Before Huda Hamdan was a KIPP teacher, she was a KIPP parent. Her children began their KIPP education in pre-K3. “A lot of people think pre-K is like daycare,” Hamdan says. “It’s absolutely not. The teachers here are so invested, and it wasn’t long before my kids came home knowing how to write all the letters. After seeing the passion of the educators at KIPP, and after seeing the results, I knew I wanted to be a part of the larger KIPP team. Students learn here. They really, really learn.” She now teaches 7th grade math at KIPP Journey Collegiate.
KIPP Journey Collegiate, founded in 2019, currently educates students in grades five through seven. It is one half of KIPP Texas Houston’s next feeder pattern, and it provides a path for our KIPPsters who, once fully grown, will begin their journey in pre-K3 and continue through 12th grade, attending only two schools on one campus.
This 1:1 model offers many benefits, and it allows the schools to coordinate curricula so students can seamlessly move from the early stages of learning a subject or exploring an interest to as far as the students’ interest carries them. “It will be one cohesive journey for our students,” says Journey Collegiate School Leader Alison Cumbley. “We’re able to coordinate and say, ‘what skills will our student need to be successful after graduation, and then work all the way backwards to set them up for that success at the pre-K level at Journey Primary.”
Cumbley believes that the key to unlocking students’ limitless potential is fostering an environment where students feel safe, loved, connected, heard, and empowered. “Every day, our students are surrounded by a community where they are loved, uplifted, and challenged.” With that foundation, students can then be equipped with the knowledge and skills to create their own future. At KIPP Journey Collegiate, that means a rigorous, college-ready curriculum in core academic areas, along with classes on coding, social justice and identity exploration, and social-emotional learning.
Academic success isn’t the only goal at KIPP Journey Collegiate. “We also want our students to be good human beings,” Cumbley says. Social responsibility is fostered through the Life Lessons program, where every grade level partners with a Houston area community organization and students complete a project in support of the organization. Additionally, older grade students mentor younger grade students in our Life Lines program, fostering the sense of responsibility to each other. And the civic values of responsible self-government are promoted through Journey’s empowerment of youth advocacy within the school, as well as Journey students’ participation in the ONE Houston Junior Leadership Board.
Students say that the school is both academically rigorous and a joyful community. “The teachers here are so supportive,” says Nicole, a 7th grade student at Journey Collegiate. “I feel the love and care toward me, and they make sure everyone is included. When we’re in class, if someone doesn’t understand something, they wait and reteach so that no one gets left behind. I’m surrounded by teachers and students who are kind and funny and passionate.”
“We are one family,” Nicole says, “and I love coming to school.”
KIPP Journey Collegiate, located in Sugarland, Texas (just outside of Houston), opened in 2019 and currently offers grades 5-7.
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