What makes KIPP Texas special

Last week, I had the privilege of hosting Katherine Bradley, KIPP Public Schools’ Chairwoman, and Kinnari Patel-Smyth, KIPP Public Schools’ President, for a day to kick off their tour of KIPP regions around the country. Here is what Katherine wrote to me about her visit at KIPP Shine: “I am still astonished by the skill level your first graders showed in the small group reading we saw. I am not exaggerating when I say I would have been blown away by their prowess pre-pandemic— and it bodes so well for your team’s prospects in addressing so much unfinished learning.”

While we were walking the hallways of KIPP Shine, we were discussing what makes KIPP Texas special. Of course, there are so many things I could say about our wonderful organization, but what always rises to the top when people ask me about the magic of KIPP is Team and Family. Every day, team, whether it’s in a first-grade classroom teaching our KIPPsters to read or whether it’s by serving lunch to our KIPPsters or making sure our facilities are clean and safe, we are committed to showering our KIPPsters with love, care, and the power of community.

One more reason November is my favorite month is because last Tuesday, the Pfizer COVID vaccine was approved by CDC for children ages 5-11! We have already begun scheduling vaccine clinics at some of our schools so that we can all say, “I’m not throwin’ away #MyShot!” Clinics are open to all Little KIPPsters (even if it’s at a different KIPP school), children of staff, and children in our local communities. Walk-ins are welcome, but scheduling an appointment is also an option.  For a comprehensive list of KIPP Texas vaccine clinics, click here. We will add more vaccine clinics to this list as we schedule more so keep checking if you don’t see your school listed yet!

Dr. Maria Rivera, KIPP Texas’ pediatrician and Managing Director of Student Wellness, took time before the approval to share truths and debunk myths about the vaccine with both families and our Team & Family. Click here for the family Facebook Live session in English and click here for Spanish. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some recent cultural celebrations. Last Tuesday, November 2, was Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a traditional Mexican holiday when families honor their loved ones who have passed on. November 4  was  Diwali, a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and some Buddhists. The festival usually lasts five days and is celebrated during the Hindu lunisolar month Kartika. I think it’s wonderful when we can take time to learn about the cultures around us.

Today is National STEM Day! We have a fantastic group of science, technology, engineering, and math teachers within our Team & Family who are inspiring our Little KIPPsters to be skilled critical thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, and team players. Check out these fun facts:

  • KIPP Austin Collegiate has an after-school all-female robotics team titled the Steminstist!
  • Students at KIPP Oak Cliff Academy (Dallas) engage in a 3D Modeling and Animation course where they apply their understandings using 3D printers, virtual reality, and video game design!
  • KIPP Somos Collegiate High School (San Antonio) is the first high school in KIPP Texas to offer a cybersecurity course. Currently, there are 25 students enrolled in the course who are utilizing CodeHS Cybersecurity curriculum!
  • Guadalupe, an aspiring doctor, and senior at KIPP Northeast College Prep (Houston) had the opportunity to attend the Envision NYLF Medicine program at UCLA. She witnessed a robotic surgery performed by the DaVinci Surgical System and visited Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, where she gained valuable hands-on experience cleaning wounds and practicing CPR.

I am constantly in awe of what our families, educators, and leaders are doing to support our students’ academic curiosities and potential. Thank you for partnering with us on this journey! 

Happy STEM Day!

With gratitude,

Sehba Ali

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