Dear KIPP Texas Families,
As we come to the close of 2020, we recognize that the impact of COVID-19 is a constant reality felt across all of our communities and our classrooms. All of us have had to readjust and redefine our daily lives and interactions. The realities of this pandemic are scary and we at KIPP Texas are committed to facing these challenges as a family. Our promise to create joyful, academically excellent schools that prepare our KIPPsters with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose coupled with ensuring health and safety is now more important than ever.
Join Me in Advocating for our Teachers and School-Based Faculty
Last week, I joined with education leaders across the state in calling on our leaders to ensure that teachers and school-based employees are included in the Vaccine Allocation Guiding Principles’ Phase 1A: Second-Tier vaccine distribution list 9 (this would allow our school-based staff to be amongst the first to receive access to a COVID-19 vaccine). No one understands better than you how important it is to get our KIPPsters back in school safely and keep our Team and Family safe. If you want to speak up on this issue, I encourage you to contact the Governor’s office to share your thoughts. You can submit comments electronically or by phone at (512) 463-2000.
Increase of In-person Instruction
We are excited that we will be welcoming back more Little KIPPsters for in-person instruction in January. Approximately 46% of KIPPsters have opted for in-person learning across our regions for the third instructional cycle. During the previous instructional cycle, on average, 35% of our KIPPsters are learning in-person. At most schools, the number of in-person KIPPsters will be increasing, which is good because we believe that in-person learning is best for our KIPPsters.
Three Grounding Principles
As we make plans to welcome more students to our campuses, we will continue to base our decision making on our three grounding principles:
- First and foremost, ensure we are providing a joyful, academically excellent, and equitable education to all our KIPPsters with a consistent focus on our North Star of college readiness regardless of whether we are inside or outside of our school buildings.
- Second, protect the health and safety of our students, staff, and families to the fullest extent possible.
- Third, show care for our entire Team & Family.
Adjustments To Social Distancing and Instructional Models
As we prepare for more of our KIPPsters to return, we are making some adjustments to our plan around social distancing in order to balance safety and student/family needs. The term “social distancing” refers to measures being taken to restrict where and when people can gather in order to stop or slow the spread of infectious disease. The CDC recommends schools, “space seating/desks at least 6 feet apart when feasible.”
With more KIPPsters opting to return to school in January, we will work hard to maintain at least six feet of distancing between Little KIPPsters where possible, however this may not be possible in all classrooms. In some classrooms, KIPPsters will be approximately 3-4 feet apart. We are limited by physical space in classrooms, and we have prioritized instructional models where, as much is possible, teachers will teach an in-person cohort of KIPPsters or a virtual cohort of KIPPsters at one time. The objective of this model is to limit the number of classes where teachers are teaching both in-person and virtual students at the same time. We know that teaching either an in-person or virtual cohort of students at one time rather than concurrent groups is better for student and teacher success. Additionally, we will provide face shields for teachers in these classrooms.
Commitment to Health and Safety
Our commitment to health and safety for all of our KIPPsters is unchanged. Along with upgrading our facilities with hospital-grade A/C filters and using hospital-grade disinfectants nightly, we have rolled out a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols and procedures, including contact tracing COVID-response teams at all our schools. We will also continue focusing on handwashing, temperature checks, health, wellness monitoring, and mask-wearing.
Studies continue to show that wearing a mask with fidelity mitigates the spread of COVID. Because of our strict guidance on wearing masks and our ability to monitor/track symptoms via contact tracing, we feel confident that we are doing the right things to keep students and staff safe. In cases where we cannot maintain the recommended 6ft of separation in our classes due to the number of students who have chosen in-person learning and physical space restrictions, we will maintain as much separation as possible.
We believe that in-person learning is best for our KIPPsters, and we are eager to welcome more KIPPsters back on campus in January. Our safety is our collective responsibility. Protecting our health and safety means that we need to be vigilant about our Little KIPPsters wearing our own masks properly and washing/sanitizing our hands often. By strictly implementing these safety strategies, we will keep the promises we have made to our KIPPsters and reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. Please remind your child(ren) to wear their mask properly at all times on campus.
The nature of this pandemic in our communities as well as the needs of our families are constantly changing. We will continue to adjust to meet the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students as well as to protect the health and safety of our Little and Big KIPPsters. Thank you for your grace and understanding as we navigate the challenges of this pandemic together.
Applications for the 2020-2021 School Year are now open
Do you have any children who do not attend a KIPP Texas school? If yes, this is the perfect time to submit their application for the 2021- 2022 school year. You may submit an application at: www.kipptexas.org/enroll. If you need any support, please check out our Application Video Guide: ENGLISH | SPANISH or email us at email@example.com. Please, tell your friends!
Thank you to all the families that raised their hand to support spreading the word about KIPP when completing the last Method of Learning survey. Our teams will begin to connect with you shortly.
COMING SOON: In January 2021, KIPP Texas will launch its annual re-enrollment process. Please be on the lookout for the steps you and your family will take to complete the re-enrollment forms for the 2021-2022 school year.
KTX Equity Work Groups
Thank you for expressing interest in our KTX Equity Work Groups. If you expressed interest and have yet to hear from us, click here to complete a quick survey to make sure we have the most updated contact information for you. We appreciate your willingness to join our efforts to help KIPP Texas Public Schools actively become an anti-racist organization and advance diversity, equity, and social justice.
Given the volume of applicants, you should expect to hear from us again within the next two weeks communicating selected volunteers to work in the Equity Work Groups. Thank you for your commitment in helping KIPP Texas be an anti-racist, welcoming, affirming space for our students, families, alumni and staff.
Run Off Elections
Early voting is underway in all four KIPP Texas regions in the December runoff elections. Don’t sit this one out! Check your county’s election website for ballot and polling location information specific to your community. To check your voter registration status, visit www.votetexas.gov.