Richard Barth's Weekly Thoughts: Ops Appreciation Week

ByRichard Barth, KIPP Foundation CEO

In previous weeks, we have celebrated our graduating seniors and our teachers. This week, it’s all about Operations! 

Ops Appreciation Week

Ops Appreciation Week is devoted to the hundreds of people who keep our KIPP schools and offices up and running, handling the day-to-day logistics that support teaching and learning. This is hard work at the best of times, but over the past couple of months I have been so inspired to see all of our Ops teammates swinging into action in response to the demands created by COVID-19.

Here’s a story from KIPP SoCal that illustrates why our Ops teammates are so special:

“Henry Villatoro is a Facilities Engineer at KIPP SoCal and has been volunteering at KIPP Pueblo Unido’s meal distribution twice a      week since we started distribution. He shows up early, has run multiple errands for the team from picking up more lunch bags to buying a tent to shield us from rain/sun/etc. He’s an incredible teammate and is always asking what he can do to support.

We asked him why it’s important for him to show up twice a week, every week. and he said, “I just want to make sure our KIPPsters receive the meals they deserve. My three daughters know that I’m out here distributing meals to have a positive impact on our community. They know how important it is.”

To all those who are keeping food services running, making sure hundreds of thousands of families—not just KIPP families, but those throughout the community—are getting regular meals; who are organizing and delivering Chromebooks and other tech so our students can keep learning and stay connected; who are keeping our school buildings clean and maintained; and so much more…thank you.

Watch this video for a few highlights of the incredible work our KIPP Operations staff are doing around the country. 

I am so deeply grateful for all of the people who are working behind the scenes to keep KIPP going every day. Your work is what enables us to push forward into this “new normal,” and to focus on making sure all our KIPPsters—big and small—are safe and supported. Thank you so much, for all that you do.

STEM Challenge Goes Beyond KIPP

I want to send a big shout out to the STEM Create-at-Home Challenge team because so far they have had 1,133 submissions and 37,389 views on their page, and they have just one more round of submissions to go! And it wasn’t just our KIPPsters who decided to join in on the fun — we’ve had over 350 submissions from Achievement First, among them a 7th grader who won a math challenge. Check out some of the projects from the most recent winners of Round 4 who are sure to put a smile on your face!

Round 4 Math Challenge winner Elijah (Grade 6, KIPP Gaston College Prep, KIPP ENC) teaches you that “math is in everything we do” with his pot roast video. We’re anxiously awaiting the debut of Elijah’s future Netflix series, Top Chef: Mathematician Edition! Looking for something more sweet? Check out Elijah’s second submission with his brother: Baking with Math. 

The outfit that’s making waves at KIPP Fashion Week. Lillyrose’s (Grade 6, KIPP Aspire Academy, KIPP Texas – San Antonio) homemade fashion engineering project is runway ready and making us all dream of summer. Take note, Kamaro Brown: a new star is rising!

This inquisitive family will remind you why the world is awesome. Move over Venus and Serena. Ivanna and Romina—both from KIPP Academy Elementary in NYC—took the Research Challenge by storm! Take virtual vacations to the Sydney Opera House with 3rd grader Ivanna and to Virgin Islands National Park with 1st grader Romina, in these “awwwww” inspiring videos.