Monday, April 6, 2020
Thank You Message From KIPP Co-Founder Dave Levin
Dave Levin shared this message with the KIPP Team and Family thanking them for supporting students during COVID-19.
Spring Break Bingo
KIPP’s spring break bingo provides activities for K-12 students who will be on spring break in the coming weeks. Find fun, educational ideas that encourage creativity, physical activity, and exploration.
Op-ed From a KIPP School Principal
In this EdWeek opinion piece, KIPP Freedom Middle School principal Lariely Sanchez talks about concerns brought on by COVID-19, and ways her school community is coping.
Friday, April 3, 2020
A Message From KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth
Every day, the KIPP network is learning more and more about how to support students with creativity and flexibility. We are shifting from reactive mode to establishing new ways that are beginning to feel a bit more familiar: our students are now completing assignments on Google Classroom, logging onto Zoom meetings and opening instructional packets at home.
Our north star in this next stretch is connectedness with our students and families. Our Team and Family is distributing computers and food, providing rapid virtual feedback on student work, troubleshooting technology challenges, and picking up the phone to check in with students. As just one example: 99% of the 2,177 students at KIPP Massachusetts Public Charter Schools have had multiple 1:1 check-ins since we moved to remote learning. And in the past two weeks, KIPP Massachusetts launched virtual classrooms for every KIPPster across grades K-12. It’s phenomenal.
This week, we took connection to a new level as teachers led chants like “This is the Room” from your own rooms. We saw gym teachers and coaches connecting and expanding their reach (from their own living rooms) by offering exercises for the whole family. And, we saw math teachers getting extra creative to connect with students, teaching from their bathroom where it turns out dry-erase markers on a shower wall make a great whiteboard for showing your work.
Sometimes, connection has looked like an encouraging text message from a teacher. Or posting a video. Check out this Harry Potter themed morning announcement. Or these lessons on YouTube or storytime on Instagram. Here, teachers keep school spirit going with a remote pajama party or viral dance party on Instagram.
From virtual office hours, to mastering TikTok videos, to sharing messages of love and support through email, on the phone, with texts or through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, our goal is to encourage KIPPsters every single day.
STEM Challenge Connects with Students
This week, 355 kindergarten through 12th grade students from every region completed and submitted their work. for the KIPP STEM Create-at-Home Challenges. See submissions from the 11 student winners and 1 innovative teacher winner here.
Big KIPPsters Stay Connected
After this crisis, I don’t think any of us will ever take walking into a room and meeting face-to-face for granted. Zoom, Skype, Teams — these have become our new rooms; and it’s good, even as we know it’s not the same.
Virtual Career Fair Connects New Talent
With in-person meetings off the table, our teammates figured out a way to make sure we are fully staffed as we look ahead. At EdWeek’s Virtual Career Fair, our recruiters did an amazing job connecting with 180 prospective teachers and leaders. Sharing insights back and forth, recruiters discovered the upside of a virtual fair was being able to talk to one another across the country. At the end of the day, recruiters had connected with candidates from every single region in the network.
For the next two weeks, the National KIPP Alumni Network is offering a virtual mental health and wellness series, open to the entire KIPP network: alumni, teachers, parents, and partners. Please sign up below to get a calendar invite about the following workshops.
- 60-Min Workout — Fitness for All Levels | Monday 4/6, 12pm ET. Led by Jeremias Campos (KIPP MA alum)
- Immune-Boosting Herbal Remedies | Wednesday 4/8, 4pm ET. Led by Erica-Martinez Close (KIPP NYC alum)
- 30-Min Yoga — Vinyasa Flow | Saturday 4/11, 1pm ET. Led by Avonda Fogan (KIPP DC Alum)
Can’t make these sessions? Check out their websites above to continue supporting their business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s so easy to miss your students or want things to feel familiar again, but at KIPP we have always known how to evolve, find new ways to function, and adapt to deliver for our families. The how may feel different but the mission is still the same.
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
KIPP Schools Helping Local Health Facilities
In this EdWeek story, teachers from KIPP Massachusetts Public Charter Schools and KIPP NYC Public Schools were recognized for donating supplies from their science labs to local health care facilities.
