KIPP Texas Families,
We did it! We are just about there! Congratulations, Team and Family!!!! Our first uninterrupted year after the pandemic is almost over. This has been a year of both overcoming challenges and so many joyful, in person celebrations of our KIPPsters’ progress. It is a year that will go down in the history books as we get ready to send the Class of 2023 off to fulfill their dreams. Thank you, Big KIPPsters, for supporting and guiding our KIPPsters forward while Chasing Excellence and Bringing Joy all year, including through the last minute of the last day of the school year. Our Little KIPPsters are so fortunate to have been in your care this year.
Celebrating our Little KIPPsters
It is time to celebrate all the hard work and dedication of our Little and Big KIPPSters, especially our 1,261 seniors. Over the last few weeks, our Class of 2023 KIPPsters committed to their post-secondary plans: college, career, and beyond – during Commitment Ceremonies across our regions, and with over 5,000 college acceptances, there was much to celebrate! They also earned more than $100 million in scholarships and grants! Check out some more achievements from the Class of 2023:
Our job is to ensure that every KIPPster who graduates from KIPP is fully college-ready, and we know that college is the next right step for at least 75% of our KIPPsters. I am so excited to see the increase in college matriculations for the Class of 2023 after a severe dip for the previous two classes during COVID.
KTX-Austin: KIPP Austin Collegiate and KIPP Austin Brave Class of 2023
I also want to celebrate our incredible Big KIPPsters, and there is a lot to celebrate as we begin to close out the year while preparing for the next.
Teacher Incentive Allotment
This school year, 56 KIPP Texas teachers have been awarded additional compensation through the Texas Education Agency’s Teacher Incentive Allotment (TIA) program. I am incredibly excited and proud of our TIA teachers who are Chasing Excellence with our Little KIPPsters.
Watch the joyful video of KIPP Aspire Academy School Leader Jaime Jaen surprising Leilanie Villasenor with the news that she has been awarded a TIA designation. I’ve seen it over 20 times, and it continues to bring me so much joy each time. We hope to Bring Joy to more teachers in the upcoming years by expanding the TIA-eligible classes this Fall.
Teacher Career Pathway
From before we had TIA in partnership with the TEA, KIPP Texas has provided our teachers with a pathway to being designated as distinguished and master teachers with KIPP Texas’ Teacher Career Pathway program. I am excited to celebrate our 31 new distinguished and five new master teachers this year! Congratulations!
A cohort of 32 amazing educators were just announced for the 2023-24 Principal-in-Residence (PIR) Program. They are on track to be transformative school leaders!
Celebrating our KTX Schools
This school year, we hosted four ribbon-cutting ceremonies, giving our Little KIPPsters a brand-new space to learn and thrive.
What an honor to open the first KIPP school nationwide on an HBCU campus with our KIPP Oak Cliff Academy at Paul Quinn College. Our Little KIPPSters have completed their first school year on campus, and the class of 2023 will graduate this week. I can’t wait to celebrate this milestone with our KOCA Team and Family!
Let’s not forget our groundbreaking ceremony for our new KIPP Somos Collegiate and KIPP Somos Primary schools. I am excited to see the progress of the beautiful new campus.
This year was filled with new beginnings and fresh starts. We Persisted with Purpose and are seeing great strides toward being an A-rated network. The pandemic was a challenge to overcome, but it did not defeat us! Our Little KIPPsters have shined their brilliance, and our Big KIPPsters have shown their unyielding dedication and care. I am confident we are on our way to A.
KIPP Texas Celebrates Pride Month
Pride Month begins this Thursday and we are Proud to celebrate our brave and belonging spaces at KIPP Texas. We create equitable environments for our diverse communities.
Tomorrow marks the end of the 88th Session of the Texas Legislature! Our state representatives and state senators meet for 5-month sessions every other year. As a result, our lawmakers are not scheduled to convene again until January 2025. The Governor is authorized to call what is known as a “special session” at any time on any topic of his choosing, and I would not be surprised to see one or more of these occur in the next few months.
At KIPP Texas, we are breathing a sigh of relief on one major issue facing public charter schools that was addressed in the passage of HB 1707. This bill is heading to the Governor’s desk to be signed into law to ensure all public schools are treated equally at the local level for issues like permitting and signage. You can learn more background on this issue here.
The Legislature made significant investments and added new requirements for school safety. KIPP Texas’s safety practices exceed what is currently required under state guidance.
We also have serious concerns about public school funding as this session ends. Public charter school students experience, on average, a $900 funding gap compared to their ISD peers; all public schools have been operating on the same per-pupil funding since 2019. Proposals to address these serious issues did not pass this session. Therefore, we are ending session with the same per-student funding levels that were set in 2019, pre-pandemic. It is also disappointing that funding for new school safety measures also did not pass. Despite this, KIPP Texas continues to exceed current state requirements for our own school safety practices. We will continue to push hard on these issues alongside other Texas public schools if there is a special session addressing school funding.
Of course, there were thousands of proposals considered this session on a litany of issues – if you are curious about the outcome of a bill you have been watching, reach out to our Community Impact team.
To each of you who reached out to your state lawmakers, came with us to the Texas Capitol, watched your government in action online, or worked on issues that bring you passion, THANK YOU! And while our state legislature is taking a break, your representatives work on your behalf year-round. So be sure you know who your lawmakers are, follow their newsletters or social media accounts, and stay engaged. Your voice matters!
While we have much to celebrate, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the first anniversary of the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, at Robb Elementary School. To this day, I can not stop thinking about the 19 students and two teachers that lost their lives. We will stand with the community and the families impacted today and always.
With summer break comes a hiatus from my bi-weekly note. I will pick back up again on Monday, July 31. In the meantime, our new-to-KIPP and current families will not skip a beat as they will receive a KIPP twice-a-month Cool Summer Newsletter in June and July to keep updated on what to expect in the fall.
Thank you, Team and Family, for Persisting with Purpose and Chasing Excellence each step of the way during this school year. Have a safe and fun summer! We will see you for the first day of school on Monday, August 14, 2023.
CEO of KIPP Texas