Embracing an Inclusive and Challenging Curriculum: Innovation Special AI Edition - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 13, March 2024

Embracing an Inclusive and Challenging Curriculum: Innovation Special AI Edition

Imagine a future where every student’s educational journey is transformed, opening doors to cutting-edge innovations. With generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this future is taking shape. We are harnessing the dynamic power of artificial intelligence (AI) to empower not just our students but entire communities.

Recognizing historical barriers our students and communities face in accessing innovative tools, KIPP Chicago is on a transformative mission. Our commitment is to break down these barriers, ensuring that each student not only has access but thrives in an educational environment tailored to their unique needs.

In our inaugural year of AI implementation, our focus was on Teacher FIRST Integration & Change Management. Listening closely to our teachers, we looked to address their needs—more time, tools for culturally relevant curriculum modification, support for multi-language learners, and enhanced family engagement. The impact is tangible, with our innovative approach already beginning to reshape the teaching and learning landscape at KIPP Chicago.

But we’re just getting started. As we move into year two, our focus is shifting to more robust student-facing integration to accelerate learning in alignment with national One KIPP initiatives. We’re doubling down on our commitment to empowering students to take ownership of their learning journey and leverage AI tools to maximize their potential.

At a recent all-staff gathering, we embarked on an inspiring journey to envision the future of education. From drawing innovation inspiration to delving into the role of teachers as co-designers and even exploring the mysteries of AI with Rajen Sheth, founder of Kyron Learning, the energy in the room was electric. It was a day filled with collaboration, innovation, and boundless possibilities.

A highlight of the event was a fireside chat led by our Executive Director, April Mongomery Goble, and esteemed educator and former principal, Dr. Mahalia Ann Hines. Together, they delved into the future of education in a technology-driven world, posing a bold question: Can we raise kind, loving, and empathetic children in a society increasingly consumed by screens?

Dr. Hines, whose upcoming book, Tomorrow’s Children: How to Raise Children to Stay Human in a High-Tech Society hits shelves this April, delivered a poignant message that deeply resonated with our teachers: “I don’t think we have Hi-Tech without Hi-Touch and expect our children to grow up to be kind, loving, empathetic, and respectful adults.”

This thought-provoking discussion has sparked new insights and reflections among our staff, igniting a renewed commitment to nurturing not only academic excellence but also the social-emotional development of our students.

With tools like Kyron Learning, MagicSchool.ai, and Paloma, we’re revolutionizing how teachers teach and students learn. Kyron Learning, founded by Rajen Sheth, allows students to learn interactively anytime, anywhere, with expert teachers of their choice. MagicSchool.ai, founded by a former teacher and principal, aims to alleviate the burden of repetitive tasks, allowing teachers to focus on teaching. Paloma supports “Parents as First Teachers” through at-home parent-led tutoring.

We don’t stand alone. To engage our community in this AI adoption process, we joined the AI for Equity Professional Learning Community. This community is a collective powerhouse, organizing networks and teams to leverage educator voices around AI, codify best practices, and drive equitable student outcomes. See how KIPP Chicago was featured as an exemplar in this community. 

In Winter 2024, we proudly introduced the Artificial Intelligence Professional Learning Community in collaboration with Playlab.ai, Array Education, and Relay Graduate School of Education. Co-facilitated by KIPP Founder Dave Levin and KIPP Chicago’s VP of Equity Pete Gooden,  this community empowers our region to drive AI innovation in K-12 education.

Our inaugural cohort comprises a diverse range of 31 participants, including Grade Level Chairs, HR Team, Diverse Learner Teachers, Data, KIPP Forward, Middle & Primary Teachers, and School Leaders. Together, we’re crafting an inclusive and equitable AI future for education.

Join us on this journey.

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