As of May 29, 2020, this page is no longer updated on a daily basis. For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit our Twitter or Facebook page. For updates specific to KIPP regions, visit regional websites.
Thursday, May 28, 2020
One Teacher’s Experience with Distance Learning in Rural North Carolina
In The 74, KIPP ENC College Prep Public Schools Teacher Amber Rawlins talks about the realities of remote learning in her rural county.
How Colleges Can Help Students During this Pandemic
In this op-ed, KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth recommends seven things colleges can do to support students on their path to and through college in the midst of COVID-19.
Create At Home Challenge – Final Round
Yesterday we kicked off the 6th and final round of the Create at Home Challenge, which encourages K-12 students to take on projects related to engineering, robotics, research, and more from home. Check out the winning submissions from round 5 and the challenges for round 6 on kippste.org.
Thursday, May 21, 2020
Planning for New Student Loans During COVID-19
The National KIPP Alumni Network and Ashley Copeland, CEO of Stacks and the City, will host a financial workshop on May 26th at 6pm ET and May 27th at 1pm ET. The workshop will cover how the student loan process works, how to make smart decisions about student loans during COVID-19, and how to plan a funding strategy for higher education. Ashley will be joined by three expert panelists:
- Erin Almond, Senior Manager of KIPP Through College at KIPP Jacksonville
- Holly Morrow, Senior Vice President of Knowledge at uAspire
- Emma Torres, Howard University
Sign up for the workshop here.
Monday, May 18, 2020
KIPP’s Response to COVID-19, A Piece By Richard Barth
In the Education Post, KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth talks about how the KIPP network has come together to support students and families, alumni, and local communities in response to COVID-19.
Opportunities to Improve Educational Equity, According To This KIPP Foundation Board Member
In The 74, KIPP Foundation board member and parent Shavar Jeffries talks about how the coronavirus pandemic presents an opportunity to improve educational equity.
How to Teach Robotics Remotely, According To This KIPP NYC Public Schools Teacher
KIPP Infinity Elementary School teacher Wyman Khuu has made creative changes to his robotics class to adapt to remote learning. Read about his approach here.
Thursday, May 14, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the racial disparities and inequities black and brown families have been experiencing in the United States for decades. In this episode of KIPP on Learning, KIPP Co-Founder and host Devin Levin is joined by Jessica Cunningham Akoto, Executive Director of KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools and Benny Vásquez, Chief Equity Officer at the KIPP Foundation, to discuss how educators, leaders, and advocates can use this unprecedented time as an opportunity to transform the way we think about schooling to better support the needs of students and the communities they live in. Listen here.
We just wrapped up the fourth round of the Create At Home Challenge, which encourages K-12 students to take on projects related to engineering, robotics, research, and more from home. KIPP students got creative, like Romina, a KIPP NYC Public Schools student who took us on a virtual vacation to Virgin Islands National Park. Take a look at all of the winning submissions on kippste.org.
Round 5 of Create At Home launched yesterday. Learn more about the challenges and how to participate here.
KIPP New Jersey Middle Schoolers Get an Exciting Surprise
Watch what happened when New York Giants player Will Hernandez surprised KIPP TEAM Academy Newark students during their virtual algebra class.
Monday, May 11, 2020
KIPP New Jersey’s Response to COVID-19
In Chalkbeat Newark, read about how KIPP New Jersey teachers and staff have been supporting students and families throughout the pandemic.
A Birthday Surprise for A KIPP Miami Student
Watch these KIPP Sunrise Academy teachers surprise one of their students with a “parade and wave” celebration for his 8th birthday.
Friday, May 8, 2020
Remote Learning At KIPP NYC Public Schools
On the KIPP NYC Open Doors Blog, read about how elementary school students, families, and teachers are navigating remote learning.
Thursday, May 7, 2020
ABC News Features A KIPP Student and Alum
In this ABC News story, KIPP Texas Public Schools student Omar Quevedo and alumna Breanna Cadena talk about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted them as first-generation students.