The Alumni Fund in Action
In Forbes, author Richard Whitmire talks about how KIPP’s COVID-19 Alumni Relief Fund and a KIPP Through College advisor supported one KIPP alumna after her college campus closed.
Highlights from Week 1 of the KIPP STEM Create At Home Challenge
As KIPP schools continue remote learning, the KIPP STEM team is dedicated to helping students create, wonder, and innovate from home. The Create At Home Challenge encourages K-12 students to take on projects related to engineering, robotics, research, and more. We just wrapped up the first week of challenges, where we received more than 350 entries. Take a look at the winning submissions on kippste.org.
Compiled Resources from KIPP Texas Public Schools
This roundup from KIPP Texas includes links to all externally-available academic resources for COVID-19 including sample communications to leaders, staff and learning expectations, and grade-specific recommendations for teacher-directed instruction.
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
In this op-ed, the New York Times editorial board discusses how school districts are handling the shift to remote learning. As millions of students across the country lack home internet access, school districts are tasked with figuring out ways to ensure all students can continue to learn during this time. The op-ed mentions the KIPP network, with an example of how some regions are addressing this challenge.
Friday, March 27, 2020
A Message From KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth
Today, I want us to celebrate what we have accomplished together in the midst of this worldwide crisis; especially all that you’ve done to support our students’ wellbeing. I also want to name some challenges we are facing — some of which we are working hard to solve and others for which the solutions will be harder to produce.
Let me start with our current reality; together, we are working to minimize the impact that school closings have on those with fewer economic resources. In taking on this challenge, we are looking straight into the inequities in our country, starting with internet accessibility. We have surveyed our families and now know that thousands of them do not own a computer. Thousands may own a computer but have limited or no internet access. Others may have a computer and internet access, but not enough devices or bandwidth to enable multiple members of a household to be online at the same time. These are real issues for us to overcome — and we are all working our hardest to solve them, one by one.
I don’t want to pretend that we will have solved this in one week, or that we will next week. We will work through this — I know we will. But it will take time and diligence, and it will test our resolve. When this is all said and done, we will collectively step back, take all that we have learned and advocate for public policy that takes on the divide between the haves and the have-nots. But that won’t help us tomorrow — and I know that makes our work hard.
I also want to acknowledge that we don’t know when this is going to end. Not knowing when this will end is really difficult. And it is hard on each of us in different ways. Some of us live alone and are grappling with deep feelings of isolation. We miss our colleagues and our in-person interactions with friends and family. Some of us are grappling with the stress of finding our way through online instruction or meetings while balancing the constant and amplified needs of home. Some of us are stressed by loved ones serving on front lines. And still others are caring for parents and grandparents who are among the most at-risk right now. Together, we are wrestling with these issues while working hard to answer new unanswered questions each day; questions around advancement, assessment and milestone events. This is like nothing any of us have experienced before, and so I ask you all to continue to give yourselves and each other grace.
Finally, before sharing accomplishments of which we can all be proud, let me say this: when our KIPPsters wonder whether they’ll be okay, this is what I know — your presence means so, so much to them. Thank you for remaining invested, caring and persistent.
Rolling Out Remote Learning
This week, across the country, our teams again worked tirelessly to connect with students and ensure they have the supports they need.
- At KIPP Northstar in Minnesota, we passed out Chromebooks and nearly 8,000 meals.
- At KIPP DC, we are calling every one of our 6,800 students, not only checking in, but also confirming addresses so that 6,800 instructional packets can be mailed before week’s end.
- At KIPP NYC, we are distributing 3,000 Chromebooks and MiFi’s so that all 7,600 students can access remote learning.
- At KIPP Texas, our team is making sure all 28,500 families can connect with their new Continuity Of Learning website. In addition, KIPP Texas is distributing 11,400 Chromebooks to ensure all students have access to technology.
- At KIPP Columbus, donations filled the food and technology gap, including distribution of 700 computers this week, and another 1,300 next week.
Every effort to accomplish the ordinary, right now, falls into the category of extraordinary effort.
