The Whole Child Review

Issue No. 4 Back-to-School Edition

Opening Letter

I hope that you are safe and well. We have now been back to school for one month and we are witnessing over and over the resilience of our students, families, and teachers. Everyday I see families making it happen for their children at home with customized learning spaces that allow students to immerse themselves in online learning.

Increasing Family and Community Partnerships

We value the connections we have with our students and families and we were determined to maintain those connections this past spring and summer. School leaders and teachers didn’t waste any time creating new ways to engage with our students and families.

Embracing an Inclusive and Challenging Curriculum

As we transitioned into SY20-21 planning, we had plenty of strengths to leverage: we ultimately achieved 93% access to technology despite starting around 60%, we hired nearly 100% of open positions by June 1st, and we established very ambitious remote learning expectations.

Sharing Resources from our Children’s Museum of Art and Social Justice

It isn’t yet clear when we will physically be back in schools so we are using this time inside empty buildings to install artwork made by students for CMASJ art exhibits. We believe student-created work should always be on display so we will be installing our Activist Soup portraits, along with the bios of each person, creating a beautiful, meaningful permanent fixture at every one of our 8 schools.

Integrating Social and Emotional Learning

As we head into this school year, the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) we offer our students is imperative. Two groups of educators from KIPP Academy Chicago Primary and KIPP Bloom Primary have completed Yale’s Ruler Program.

Cultivating Identity Development Practices

Over 50 staff members, including School Leaders, senior leadership team members, Assistant Principals, and all direct managers, will participate in ongoing antiracist training this school year with Dr. Blanca Ruiz, who was one of the original Leading for Equity trainers, working with Executive Directors and the KIPP Foundation.

Addressing Food Justice

From the time school buildings closed in March and through the summer, KIPP Chicago partnered with Gourmet Gorilla, a food distribution company that strives to obtain 70% of its ingredients from local, sustainable, and organic purveyors, to provide meals for all students across the region.

Embracing Teacher Wellbeing

As we move into fall and back-to-school, our wellness team is committed to finding new, fun, and creative ways to bring wellness events to KIPP Chicago! During a recent survey, we saw a 62% increase in responses from our 2019 survey and we’re excited to keep learning more about our teachers’ needs.