Richard Barth's Weekly Thoughts: Teacher Appreciation Week

ByRichard Barth, KIPP Foundation CEO

I know that many of us are mourning the killing of Ahmaud Arbery and the injustice that surrounds this case. We are committed to a more just world, and a more just world includes standing up for these injustices whenever we are confronted with them. Our thoughts go out to the Arbery family as we mourn another life lost. Today would have been Ahmaud’s 26th birthday, and I hope you will join me in walking or jogging 2.23 miles in his honor, as thousands are doing around the country.

This week also marks Teacher Appreciation Week. As we advocate for justice, we also want to take this opportunity to thank our teachers for being fearless advocates for our students and families. All this week, we have been honoring the incredible teachers who are going above and beyond for our KIPPsters every single day.

This year, all of our amazing teachers have had to tackle a whole new set of challenges that are unprecedented in our lifetimes. I have been humbled by how you all have stepped up to the plate, tackling every aspect of this “new normal” with immense dedication and creativity. You have worked together to move entire curricula online quickly and effectively, while doing their best to continue meeting the needs of each student. You are finding ways to support and collaborate with parents, who have suddenly been thrust into the role of co-teachers. And you are stepping in to fill the holes left by our country’s official pandemic response, whether that’s delivering meals to families or sending medical supplies to hospitals.

It would take so much longer than a single week for me to spotlight every great teacher in the KIPP network. But here are just a few highlights:

KIPP Chicago

KIPP Chicago teacher’s video on fractions

Teachers all over the network have been creating music videos to keep students engaged through remote learning. Michalle Fain, third grade level teacher from KIPP One Primary, wrote and produced this lesson on fractions that will inspire you to dance through all your math problems.

If you have a few minutes check out these videos from other regions:

KIPP Jacksonville Schools

I am so grateful for the constant show of love and support our teachers are showing our KIPPsters throughout this pandemic. Check out this incredible video of love and support KIPP Jax’s teachers made for their students!

KIPP Minnesota Public Schools

Like many KIPP teachers across the country, the teachers at KIPP North Star Academy have been making the rounds to families’ homes each week. They’ve delivered thousands of meals and hundreds of learning packets.

KIPP SoCal Public Schools

KIPP NOLA teacher making personal protective equipment

Even though students are learning from home, that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on extracurriculars. KIPP SoCal has put their after-school programs on Google Classroom, with new materials posted every week so that students can keep doing dance, soccer, guitar lessons, and more.

KIPP New Orleans

Teachers at KIPP Central City Academy are volunteering their time to make personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical personnel fighting COVID-19. In partnership with Delgado Fab Lab, these teacher Makers are cranking out hundreds of 3D-printed face shields, masks, ventilator splitters, and more.

These are just a few examples of the incredible work that our KIPP teachers are doing to support students, families, and communities. To all of you, I simply and humbly say: Thank you. Thank you for all that you do every day for our KIPPsters, big and small, in all times and especially now. KIPP would not be KIPP without you.