You feel it the moment you walk in the doors. A sense of warmth, of joy, of community. There is an energy to KIPP Destiny Elementary School that is infectious. “No one at this school believes that what they do is a sacrifice of time,” School Leader Dexter Chaney II says. “No, every moment is an investment of time, an investment in ourselves as educators and as students. Teachers here are prideful and want to become masters of their content. And that pride spreads to our entire community.” KIPP Destiny has become a community where everyone — teachers and students alike — collaborate, build each other up, and push one another to new heights.
KIPP Destiny is a small community, with only 120 students in each grade, and each member of the leadership team knows every student’s name and every student’s family. “We live here,” observes School Leader Chaney, “I see our families at the grocery store, I see them at the barber shop. And every teacher here can articulate why they want to teach in this neighborhood specifically.”
While academic rigor is a staple of all KIPP schools, core content isn’t the sole focus at KIPP Destiny. The arts are also crucial to student development, and KIPP Destiny is intentional about creating spaces for students to explore their passions and interests. Students at KIPP Destiny take art, music, and STEM classes, and can participate in a number of extracurricular clubs.
Students at KIPP Destiny are encouraged to take ownership of their education, and Chaney beamed with pride when recounting a recent interaction with a student. “I was in a classroom and I asked a student if she had met her academic targets for the week,” Chaney says, “and she responded, ‘no, but I’m very close.’ That was so powerful to me, and I’ll tell you why: Here’s this kid who when she first started at school wouldn’t make eye contact with anyone, and we have poured so much into her that now she believes in herself, knows what she’s working for, and knows what it will take to get there. And a few days later, she advocated for herself and asked her teacher if she could come see me. She came to my office, knocked on my door, and said, “‘Mr. Chaney? I just wanted to tell you I met my targets for the week.’ It just doesn’t get better than that.”
Walk around the school, and you realize a similar story could be told about any number of students. Everywhere you look, from the math class to the garden club to the award-winning show choir, you see students involved, engaged, and proud of their learning.
As School Leader Chaney tells any prospective parent, “You don’t have to believe me about any of this. Come to the school and feel it and experience it for yourself.” KIPP Destiny is located at 3663 W. Camp Wisdom Road in Dallas. To arrange a tour, just call the school at (972) 323-4220.
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