Integrating SEL - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 13, March 2024

Integrating SEL


KIPP Chicago has adopted the DESSA-mini (Devereux Student Strengths Assessment-Mini) as a valuable tool to further strengthen its Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) work. This brief (one-minute) screening tool assesses social and emotional strengths in students from Kindergarten to 8th grade.

Unlike traditional assessments, the DESSA-mini focuses on identifying students’ strengths, not just weaknesses. It can be administered to all students in a grade level, making it ideal for universal screening. Additionally, it is designed for completion by various stakeholders, including parents, guardians, teachers, and staff.

The DESSA-mini generates a Social & Emotional Total (SET) score, helping pinpoint students who may benefit from additional support. It also provides comprehensive data reports for tracking student progress over time. This information is crucial for KIPP Chicago’s MTSS framework, which aims to provide targeted interventions and support for students at all academic and social-emotional learning levels. By implementing the DESSA-mini, KIPP Chicago takes a proactive approach to social and emotional learning, ensuring all students have the resources they need to thrive.

Fighting Cyber Bullying

KIPP Bloom College Prep students took a remarkable step to tackle cyberbullying, a pressing issue impacting schools globally. Recognizing the urgency, they went beyond mere discussion and actively sought solutions. Their journey began with thorough research, delving into cyberbullying’s various facets, existing policies, and global efforts to combat it. Armed with this knowledge, they engaged their peers, sparking crucial dialogue and raising awareness. The students then rolled up their sleeves, collaboratively drafting resolutions that proposed specific measures to prevent cyberbullying, support victims, and hold perpetrators accountable. Recognizing diverse perspectives, they ensured their solutions had broad applicability. During committee sessions, they showcased their negotiation skills, building alliances, and reaching a consensus on effective anti-cyberbullying strategies. Through their dedication and collaborative spirit, their resolutions were adopted. But their commitment extends beyond the committee room. They are actively engaged with school administrators and SEL chairs, working to implement and monitor the effectiveness of their solutions while advocating for initiatives to support victims and foster a safer learning environment. This inspiring initiative showcases the power of student agency and collaboration, demonstrating how young minds can raise awareness and actively contribute to creating a more positive and inclusive school community.

Student Feature: Malaika King and Brea Terry

We’re thrilled to share the inspiring journey of Malaika King and Brea Terry, two outstanding students who exemplify resilience, leadership, and positive change in Englewood. Malaika and Brea, both talented and driven young women at KIPP Bloom College prep, have been making waves in our community. Despite the challenges they face, they’ve risen above stereotypes and become role models for their peers.

Malaika and Brea have embraced advocacy and leadership through their involvement in Model United Nations (MUN). They’ve tackled issues like poverty, violence, and educational disparities, using their voices to spark meaningful change. What’s truly remarkable about Malaika and Brea is their unwavering commitment to making a difference. They’ve shown incredible resilience and determination, proving that age is no barrier to creating positive change. Most recently, they have helped replant the KIPP BLOOM college prep garden to beautify the neighborhood and create space for community gatherings and collaboration. The origins of this community garden begin with a partnership between KIPP Chicago and the Common Ground Foundation.

It’s our mission to support and uplift students like Malaika and Brea. We’re proud to see them thriving and making a difference in our community. Let’s continue celebrating their achievements and amplifying their voices as they lead the way towards a brighter future for all.

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