Dolores Lozano is a first-generation college graduate, a KIPP Texas alumna, and a member of the KIPP Texas board of directors. This week, Lozano testified at the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) public hearing on new charter school proposals.
Lozano shared her story of how KIPP Texas changed the trajectory of her life and her family’s lives and urged SBOE members to consider new charter school applications with an open mind. Here is a recap of her compelling testimony.
I’m here today to share my story beyond the data, to provide a beautiful picture of the impact of KIPP, and public charter schools alike.
Like so many immigrant families, my parents entered the workforce straight out of high school.
My sisters and I were very fortunate that they exhausted whatever resources they had to foster our education.
As the eldest of three and a product of Houston’s East End, where many Latinos do not make it out of high school, graduating from college was not only a huge accomplishment for myself, but for my community.
After completing KIPP 3D Academy in 8th grade, I was awarded a full-scholarship to a private Sacred Heart School – Duchesne Academy – in Houston.
In 2014, I graduated from Baylor University. I am happy to share that five years later, my youngest sister graduated from the University of Houston. We are the ONLY siblings on both sides of my family to graduate from college.
Three generations of KIPP made that happen… transforming our lives and generations of Lozanos until this day.
KIPP has continuously supported me to and through college. Early in my career I was appointed to KIPP PALs, our young professionals board in Houston, and then accepted in the KIPP Alumni Leadership Accelerator.
It’s a 9-month fellowship program for young professionals who aspire to hold high-level positions of influence, impact, and decision-making. The Accelerator equipped me with the skills, tools, networks, peer connections, and more to unlock my potential.
Thanks to the Accelerator, I was selected to become an Aspen Ideas Festival Fellow, a diverse group of global leaders who are selected for their work, accomplishments, and ability to transform ideas into action. This prestigious program opened many doors and opportunities for deep dialogue with world renowned thought-leaders in arts, sports, technology, economics, and politics.
I was able to connect with the likes of Educated author Tara Westover, activists Alicia Garca and Cecile Richards, NBA star Demar Derozan, and Ford Foundation president Darren Walker.
KIPP Texas Public Schools relentlessly pursues preparing all students for success in college, leadership, and life. We acknowledge we may not always get it right and we have opportunities to grow and improve. With this, we have made an unwavering commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. I mean… How many organizations can say they have an alumni serving on the governing body? Not many. And yet, I am one of two which serves as a testament of change and commitment to our students.
Last weekend, on behalf of the KIPP Texas Board of Directors, I provided the certification of high school graduates at KIPP Northeast College Prep’s graduation ceremony. This was a short line statement recognizing the completion of their high school years. After the certification, the students moved their tassel over and tossed their hats.
I believe our KIPPsters are Changemakers. They have the power to change the world.
The Class of 2021 received nearly 2,000 acceptances to 558 colleges with over $21 million in scholarships and grants.
Now more than ever, it is time to empower all parents in Texas to choose the education pathway that is best for their child. Yet, options are limited.
Across the state, we have more than 55,000 children on waiting lists for enrollment to high-performing charters like KIPP Texas. Public charter schools are a bipartisan path to reducing inequality. I think we can all agree that every child deserves an opportunity to get an excellent education.
Creating new charter schools will create more educational opportunities for our communities. I want everyone to feel as empowered and supported as I did.