Opening Letter - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 4, September 2020

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Opening Letter

I hope that you are safe and well. We have now been back to school for one month and we are witnessing over and over the resilience of our students, families, and teachers. Every day I see families making it happen for their children at home with customized learning spaces that allow students to immerse themselves in online learning. I see teachers going above and beyond to create dynamic, engaging content for students and meeting with other teachers across the region to brainstorm innovative and creative ways to present lessons. I see the regional staff continue to plan and prepare for every possible learning scenario, adapting and innovating for a quickly changing reality.

The Whole Child initiative was born from a reckoning about what it would truly take to ensure our students had the confidence, skills, and appropriate supportive structures to navigate the many systemic barriers they face throughout their educational and career journey. Our evolution as an organization demanded a more comprehensive approach rooted in amplifying student creativity and expression, collective care, and community mobilization. When we began the process of creating the Whole Child Initiative, we did so with 7 priorities in mind that would continue our progress toward becoming an anti-racist organization.

In this edition of the Whole Child Review, you will read about how we continue to prioritize connecting with families and ensuring those relationships are strong. You’ll see our thoughtful approach to online learning as we took lessons from the spring and implemented a plan that is rigorous, responsive, and still joyful. We are approaching the work from our Children’s Museum of Art and Social Justice in new and exciting ways and we’re working to exhibit more artwork from our past shows in schools. See how you can help make this happen! We’re thrilled to announce more progress toward our Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) goals and we have a number of exciting announcements around our work to cultivate identity development practices, including the story of our own Pete Gooden, accepting an award for his leadership in KIPP Through College (KTC). In this edition, you will see how we are continuing to address food justice through partnerships and how we are continuing to bring experiences of community and joy to our staff through wellness events.

These images are some of the many examples of the at-home learning spaces we’re so inspired to see. Also, thank you families for bringing your students to school supply pick-up days! The top left photo are new students and QUADRUPLETS!

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