KIPP Educators Share Their Distance Learning Tips
On the KIPP blog, 5 educators share their advice for keeping students motivated while learning at home.
Friday, May 1, 2020
Financial Planning Tools for Families
These resources were shared during Part 1 of Managing Your Finances During COVID-19, a financial planning series hosted by the National KIPP Alumni Network and Ashley Copeland, CEO of Stacks and the City.
- A resource guide (English and Spanish) including guidance on unemployment, leave, and nutrition benefits; and on mortgage, rent, and student loan payments.
- A presentation on emergency financial planning, including knowing your rights with landlords, budgeting, and prioritizing financial obligations.
- A sample budget worksheet in Microsoft Word or Excel to help outline monthly income and expenses.
Thursday, April 30, 2020
Round 4 of the KIPP STEM Create At Home Challenge
We just wrapped up the third round of the Create At Home Challenge, which encourages K-12 students to take on projects related to engineering, robotics, research, and more from home. Take a look at the winning submissions on kippste.org.
Round 4 of Create At Home launched yesterday. Learn more about the challenges and how to participate here.
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Supporting Remote Learning Through an Emergency Connectivity Fund
The KIPP Foundation along with more than 50 organizations signed a letter calling for $2 billion in emergency funding to help students without high speed internet access. The letter urges Congress to create a special Emergency Connectivity Fund. This fund would allow schools and libraries to purchase Wi-Fi hot spots, modems, routers, and internet connected devices to support remote learning.
Financial Planning Workshops for Families and Alumni
Today, The National KIPP Alumni Network and Ashley Copeland, CEO of Stacks and the City, will kick off a virtual workshop series on navigating financial decision-making during COVID-19. The first workshop will focus on emergency financial planning. Families and alumni can sign up here to attend on April 29 or April 30.
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
A Message From KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth
As we get ready to begin the month of May, I wanted to give you a chance to hear directly from leaders across the KIPP network as they problem-solve and reflect on the work ahead. As our Chief Equity Officer Benny Vasquez has shared: “COVID-19 has exacerbated the equity issues that our students, families, and educators of color are already dealing with. Our approach must account for that.”
We are coming to grips with the disproportionate impact of this crisis on Black and Latinx students and families over time. Black and Latinx Americans are dying at twice the rate of white Americans. Families with the least financial wealth are the first to lose their income and access to food due to COVID-19. People with the least access to healthcare are getting sick at the highest rates. Children with the fewest resources are facing the greatest educational challenges, such as access to technology for distance learning while schools are closed.
Two things are clear: First, big KIPPsters are showing up for students and families in new ways to meet this challenge. Second, we are battling the effects of structural racism that are making this far more difficult for our students.
“Parents are really worried about learning loss,” says KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools executive director Jessica Cunningham-Akoto. “We’ve been focused on giving thoughtful, qualitative feedback on the work that our students are producing while we’re closed, and through that deepening our connections with them.” Social workers are pushing out content to help support parents whose children are struggling with emotional regulation or who need special-education services at home.
In terms of the bigger picture, Jessica shared that, “One of the things that makes this harder for the families we serve is that there is a dearth of resources that are helpful and geared directly towards them. If you look at social media and articles in the paper, those are very much designed to speak to middle-class and upper-middle-class families. I have yet to really see a resource that helps parents understand, ‘If you are living in a one-bedroom apartment with this many people, here’s how you could be thinking about using space for this time.’ We need more of that.”
Angella Martinez, the Chief Academic Officer of our KIPP schools in Southern California, shared that, “When you think about hierarchy of needs, you have to have food, you have to have shelter, and then you have to have psychological safety.” To make sure students and families get fed, our schools in Southern California partnered with Revolution Foods to provide a healthy breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper every school day at all of their campuses—more than 305,000 meals to date. During this time, they prepare meals not only for KIPPsters, but for any community members who come to the school.
The KIPP SoCal team has also focused on digital access, distributing 4,000 computers and wi-fi hotspots, as well as 1,000 iPhones that could be used as hotspots, to families who had limited internet access at home. They raised funds to cover the upfront costs of providing this technology and negotiated new contracts with providers that waive the usual year-long costs for internet service.
