KIPP Texas Families,
I am thrilled to share that after an extensive national search, we have named longtime Big KIPPster, Dan Caesar as our founding Chief Schools Officer!
Dan is one of KIPP’s longest-standing Big KIPPsters with more than 27 years of service. He has honed his craft as an instructional expert as a former teacher, grade level chair, assistant principal, founding school leader of KIPP 3D, school leader manager, and the Regional Superintendent for KIPP Texas-Houston.
I have known Dan for more than 20 years and could not be more excited that he will lead this work at KIPP Texas. He has a sustained track record of school improvement and excellent results. He believes deeply in our children and their potential.
In his new role, Dan will directly manage our four Regional Superintendents– Eric Coleman, Guadalupe Diaz, Justin Scott, and his future successor– and their teams. He officially begins his new role on July 1, 2023, but, like most all-in leaders at KIPP Texas, he’s already straddling the new and existing responsibilities. He will continue to lead KIPP Texas Houston as Regional Superintendent until June 30.
Last week, we posted the Houston Regional Superintendent role and began our search for Dan’s successor. We also posted another founding position–the Deputy Superintendent of Schools for KIPP Texas-Houston, who will report directly to the Regional Superintendent. Please join me in congratulating Dan on his promotion!
It’s School Principal’s Day today! Our 57 KIPP Texas school leaders lead with heart to inspire their Little and Big KIPPsters to Chase Excellence and Persist with Purpose! I am so grateful for each one of our school leaders who make KIPP a special place for children. Shout out to a school leader today by writing them a note of appreciation and sending it with your Little KIPPster. Thank you, school leaders, for your dedication and passion for your KIPPsters and our communities.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Day and Week
Our nearly 1,925 KIPP Texas teachers are incredible and Bring Joy into the classroom each day! Our Big KIPPster teachers across San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and Dallas are the heart of KIPP Texas by being the cheerleaders, mentors, and champions for our Little KIPPsters – the future leaders of our nation. Our teachers are rock stars, from preparing our brilliant Little KIPPSters every year to graduate and pursue their dreams. With 70% of our teachers identifying as Black, Latine, or Hispanic, our Little KIPPsters see themselves in our teachers. Together, our Little and Big KIPPsters Persist with Purpose and are ready to tackle any obstacle ahead of them.
As a former middle school teacher and the daughter of a teacher, I know first-hand what it feels like to see that light bulb go off for a student as they grasp a new concept in class and hear from them years later, in complete awe of the adult they have become. I know of the productive struggles that students learn through and just how important the guidance of a teacher is in those moments. Teachers, your love and care guiding KIPPsters through their learning is heartfelt and makes a life-long impact. You are the MVPs of the year! Tomorrow is National Teacher’s Day with Teacher Appreciation Week following, and I hope you feel special and loved every day, especially now, as we wind down the school year. I thank each of you for your heartfelt dedication and leadership! I love you. We all love you!
KIPP Texas Named in 2023 Music Education Awards
In celebration of our teachers, this announcement came just in time! I am very proud to share that KIPP Texas has received the 2023 Best Communities for Music Education Award by the National Association of Music Merchants.
The award recognizes outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders who have made music education part of a well-rounded education. KIPP Texas Public Schools is among 830 school districts in the nation recognized as one of the Best Communities for music education. I celebrate our Little and Big KIPPsters who are involved in the success of our music programming at KIPP Texas.
To our music educators across our regions and KIPP Texas Fine Arts leaders, I thank you for bringing joy with beautiful music! Music gives our Little KIPPsters the freedom to create and dream, giving them a voice that they can express in their own way. For many of our KIPPsters, music class is why they run to school.
Check out a throwback to last year’s video from our KIPP Austin Collegiate High School.
Introducing our KIPP Texas Goldberg Scholars
I am thrilled to announce that three of our KIPP Texas students were selected from hundreds of applicants across the KIPP network nationally into the Goldberg Scholarship Program. This scholarship is in partnership with the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation supports graduating seniors who embody leadership, resilience, achievement, character, and an entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to the financial support of $60,000, they will be paired with a mentor and a network of entrepreneurs and innovators. Congratulations, KIPPsters!
- Karla Navarro Mondragon – KIPP Austin Brave
- Kenia Cardenas – KIPP Austin Collegiate
- Daenna Gonzalez – KIPP Houston High School
KIPP-Inspired Schools in Taiwan (KIST) Visit KIPP Texas
It is because of the testament of our successes through the brilliance of our Little KIPPsters and support from our Big KIPPsters that KIPP Texas is shining. Last week, KIPP SHINE, KIPP Academy Middle School, KIPP Connect Primary, and KIPP SHARP were visited by 26 special guests from KIPP-Inspired Schools in Taiwan (KIST). Among them, the CEO, teachers, school leaders and directors of academics, visited to learn more about curriculum & instruction, pedagogy, teacher & leader development, and operational procedures.
Our KIST friends enjoyed learning about our KIPP Texas classrooms and in the process, we became one Team and Family!
KIPP Texas Celebrates Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Heritage Month
It’s Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Heritage Month, and I am so excited to celebrate and learn about the beautiful diversity of the Asian continent, India, and the Pacific islands of Melanesia. As our Taiwanese KIPP friends visited our schools last week, I learned so much about their beautiful culture and was gifted with inspiring conversation about teaching and learning, SEL, and supporting students through small group and whole group instruction. They learned, we learned, and I left with actionable feedback on things we can do to improve our schools.
Throughout the month, our Little KIPPsters across our regions will learn about APIDA’s rich history, contributions, and what it means to Persist with Purpose. Follow our Facebook page to learn more about this year’s theme, “Discover Your Fire,” and the historical and cultural contributions of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American people.
We have good news to report from the Texas Capitol!
Last week, the Texas House of Representatives advanced legislation that would directly and positively impact public charter schools including KIPP Texas. HB 1707 seeks to ensure that all public schools are treated equally in permitting, zoning and fee decisions at the local level. Our own Chief Advancement Officer, Ann Scott, testified on this issue just last month; you can see her testimony at the 6 hour, 9 minute mark of this video. The Texas Senate is expected to take up this proposal in the coming days.
The House Public Education Committee took action on another major issue for schools including KIPP Texas: fully funding the public charter school facilities allotment. I was proud to offer testimony in support of HB 1572, which was voted out of committee on an 8-2 vote last week. You can read my full remarks on this important bill here.
This session will end in less than 30 days, and a lot will happen in that short span of time. Be sure you are signed up for updates and action alerts!
Thank you for your support getting our Little KIPPsters to school on time during STAAR testing. In case you missed it, view the assessment calendar on the blog to view testing dates. We will finish this last week of STAAR testing Chasing Excellence all the way to the finish line!
CEO of KIPP Texas