Students are Empowered at KIPP Peace Elementary

At KIPP Peace Elementary, we believe that college readiness begins in kindergarten, through a rigorous curriculum — joyfully delivered — and in an atmosphere of physical and emotional safety.


“Students can only achieve academic success if they feel safe and supported,” Kindergarten teacher Nick Donis says. “Yes, we have high academic expectations and hold our students accountable, but our students also know how much we love them.”


Through a personalized learning approach, small group intervention, and a well-balanced curriculum, KIPP Peace students are able to learn at an accelerated pace, and teachers are adept at creating joyful, academically excellent environments. Academic success, however, takes a village. “We are a community,” Donis says, “and I love communicating with my students’ families. Sometimes it can be to enlist their help practicing a skill at home, but other times it’s just to celebrate a tiny milestone.”

Recently, when a student figured out a difficult concept after weeks of practice, Donis pulled out all the stops. “We had our school leader and instructional coach come and congratulate him, and I messaged the entire staff so that they could cheer him on in the hallway. And of course I called his mom.” These shared celebrations motivate students to further success. “After all of that recognition,” Donis says, “the student now wants to achieve the next milestone and is excited to overcome the next challenge. That’s what we’re all about.”

While academic rigor is a staple of all KIPP schools, core content isn’t the sole focus at KIPP Peace Elementary. Arts and enrichment classes are crucial to student development, and KIPP Peace is intentional about creating these spaces for students to explore their passions and interests. Every day, Peace students take a PE, dance, visual art, or technology class. Additionally, students can broaden their creativity in the art club or participate in athletics on the soccer and basketball teams.


At KIPP Peace Elementary, students and teachers are challenged to find their own voice, an ambition Donis credits to Latricia Kossie-Manuel, the school leader. “She tells us all the time that there is nothing cookie-cutter about kids, and there is nothing cookie-cutter about this school. We are all urged to bring our own flair, and our own love of teaching and learning to this community. We push each other while being true to ourselves.”

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