Thinking longer-term, Angella says, “We talk about trauma-informed schools, and this is adding a new layer of trauma. You’ve taken away schools, you’re taking away access to food, access to jobs, access to resources, all these things being stripped away…because of the historical systemic barriers that have been in place…Are we actually going to redo structures in real time to support our communities?”
New York City
At KIPP Freedom Middle School in NYC, school leader Lariely Sanchez has been working to provide consistency and reassurance for students during these tenuous times, including setting up a nightly read-aloud session on Instagram.
As Lariely wrote in an opinion piece for Education Week, “The important thing is that we transform the waiting place into action. We need to create, we need to inspire, we need to do. For our students, that means TikTok videos on the importance of washing your hands, and dance challenges between advisory groups to maintain a sense of community and joy. For us as educators, it means continuing to advocate for the needs of our families. We need more food, we need more cleaning supplies, we need more laptops and iPads, we need legislation that protects our families from losing their jobs or their homes. We need a rent freeze. We need essential workers to receive essential pay. We are doing everything we can, but we need help ensuring that the basic needs of our students are met.”
Our Federal Work
At the national level, KIPP is leading a coalition working with Congress to ask for an expansion of the federal e-rate program so that all families have access to internet, and to expand Title I funding for the next three years to fill gaps in funding that schools are currently experiencing. You can read more about this from our policy director, Lorén Cox, in an op-ed for The Hill from earlier this month.
I want to close with a thought from Manny Aceves, Chief External Impact Officer at KIPP SoCal: “There has been no other situation that has shown the glaring inequities that our families are facing right now. It’s getting the attention of some, but it’s not getting the attention of enough. If we’re able to reset and rethink, that’s where I think we’re going to see real positive change for those who have been most vulnerable.”
Thursday, April 23, 2020
KIPP on Learning Podcast Episode 1
In episode 1 of the KIPP on Learning Podcast, KIPP co-founder and host Dave Levin is joined by Chinedu Udeh, principal of KIPP Empower Academy in South Los Angeles, and Carlos “CAP” Capellan, principal of KIPP NYC College Prep, for a candid conversation about their experiences as school leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
Financial Planning Workshops for Families and Alumni
The National KIPP Alumni Network is partnering with Stacks and the City to deliver a virtual workshop series focused on navigating financial decision-making and wage-loss during COVID-19. The series will be hosted by Ashley Copeland, CEO of Stacks and the City and KIPP ENC College Prep Public Schools alum. Families and alumni can sign up here to attend the first workshop on April 29 or April 30.
KIPP NYC Student on NBC Nightly News
Monday, April 20, 2020
Resources to Help Families Navigate COVID-19
Visit our families page for local and national resources related to learning at home; accessing meals, internet, and financial resources; keeping families safe and healthy; and finding local information from KIPP regions.
Friday, April 17, 2020
A Message From KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth
As the reality of the pandemic has settled into our daily lives, we’ve adapted to create a new kind of stability—shifting from onsite to virtual education, and from a crisis-level response to thinking about delivering all needed services to our KIPPsters for the foreseeable future in new and innovative ways. We’re focused on all this while fostering connections in ways we might not have imagined before now. In the face of these challenges, our incredible Team and Family is bringing their best thinking to bear.
This includes re-envisioning every facet of our normal spring milestones; like how we celebrate graduations and support students on their way to college and career. It also extends to innovative thinking about how we as a community can stand together with our alumni and higher ed partners as they face new, unexpected challenges due to campus closures.
This week I’m excited to share stories that highlight the work of our mighty KIPP Through College (KTC) teams and to give you a snapshot of what’s coming for our national alumni network.
Navigating College Decision-Making, Virtually
This year more than 6,000 high school seniors will graduate and go on to a college or a career and technical education program. Many are grappling with the challenges of not being able to visit prospective schools this spring. We see our KTC teams across the country going the extra mile to support them at this moment.
