Cultivating Identity Development Practices - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 13, March 2024

Cultivating Identity Development Practices

KAMS Latinx Heritage Month Highlight 

“Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”— Cesar Chavez.

Each year, from September 15 to October 15, we observe National Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of gente incríble from Mexico, Spain, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. We at KIPP Chicago pride ourselves on embracing everyone. 

Our multilingual learners are essential members of our community. KIPP Ascend Middle School came together to embrace Latinx Heritage Month throughout September and early October. This celebration is a testament to our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and education. 

KAMS started the month by sharing educational resources and information about Latinx history, culture, and contributions with our students and staff. This included daily announcements, their first door decorating/board displays, and informative presentations. For example, Mrs. King, as featured below, collaborated with paraprofessional Antionette Murff and student Reginald Hunt Jr. to create this beautiful Ecuadorian woman! This is a fantastic way for our school community to showcase their artistic talents through art exhibitions. These are among the many pieces that reflect their understanding and appreciation of Latinx Heritage. 

KAMS hosted its first Loteria Night/Noche de Loteria to emphasize the importance of giving back to the community. As we continued to showcase our multilingual students’ language skills, they got an opportunity to play Mexican bingo with their teachers and other families. This helped instill a sense of social engagement and connect families to their student’s school in a safe and joyous space. Way to go, KAMS, on embracing all!

KACP Black History Month Highlight

February was a packed month for KIPP Academy Chicago Primary! Whether honoring Black History and Excellence, supporting our multilingual families, celebrating the 100th Day of School, or dancing away at the Sneaker Ball, teachers, families, and students found joy, love, and learning!

Black History Month kicked off with a celebration of Black Chicago changemakers (see video in folder) and continued with musical and spoken celebrations throughout the month, including performances of KACP’s very own Blues tune, The Magic Land (South Austin Blues), a song written by current 4th grade students (performed by 3d + 4th grade, directed by Katie Schmelzer and Samuel Spencer), Big by Pastor Mike Jr. (4th grade, directed by Sanovia Reynolds-Parks, Nikki Giovanni’s Rosa Parks (Kindergarten and 1st grade, Katie Schmelzer), and Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins (Kindergarten, directed by Erean Mei).  Our annual Black Lives Matter Rally took place on February 9th, where students made protest signs, marched the hallways, and learned the power of their voices. The month ended with a celebration of Black Women’s Excellence on March 1st, including a brave and courageous performance by 3rd grader Jamesha Loyd (rehearsed by Eunice Oh), who brought Madame CJ Walker to life!

For the 100th day of school, students were encouraged to dress like they were 100! On Valentine’s Day, Bridget Flores and the parents of the Bilingual Advisory Committee (BAC) organized fundraisers to raise money for a Spanish library at KAC and KACP. At KAC, students placed orders for snacks, treats, and flowers, which were delivered to homerooms on Valentine’s Day. At KACP, parents of the BAC sold these items during arrival and dismissal! That same afternoon, we saw our very first Sneaker Ball – organized by Robyn Gary; students in all grades dressed their best and added their most fashionable footwear flair!

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