Dear KIPP Texas Families,
Happy third week of school. This year, my notes will be coming on a bi-weekly schedule (the next one is scheduled for September 13), unless I need to communicate information that can’t wait. I have to tell you that walking into classrooms again has been incredibly inspiring. I have seen so many strong lessons over the last two weeks!
I loved stepping into a pre-calculus classroom at KIPP Connect High School in Houston on the third day of school with School Leader Geoffrey Roy where KIPPsters were fully immersed in content, solving complex problems, and pushing each other’s critical thinking during a well-timed turn and talk. At KIPP Oak Cliff Academy in DFW, despite some facilities challenges, the joy and connection between adults and KIPPsters throughout the building is palpable with empathy and relationships at the center. School Leader Wauneta Vann and Operations Leader Andre Briggs are leading with empathy and care every day!
In every classroom I have visited across our regions and schools, what is so clear to me is that we are focused and deeply rooting ourselves in equity, excellence, and empathy every day.
In addition to seeing joy on our KIPPsters’ faces, I deeply appreciate our Team and Family’s commitment to safety. We are wearing masks and practicing our health and safety protocols, and doing these things is making a huge difference in keeping us safe. Anecdotally, we have nearly 100% of our KIPPsters, Little and Big, wearing masks every day! Thank you for showing your care for our Little and Big KIPPsters by opting into our #MaskUpForKIPPsters campaign and practicing what we preach on our campuses, buses, and offices every day. Another way you can show care for our Little and Big KIPpsters is by contacting your school immediately to let them know if they test positive for COVID or exhibit symptoms. All COVID-positive and symptomatic KIPPsters are required to stay home, and we highly recommend they stay home if they are a close contact to someone who has tested positive.
Please take a moment to read this week’s updates below:
Remote Learning Academy (RLA)
On August 25, we launched the KIPP Texas Remote Learning Academy (RLA) for students who are in quarantine due to a COVID-positive test result or due to close contact. Students in grades Pre-K – 12 will have access to grade-specific learning experiences that include self-guided (asynchronous) and live (synchronous) instruction with a teacher.
Here’s how your child can participate should they quarantine this school year:
- Step 1: Child receives a positive covid test or quarantines due to close contact
- Step 2: Parent contacts school’s front office to inform them
- Step 3: School coordinates temporary enrollment in KIPP Texas’ RLA
- Step 4: Parent and child will receive RLA details to connect to their virtual classroom
- Step 5: Child will attend RLA until they are able to return to school
- Step 6: Child returns to school after receiving a negative covid test or the quarantine period has been completed
Please contact your KIPPster’s school with any questions.
We are also considering a limited virtual learning program to educate KIPP Texas’ most medically vulnerable students. We are currently evaluating this option based on the survey responses we received to gauge interest and will communicate a decision as soon as we are able.
Texas Education Agency (TEA) Academic Accountability Ratings
Today, the TEA has released its accountability ratings for all Texas public schools and districts. This year, due to the pandemic, the TEA will not assign a grade letter to any school or district. Rather, all schools and districts will receive a “Not Rated: Declared State of Disaster” label.
While we didn’t officially receive a rating, we know there is work to do for all of our Little KIPPsters. Throughout the year, KIPP Texas will offer high-impact tutoring, acceleration academies, and additional ways we will personalize the accelerated learning that needs to take place to make up for last year’s unfinished learning. For more information on the 2021 Accountability Rating System, please visit the TEA’s website.
Women’s Equality Day
August 26 was Women’s Equality Day – the commemoration of the Nineteenth Amendment’s adoption in 1920.
This amendment allowed some women the right to vote, which was a huge accomplishment for our country. Unfortunately, Black and other disenfranchised communities of women, particularly women of color, continued to suffer from various egregious tactics keeping them from exercising the right to vote.
Today, Little and Big KIPPsters have more opportunities, more women of color and queer role models, and allies in the ongoing fight for equality. KIPP Texas joins the fight for women’s equality by Championing Equity and reviewing our hiring and promotion practices, auditing our pay scales and classroom discipline practices to ensure we continue to create a more equitable learning and working environment for our female and queer Little and Big KIPPsters. We can each make sure we are registered to vote so we can make our voices heard, support women and LGBTQIA+-owned businesses, and reflect on how we can support women’s rights.
As a Team & Family, we make a positive difference in the lives of nearly 32,000 KIPPsters every day. We are making sure our KIPPsters go to schools every day where there are caring adults who love them.
We are so excited to jump into our academic recovery plan in just a couple of weeks. After we have ensured a strong start for Little and Big KIPPsters in August and early September, we will offer high-impact tutoring, acceleration academies, and additional ways we will personalize the accelerated learning that needs to take place to make up for last year’s unfinished learning. With your partnership, we will make the 2021-22 school year a success for all our KIPPsters!