Kimbrielle and Katia are twin sisters from Jacksonville who are in the process of deciding which college is their best choice. Kimbrielle has received seven acceptance letters from schools in and out of state, and Katia has four in hand, waiting on others to arrive. Ideally, they’d like to attend the same college so that things would be easier on their Mom. While they were able to visit a few campuses while at KIPP Jacksonville’s Impact Middle School, with college campuses closed and travel restricted, the already complex set of choices they had expected to be making at this moment feel even more so.
To support KIPPsters like Kimbrielle and Katia and their families as they weigh these decisions, Erin Almond and our KTC team in KIPP Jacksonville are hosting virtual office hours and one-one-on meetings for students via Zoom; checking on them and offering support to navigate potential roadblocks towards a decision. They’re also hosting larger webinars to share information like Junior Next Steps and Evaluating Financial Aid Awards. During a series of individual meetings with senior Da’Vory, Erin’s team was able to help her understand her financial aid award and complete all of her matriculation steps to attend the University of North Florida. She is excited to start classes remotely this summer, and relieved to have completed every part of the process.
In Nashville, our KTC team quickly pivoted in the crisis, assembling a multi-disciplinary team to create a customized, virtual matriculation plan for each KIPPster; supporting them and their families in working through each critical step of the process. Nashville KTC Director Chaelsa Williams-McKay recently worked on Zoom with Nashville’s College Readiness 12 teacher, Dean of College Counseling, and the full persistence team to create an online matriculation guide for senior Hassan Ali, who opted for an Early Decision to Duke University. Hassan and his older brother worked with Chaelsa’s team to map out the steps they will need to take in the weeks and months ahead for Hassan to show up ready in the fall.
Nudge: A Virtual Hand Getting To and Through
Most of our KIPPsters are the first in their families to go to college. A well-timed text, or ‘nudge’ can help our alums make the journey. Nudges—around enrolling in classes, applying for housing, accessing student aid, finding work study, and finally moving in and attending class—can help alums realize their dreams.
With the support of the Ludwig Family Foundation, we created a KIPP-specific nudge program; piloted in 8 regions this year (with 13 scheduled to participate this coming year). Alumni can opt-in, allowing our KTC team to stay in touch more seamlessly as they take each step in the process. While the KIPP Nudge technology was already a novel idea that was gaining momentum for its users, COVID-19-related college closures have made this technology indispensable.
Within two weeks of the first campus closures, Nudge—alongside other traditional methods of outreach—helped KTC Counselors connect with students in need of emergency support.
- Shikyra, an Atlanta college senior who works full time as a restaurant server, lost her job and needed help with rent. The Alumni support funds helped her cover rent costs.
- A KIPP alum who attends Princeton, lives off-campus, and supports himself with an on-campus job was able to get help bridging the gaps to cover rent and food.
- When Christian, a junior architecture student at Morgan State moved to remote learning, he needed more specialized technology at home. Alumni support funds were able to get him the tools he needed.
And, as we shift away from crisis-mode and find our new footing, KTC programs across the country are now using ‘nudges’ to support alumni as they navigate remote learning for the first time.
College Partners Coming Through
Many universities, including our 98 college partners, have stepped in to help our KIPP alumni with costs related to travel, tuition and much more. The forward-thinking measures these colleges have taken to ensure that students don’t fall through the cracks is impressive.
Arizona State University (ASU) launched an Earned Admissions program that allows students to take online courses at a reduced COVID rate of $99; if the student doesn’t pass for any reason, they don’t have to pay for the course. The benefit of an initiative like this is that it’s low risk for students, affordable, and there are no textbooks or additional software required.
For the staff at Dillard University, this was not the first time they had to close campus and transition to online learning; they experienced a similar closure during Hurricane Katrina. They were able to implement lessons learned from Katrina almost immediately when the campus closed, shifting admissions timelines, online recruitment opportunities, and creating priority housing for their most at risk students.
