Our first class of Penn Foster graduates donned caps and gowns to receive their high school diplomas at our inaugural Penn Foster Graduation ceremony this past Spring. This ceremony marked a significant milestone for our adult learners, who demonstrated remarkable resilience and determination throughout their coursework.
The event, held at the University of Illinois-Chicago, was a fitting tribute to the graduates’ incredible journey. Amidst the backdrop of UIC’s commencement ceremony, these graduates, who balanced the roles of parents, employees, and students, were celebrated for their relentless pursuit of education.
Thanks to the Whole Child Initiative and 21st Century funding, these learners were granted scholarships, paving the way to earn their official high school diplomas at no cost. Armed with their education and diplomas, each of our graduates has a bright future; some are leveraging their newfound credentials to secure promotions and salary raises, pivoting to new career fields, and others are pursuing post-secondary education, including applying to UIC!
This inaugural class of graduates stands as a testament to the indomitable spirit of our adult learners and the unwavering support of the KIPP Chicago community to create opportunities across generations. Our partnership with Penn Foster continues to serve as an inspiring reminder of the transformative power of education and the boundless possibilities that lie ahead.
Vision is critical to learning, with nearly 80% of classroom learning being visual. Shockingly, 1 in 4 students have an undiagnosed vision problem, which could significantly impact their academic performance and overall well-being.
We had the pleasure of partnering with OneSight, EssilorLuxottica Foundation, and LensCrafters to host our fourth vision clinic. Over 730 students, staff, and family members were screened, and 82% of patients received free prescription glasses made on-site. This was our longest clinic, spanning five days, with the greatest impact. OneSight demonstrated heart and expertise as they provided vision services to our families. They even taught one student how to make her glasses in the manufacturing lab.
Earlier this year, Shavar Jeffries was named the CEO of the KIPP Foundation. A civil rights attorney and a preeminent advocate for educational equity and excellence, Shavar has been a long-time advocate at the KIPP Foundation and KIPP school network.
We were thrilled to host him last Spring for a visit, where he immersed himself in the student experience to see firsthand what sets KIPP Chicago apart—from coding and building computer games in 4th Grade to stepping into virtual reality for a math lesson and observing our early literacy teachers implement the Science of Reading. One second-grade class was lucky to share a storytime session with Shavar for a reading “Daryl’s Dream,” by Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, a captivating children’s book that centers on essential themes such as mental health, dreaming big, and believing in oneself. During this read-aloud, he was able to bond with our students on a personal level and underscore the importance of nurturing their dreams and aspirations.
Congratulations are in order for our sister region, KIPP Detroit Imani Academy, as they closed the books on their founding year and celebrated their very first kindergarten promotion.
The students at KIPP Detroit Imani Academy made remarkable strides, quadrupling their MAP Data scores. Even more impressively, in their first five months at KDIA, they displayed astonishing growth, achieving a remarkable 92% improvement in math skills and an impressive 97% boost in language arts. These achievements surpass the performance of their peers on a national scale, as indicated by NWEA Map Results. These early successes are a testament to the dedication and unwavering efforts of the KDIA educators. Together, they have laid a solid foundation for a lifelong pursuit of knowledge. We take immense pride in being a part of a network that is making a genuine and lasting impact on the lives of these young scholars.
With such impressive results in their first year, we can only imagine the transformative progress they will continue to make. We look forward with great anticipation to the future and the profound and lasting impact KIPP will have in Detroit.
Our sister region, KIPP Detroit Imani Academy, closed out its founding year with our 2nd Annual Community Wellness Fair, ensuring that students and families were set up for a healthy and happy summer break. Intergenerational yoga, mental health consultations, financial wellness consultations, health and wellness screenings, and immunizations were offered. In collaboration with our Detroit-based community partners, we provided food boxes with fresh and pantry-stable items, grooming services for adults and children, and enjoyed ice cream together on a beautiful sunny afternoon.