October 4, 2021

Celebrating Teachers, Custodians, and Principals

KIPP Texas families,

We have a handful of joyous staff celebrations in October, starting with National Principals Month!

We often use the term school leader at KIPP instead of the traditional title because our “leadership stance” is to lead the learning! I’m so grateful to the dozens of school leaders and principals in residence (PIRs) who are using this year to prepare to lead schools next year. As former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan once said, “…Where you have good principals, great teachers come, and they stay, they work hard, and they grow.”  Thank you for being excellent role models and relentlessly preparing all students for success in college, leadership, and life. 

Tomorrow is World Teachers’ Day, a day to celebrate the diversity and work of teachers around the globe. Happy early World Teachers’ Day to our amazing 2,500+ teachers who represent many diasporas, heritages, and experiences from which our students can learn!

As a former middle school ELA teacher, I know that in addition to being a champion for equity for our students, forming strong teacher-student relationships and creating brave and belonging spaces can profoundly impact the lives of our KIPPsters for their entire lifetimes. Our teachers are doing just that in our classrooms even on the hardest days. They are caring, talented, and are the best at what they do. That’s why we are so proud that every day they choose KIPP Texas.

Last week, I visited KIPP Alegria in Austin and saw one of our distinguished PE teachers, Dan Arce, doing an excellent job of modeling exercises he wanted our KIPPsters to perform and how he wanted them to perform them. He had clear CFS (criteria for success) and provided clear directions that aligned with his expectations. And of course, our KIPPsters thrived in his space. He was clearly executing his lesson with excellence, and he has built a strong, lasting connection with his KIPPsters.  

Over the weekend, on October 2, we celebrated National Custodian Day. We have 91 phenomenal custodians at KIPP Texas who ensure our schools are well maintained and at an exceptional level of cleanliness, especially during the pandemic. Our facilities teammates are a critical part of our Team & Family. Our teachers couldn’t do what they do without their work. I loved seeing this special shout-out to our custodians on our statewide Facebook page. Thank you, Custodian team!

With so many staff celebrations, let’s keep our season of gratitude and resiliency going! The next time you see a custodian or a teacher, please thank them for the attention to detail and care that they exhibit every day. This week, I encourage you to take it a step further and express your gratitude with an act of kindness. 

Lastly, families please be aware that TikTok’s“Devious Lick” challenge to destroy school property has evolved to an annual challenge with the October challenge being “Slap a Teacher,” which is highly concerning. Students following this trend are not only disrespectful and violating our Student Code of Conduct, but they will also be reported for assault. Participation in this trend will not be tolerated at KIPP Texas. Please talk to your children and share that these national social media trends are not acceptable and should not occur among our KIPP Team & Family. If you need help talking to your child about these national social media trends, please reach out to your child’s teacher or the school counselor. 

With gratitude,

Sehba Ali