Cultivating identity development practices - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 2, December 2019

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Cultivating identity development practices

As we have prioritized the development of spaces for students that cultivate identity affirmation, our teachers have been doing a phenomenal job building classroom environments that are warm and welcoming, and thoughtfully curated. Inside KIPP Chicago classrooms, you will find images of artists, musicians, scholars, historians, inventors, politicians, and activists who are people of color. As we continue to document successful classrooms, we will share best practices around creating identity affirming classroom cultures at our next regional Collaboration Day. Here are a few examples of identity affirming spaces:

KIPP Academy Chicago Primary (KACP)

At KACP, teachers created labels for Literacy Groups that showcase people of color. In Ms. Nunez and Ms. Goshert’s classroom, Literacy Groups are named after inventions by African Americans, such as the roller coaster, peanut butter, helicopters, and potato chips. In another classroom, Literacy Groups are named for black historical figures.

KIPP One Academy (KOA)

At KOA, teachers ensure their classrooms display images of people who are representative of the school population. You will find Latinx and African American imagery in the classrooms and in the halls.

KIPP Academy Chicago (KAC)

At KAC, African American artists, musicians, innovators, creatives, poets, and scientists are featured in all classrooms. You will find imagery from contemporary Chicago artist, Hebru Brantley proudly displayed. Alongside these images, you will find artwork created by students also on display.

KIPP Ascend Primary (KAP)

At (KAP), students in Ms. Thomm’s 3rd and 4th grade art elective classes learned about Cyrus Kabiru, a Kenyan artist who creates Afrofuturist glasses out of trash and found objects. Then they used a variety of materials to draw their own pair of Afrofuturist glasses on top of their photos. Their final portraits were framed and hang in the hallways of KAP. We are excited to see Afrofuturist artwork continue after our CMASJ art show, Springtime in Neptune last year. Also in Ms. Thomm’s art classroom you will find imagery from contemporary Black artists, such as Kehinde Wiley, who painted Obama’s presidential portrait.

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