At Truth Elementary, we believe that college readiness begins in kindergarten, through a rigorous curriculum — joyfully delivered — and in an atmosphere of physical and emotional safety.
When students feel safe and supported, they feel free to keep at a problem until they understand it. Gerald McGaughey, a math teacher at Truth, tells the story of a recent student who kept asking and asking, “I have one more question. I have one more question.” Finally, after countless rounds of queries, the student grasped the concept. “Seeing him be vulnerable, admitting he didn’t understand and asking for clarification, and then seeing his joy when he finally understood…that hit me right in the heart. At this school, kids feel comfortable and brave enough to almost fail, and that’s so important, because you have to be able to put yourself out there to grow.”
At KIPP Truth Elementary, every moment of the day is designed to help students succeed. Each student gets at least three hours of literacy study each day, including culturally responsive themes and texts that center topics related to students’ backgrounds and culture. The progress of each individual student is constantly monitored. Tara Garrett, Truth Elementary’s Assistant Principal of Instruction, compares teachers to physicians. “Teachers are practitioners, just like doctors. If we have a struggling reader, we need to diagnose where the gaps are and come up with a specialized plan for that child. And when a child is doing well, we do what doctors do – we develop an individualized program so they stay in shape, continue to grow, and are pushed to a higher level.” For students to achieve success, Garrett emphasizes the importance of alignment between school and home. “At KIPP Truth, we’re a family. And parents, teachers, and students are all in constant communication so everyone is on the same page.”
Core content isn’t the sole focus at KIPP Truth – the arts and extracurricular activities are also crucial to student development. Students get to demonstrate their growth in the visual and performing arts in multiple showcases a year, and after-school clubs allow students to pursue their interests in a wide variety of areas, including art, gardening, choir, chess, and dance.
Mr. McGaughy summarizes what makes Truth Elementary work.“You build community, you build relationships, and academic success follows.”
Truth Elementary educates KIPPsters from kindergarten through fourth grade and is located in the South Oak Cliff neighborhood in Dallas.
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