- Our high school teachers, leaders, and college counselors are working together to make sure every student understands and is ready for next steps: assessments, ACT, newly designed, at-home testing for AP (Advanced Placement), and ongoing post-secondary planning.
- Our English Language Arts (ELA) Team is working to make KIPP Wheatley available online for all 4th–8th graders. This effort includes making sure the 40 schools outside of KIPP who use KIPP Wheatley also have access to the curriculum.
- Throughout the network, special education case managers are connecting with the families of students who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to ensure that (virtual or packet) at-home schooling is aligned with each child’s goals.
- And, our STEM team started the Create At Home Challenge with weekly prizes to incentivize KIPPsters to create, innovate, wonder, and stay curious at home. Students have been building roller coasters, using an online design program to animate their name, participating in a robotics challenge, and conducting research.
Partnering With Our Community
In addition to all of this great work to support students, our regions are also partnering with our communities to support first responders.
- KIPP New Orleans Schools went through their storage cupboards and collected all the masks, gloves, antibacterial liquid, antibacterial wipes, and medical gowns they could find. Supplies were donated directly to Tulane and The University Medical Center.
- In Massachusetts, KIPP science teacher, Sean Tamarisk, found 150 unused goggles and 4 packages of gloves, then delivered them to local health providers.
- KIPP Minnesota is preparing to open our school to provide childcare for the families of healthcare workers. At KIPP NYC High School in the Bronx, we are hosting a community food shelf for the wider community, as well as “grab ‘n go” meals for students.
KIPP Alumni stay connected.
- KIPP alumna Brittnee Rock, who works for Aurify Brands (the owner of Five Guys), secured a food delivery for KIPP NYC Public Schools from Five Guys. What an incredible example of the power of Team & Family. Thank you, Brittnee!
- And, because physical distancing doesn’t need to mean social distancing, the National KIPP Alumni Network is gathering (online) this weekend for a Movie Watch Party. Together, they’re viewing Self Made, the just-released true story of C.J. Walker, a washerwoman who confronts others’ prejudices and her own to build an empire. Another alumni get-together happens online at Open Air talk time.
We are facing very real challenges, together. We are accomplishing amazing things for students, together. We will get through this, together.
Summary of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
Late Wednesday evening, the Senate passed (as of today, the House has yet to vote on the bill) the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that includes $30.75B for public education. From that total, $3B has been designated as a Governor’s relief fund for local education agencies and higher education and $13.45B for elementary and secondary schools that will be given to state education agencies to distribute to local education agencies and schools. Notably, this money can be used for things like technology (hardware, software, and connectivity), planning for summer learning and additional after-school programming, directly to principals to meet their schools’ individual needs, and more. The KIPP Foundation, in partnership with others, worked hard to ensure that charter schools are eligible to receive this relief money. Schools will need to work with their state’s Governor and state education agency to access the funds. The bill also includes many benefits for individuals and small businesses that will support the needs of our students’ families and communities. A full summary of the bill can be found in the COVID-19 resource bank.
Thursday, March 26, 2020
Self-Care During COVID-19
The KIPP network is taking a variety of steps to support the mental health of our students, families, school staff, and community during these uncertain times.
From home workout routines shared by KIPP Indy Public Schools, KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools and KIPP Bay Area Public Schools, to this mindfulness activity led by a KIPP Nashville teacher, and the many health and wellness resources posted on the KIPP NYC Public Schools website, regions are coming up with creative ways to support their communities mentally and emotionally.
The National KIPP Alumni Network is using Instagram to promote mental health and wellness activities to its robust network of 33,000 KIPP alum. Check out the Instagram account for the first activity: virtual meditation hosted by a KIPP DC Public Schools alumnus.
In our COVID-19 resource bank, there are several articles and tip sheets with advice on how to promote self-care and manage fear and anxiety in the midst of this pandemic. If you have mental health resources to share, please feel free to add them to the resource bank.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
KIPP Regions Supporting Local Health Facilities
As health facilities across the country are in critical need of protective equipment, KIPP regions recognized an opportunity to lend their support. Several regions, like KIPP New Orleans Schools, KIPP Massachusetts Public Charter Schools, and KIPP NYC Public Schools have donated supplies from their science labs. Supplies including masks, goggles, gloves, hand sanitizer, medical gowns, and anti-bacterial wipes have been given to local health facilities in need.
