sehba Ali

CEO of KIPP Texas

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