At Washington University in St. Louis, the University paid all the lost wages to undergraduate students — not only those students in the federal work-study program, but to all students with on-campus jobs to offset unexpected costs of travel. For students who lacked permanent housing after the closure, they arranged for 250 students to live on campus with daily access to on campus meals, granting them $1,000 each to cover expenses. They went a step further, refunding tuition and expenses directly to students who rely on the University to cover those costs, giving them the means to choose taking classes elsewhere, closer to home, if they choose to.
Alumni Connecting with Each Other
Last week, the National KIPP Alumni Network held a virtual Mental Health & Wellness series to bring alumni together and provide support during a challenging time. The series included a 60-minute workout, an immune boosting DIY, and yoga instruction; all designed and led by alumni, with over 70 alumni and Team & Family in attendance.
In addition, previous cohorts of the KIPP Alumni Leadership Accelerator have been gathering virtually for reunions! The Accelerator brings alumni from across the country together for a year of leadership coaching, summits, community building, and networking events. Staying connected helps us all in a time we couldn’t have imagined just a few short weeks ago.
I want to thank our KTC teams, and everyone who is working with our seniors and our alumni. Thank you for conducting new ways of college guidance. For mobilizing for alums who needed immediate assistance in the wake of campus closures. And for connecting alums to one another as lifelines.
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Listen Now: Episode 1 of KIPP’s New Podcast
In the premiere episode of the KIPP on Learning Podcast, KIPP co-founder and host Dave Levin is joined by Chinedu Udeh, principal of KIPP Empower Academy in South Los Angeles, and Carlos “CAP” Capellan, principal of KIPP NYC College Prep, for a candid conversation about their experiences as school leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Round 3 of the KIPP STEM Create At Home Challenge
We just wrapped up the second round of the Create At Home Challenge, which encourages K-12 students to take on projects related to engineering, robotics, research, and more from home. Take a look at the winning submissions on kippste.org.
Round 3 of Create At Home launched today. Learn more about the challenges and how to participate here.
Family Math Activities
Starting this week, the KIPP Math team will share weekly games and activities for K-8 students and their families. Find the first round of activities here.
Remote Learning Plans
Visit our COVID-19 resource bank to view distance learning plans and materials from several KIPP Regions and other public school networks.
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
New Regional Remote Learning Website
Today, KIPP Miami and KIPP New Jersey launched a remote learning site for their students. It includes educational materials for grades K-12, as well as resources for supporting children’s socioemotional health and wellness.
Supporting Community Through Change – Salesforce Spotlights KIPP
Read how KIPP regions are approaching remote learning and supporting students and families in this piece for Salesforce’s “Leading Through Change” series.
Monday, April 13, 2020
KIPP’s Spring Break Bingo
KIPP is here to help keep your students entertained at home while they’re on spring break. Our Spring Break Bingo includes a variety of activities for K-12 students that encourage creativity, physical activity, and exploration.
Friday, April 10, 2020
A Message From KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth
Team and Family,
Today marks another Friday that does not feel like a normal Friday as these days blur together. This also marks the end of a week with much greater loss of life. Today, I regrettably share the passing of two of our Team & Family members, Maurice Conlin, longtime KIPP Foundation staff member, and Walter Harris, Assistant Principal for KIPP New Orleans. Please keep their families in your thoughts.
Sharing the extraordinary efforts and leadership happening across our KIPP Team & Family is something I look forward to every week. This week, I wanted to bring to us all the perspectives of two of our KIPPsters, Maddison (5th grader from KTX-Houston) and Serenity (8th grader from KIPP Kansas City). It’s a snapshot of a day in their lives. They are brave, curious, vulnerable and adaptive; you see this in our KIPPsters every day.
Every weekday morning, over 100,000 KIPPsters wake and look to you, our teachers and leaders, for learning, wisdom and connection. It’s an immense responsibility. And I see you meeting it with joy, dedication and determination.
8AM — Students wake and dress for school
In Texas, where KIPP distributed 11,000 Chromebooks, students are expected to be dressed and sitting down to breakfast by 8am, ready to follow their grade-level Distance Learning Plan. By 8:45 in the morning, Maddison begins her day with independent reading, in a room where the quiet is both welcome and at times, too quiet. She misses seeing her friends and looks forward to being online at 9:30am with teachers and classmates for English Language Arts (ELA).