Virtual Hiring During COVID-19
Many schools are navigating how to effectively manage teacher recruitment during COVID-19. One approach, created by KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools, outlines several tools and best practices for conducting a virtual hiring process.
Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Supporting Distance Learning
We’re continuing to buildout our COVID-19 Resource Bank to support schools in their transition to virtual learning. One example is KIPP Texas Public Schools’ Distance Learning Plan. This site provides families with tools to support students as they continue their learning from home, including recommended daily schedules, instructional guidance, and links to free online learning resources for students in grades pre-K through 12.
EdWeek’s Virtual Career Fair
KIPP is participating in EdWeek’s Virtual Career Fair this Thursday, March 26 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT. Our regional recruiters will be available for one-on-one chats to provide information and answer questions about open positions at KIPP for the 2020-21 school year. Register for the career fair here, and on the day of the event, visit KIPP Public Schools’ virtual booth to connect with our recruiters.
Monday, March 23, 2020
- KIPP Jacksonville Schools has extended its school closure through Tuesday, April 15.
- KIPP Chicago Public Schools has extended its school closure through Monday, April 20.
- KIPP SoCal Public Schools has extended its school closure through Tuesday, May 5.
KIPP DC Public Schools’ remote learning approach
On Sunday, KIPP DC Public Schools staff was mentioned in a Washington Post article for their work to distribute 6,000 instructional packets and nearly 1,000 Chromebooks to students.
Friday, March 20, 2020
This week in stats: A message from KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth
I am deeply grateful for every staff member, parent, volunteer, and so many others who are supporting our students during this time. Here are some of the ways the KIPP Family is working together to keep our community strong:
This week, the KIPP Family has distributed over 100,000 meals.
- At KIPP Delta Public Schools, the operations and nutritional teams prepared hundreds of meal packets and distributed them across three different counties to any child, whether they were a KIPPster or from another school.
- At KIPP Columbus, the middle school gym has been transformed into a food distribution center, where 3,000 boxes, totaling 12,000 meals, were distributed on Monday.
- At KIPP DC Public Schools, across seven campuses, our team distributed 3,600 meals to students on Monday, and another 2,500 meals on Tuesday. Meals were made available to all students in DC.
- At KIPP Massachusetts Public Charter Schools, they distributed over 5,000 meals—and not just for members of the KIPP school community, but for any children in the neighborhood.
- At KIPP Texas Public Schools – San Antonio, our team distributed 2,300 Grab & Go breakfasts and lunches and instructional packets to our families.
Within just a matter of days, 6,000 teachers have moved from teaching in buildings and classrooms to connecting with KIPPsters using instructional packets, daily phone calls, and video.
- At KIPP SoCal Public Schools, our teachers are connecting with students and making sure their needs in 5 key areas are being met: eat, play, socialize, sleep, and learn. In addition to making sure students have the instructional resources and tools they need, master teachers are recording video lessons to ensure learning is equitable.
- At KIPP DC Public Schools, nearly all 1,000 high school students have picked up Chromebooks. The high school team is working swiftly to distribute content, teachers are being trained on virtual instruction and learning, and just as importantly, teachers are learning how best to engage in ‘remote care’ of individual students.
- While many of our urban schools are training and supporting staff to offer online learning and support, many homes in rural communities lack internet connectivity. Our KIPP ENC College Prep Public Schools team is meeting this challenge with incredible creativity. Creating and curating resources, teachers have been building quality, mission-aligned packets. Boarding a fleet of buses, teachers have been hand delivering packets and food along the community’s rural routes. As students complete their work, they will deliver it to the same drop-off point so their completed packet can ride the near-empty bus back to school for teacher feedback.
Last Friday night, we announced the creation of a crisis fund for alumni whose colleges were closing, causing immense dislocation. In 6 days, we raised $146,000. By Thursday evening, thanks to our incredible KIPP Through College teams who are working around the clock, we had already made 94 emergency gifts.
Thursday, March 19, 2020
COVID-19 Resource Bank
New in the resource bank of COVID-19 materials KIPP leaders have created or sourced:
- A few materials to help guide schools’ virtual working approach. This includes ideas for developing staff expectations and communication protocols and resources on leading virtual meetings and trainings.
- A resource on adaptive leadership, outlining how leaders can work, galvanize others, identify problems, and develop solutions in an ever-changing environment.
- A guide on managing special education services during school closures.
KIPP STEM Create at Home
The first set of Create at Home Challenges is live. These challenges encourage students to be curious from home by working on projects related to engineering, coding, research, and more. You can share details of the challenges on Facebook or Twitter.
Tweet of the Day
Check out KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth and his family working together under the same roof.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Remote Learning, Student Support, & Family Communication Resources
Leaders from KIPP schools and regions have created or sourced several resources, templates, and guidelines for communicating with families and staff, managing remote learning, and providing support to students. We compiled those materials in this resource bank, and they’re available for all to use, share, and contribute to.
A selection of resources with tips on navigating school closures can be found on our blog.
KIPP STEM Create at Home Challenge
During this time of social distancing, KIPP wants to encourage all students to work hard and stay curious from home. Today, our science, technology, and engineering team launched it’s first set of weekly challenges for K-12 students who are interested in coding, robotics, research, and more. Learn more about the challenges and get started at kippste.org.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
All 28 KIPP regions have announced two-to-four-week closures with direction from governors, mayors, or local district leaders. During this time, school leaders, teachers, and staff are focused on managing remote learning and providing meal service to students. For details on how specific regions are responding to COVID-19, please visit individual school and regional pages in our school directory.
Alumni Fund – COVID-19 Relief
On March 13, the Foundation launched a fund to provide support to KIPP alumni who are grappling with financial challenges as a result of college closures. To date, we’ve raised more than $130,000 to be put toward a range of students’ needs, from transportation assistance to technology to secure housing and food. To donate, visit this page and select “Alumni Fund – COVID-19 Relief.”
Friday, March 13, 2020
A Message from KIPP Foundation Chief Executive Officer Richard Barth
We continue to monitor the latest news regarding COVID-19 (“coronavirus”), and express our gratitude to everyone who is working to ensure our students, families and staff stay healthy and safe through this pandemic. Currently, no KIPP staff member or student has tested positive for the virus but our leaders all across the country are preparing for that likely reality in the days ahead.
For school-specific information, please visit individual school and regional pages through our school directory.
Many of our regions have made the decision to close schools in alignment with the decisions being made in their communities, either by direction from governors, mayors or local district leaders. In other cases, we have canceled field trips, sporting events, and other large gatherings with students and staff. And we have also canceled all KIPP Foundation-run events and work travel through April 3. We are also strongly encouraging those who can do so to work remotely.
As this situation is fluid and the context is changing daily, we are working closely with our regions to respond to dynamics on the ground and proactively plan for possible future disruptions to teaching and learning. To that end, we are holding daily calls with regional leaders to share resources and explore how to:
- Keep kids learning using both high and low tech solutions, coordinate delivery of meals for students facing food insecurity, and ensure Internet access to families in need in the event of a school closure
- Ensure schools and facilities are cleaned thoroughly
- Make sure families have access to the most accurate and timely information
I know how resilient our Team and Family is during these times–from adjusting daily routines to making contingency plans. As colleges across the country close and cancel in-person classes, our KIPP Through College teams are working together to share how they are actively reaching out to KIPPsters to see what they need and where we can help. And as all families do, we are helping each other through this turbulent time.
Many of our supporters have asked how they can help our schools, teachers, students, and alumni. We are assessing the wide-ranging need throughout the KIPP network and are currently accepting donations through our website. You can designate your gift to a specific KIPP region or national efforts, and all gifts made through April 15 will be directed for those impacted by COVID-19. We have been so touched by the outreach, especially in this uncertain time. Thank you.
Big KIPPsters, we often say that we need to be the constant, not the variable. This is one of those moments where our constancy matters deeply to our KIPPsters.