In Kansas City, Serenity helps care for her two-year old sister, then takes her computer out to the back porch so she can focus. First up is Math class. She’s worried about keeping up. “I finally got into my dream high school, Lincoln Preparatory High School. And then this, COVID-19; and I wonder if (not being in school) will hold me back. Sometimes math takes me more time than other people. I really want to be ready for next year.”
Heading to Google Classroom online, Serenity works problems long-hand, on paper, checking her work as she goes. If she’s stuck on a problem, Serenity borrows her Dad’s phone to call her math teacher.
9:30AM — Across the country, KIPPsters and teachers are at school, from home
Maddison goes online in Texas to meet her teacher and classmates in Google Classroom. Like other students, Maddison says she took seeing her classmates and teachers face-to-face for granted. “It’s not the same going online,” says Maddison, “but the upside is fewer distractions.”
In Kansas City, Serenity’s experience is just the opposite. A two-year-old proves a big distraction during her morning music class. In school, Serenity plays the trumpet. But, since there aren’t enough instruments for every student to take home, her inventive music teacher, Ms. Monroe, has students clap-counting complex music patterns to level-up their skills while instruments aren’t in hand.
“At school,” says Serenity, “we say, ‘Find a way or make one.’ And, so even though it’s hard right now, we do it.”
10AM — Take a break and then back to work; it’s math time in Texas, and language arts in Kansas City
through this. “That was completely new to me,” says Serenity, “how many people those pandemics killed, the areas that it impacted. It’s history. And now, we are making history.”
“These are the analytic skills we taught in the academic curriculum,” says Ms. Moore, “but now there’s a real life application. You read two different texts about coronavirus, and they both say different things. Are you going to just believe what people say or are you going to analyze what you read?”
In Texas this week, Maddison’s assignment was to read two texts: “I am the Library Lady” (by poet J. Patrick Lewis) and an article about “Making Books in Braille.” To further develop her analytical writing, Maddison needed to write about the similarities and differences between the two texts.
Shifting to Math, this week’s pre-algebra curriculum had Maddison finding the quotient of a whole number, and working with unit fractions.
11AM – Science, lunch, social studies
In Virtual science class, this week’s lesson focused on sedimentary rocks, fossil formation, and the earth’s rotation. “I like working at my own pace,” says Maddison, “but I also know I should have appreciated school more than I did.”
12PM–2PM — Lunch and one last push before getting some outdoor time or meeting one-on-one with a teacher
“At first I thought this was all going to pass,” Serenity reflects. Considering that all those moments students visualize in the future are, for them, potentially not going to take place (at least not like they had planned). “Like walking across the stage to celebrate the completion of 8th grade,” Serenity says, “I’m so sad that we might not be able to do that.”
Meanwhile, 5th grader, Maddison just got word that her school will be closed for the remainder of the year. It’s tough news. More weeks of grappling with isolation, competing demands, and the need for new levels of family engagement.
“Sometimes before I go to sleep at night, I think about it,” says Serenity. “It’s really scary to me, that this virus could possibly happen to anybody.” To cope, she writes stories with a happy ending, about a time when schools open up again.
Thursday, April 9, 2020
KIPP Texas Extends School Closure
KIPP Texas Public Schools announced that its 55 school buildings will remain closed through the rest of the school year.
Virtual Recruitment Fair
KIPP is participating in DIVERSITY in Ed’s Virtual Teacher Recruitment Fair next Wednesday, April 15, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET. Our regional recruiters will be available via chat 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.
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Opinion Piece in The Hill
In this op-ed for The Hill, Lorén Cox, PhD., KIPP Foundation senior director of policy, advocacy and community engagement, urges Congress to take action to ensure all students have access to internet at home as remote learning continues.
New on The KIPP Blog
Read our latest blog post to learn how the National KIPP Alumni Network is connecting the KIPP community to mental health and wellness activities.
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.