Increasing Family and Community Partnerships - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 6, May 2021

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Increasing Family and Community Partnerships

21st Century grant
In December 2020, KIPP Chicago was awarded the Illinois State Board of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Center grant. The purpose of the grant is to support schools and organizations’ efforts to offer students extended learning opportunities. Utilizing 21st Century funds, each one of our K-8 schools is providing academically focused programs, clubs, fine arts, science technology engineering and math (STEM), mentoring, college access support, sports, and other enriching programming during the day and for after-school programming. We are also engaging families and community members in adult education courses in order to transform our campuses into learning hubs for the whole family. The 21st Century grant is a five-year commitment that will support KIPP Chicago’s campuses through the 2024 – 2025 school year. Currently, the grant is funding the enrichment and mentorship programs in schools.

Enrichment Programs
As part of our 4th quarter school plan, 40 minute enrichment periods were added to all K-8 students’ days. Enrichment classes are being taught by school-based staff and topics range from robotics to watercolor exploration to dance. Enrichment time was designed to offer students a creative and social-emotional reprieve during the school day. Check out the engineering work with Ms. Parker (KIPP One Academy) and the rock painting to spread positivity with Ms. Gates (KIPP Academy Chicago).

Mentor program:
KIPP Chicago On-Site Mentors are supporting the academic and social-emotional growth of primary and middle school students. The Mentors, comprised of KIPP alumni, parents, and community members, are in schools supporting teachers’ efforts to provide a positive hybrid learning experience. They ensure that students are fully engaged in learning by providing additional support in classrooms. Mentors are also providing academic tutoring for students in one-on-one and small group settings.

Diamond Peeples at KIPP Ascend Primary

“She’s incredible. We wouldn’t be able to provide this quality of an experience for kids without her.”

– Danni Quider, Assistant Principal, KIPP Ascend Primary

Monthly workshop series for KIPP families:
We dedicated this year to holistic health and wellbeing for KIPP families. Each month centered on a wellness theme to be discussed in weekly workshops. The intention was that each workshop series would elevate, educate, and enhance our families’ wellbeing. By the end of the school year, we hope that our families will have resources and new information to support their mental health, physical health, and economic health.

The months of January and February highlighted food nutrition which included cooking demos. Our community partner was Erie Neighborhood House. In February, families cooked sweet potato quesadillas, banana splits, and apple nachos. The workshops included a 45-min presentation for healthy options, food groups, reading nutrition labels, the dangers of sugars and food coloring, and portion control. Following the presentation, families learned how to cook tasty heart healthy meals.


The month of March elevated mental health. KIPP partnered with RUSH University Medical Center to offer a month of mental health workshops. The series included managing grief and loss of loved ones and social engagement (including COVID); How to support LGBTQ+ youth mental health; Supporting your child’s mental health. Our goal for the Mental Health series was to provide resources and tools for our KIPP Chicago community to navigate the direct and tangential aspects of COVID in a healthy and supported manner.

April’s focus was Financial health, so we participated in Money Smart Week. Money Smart Week is a national public education program coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and delivered by a network of supporters that empowers people with the knowledge and skills to make better-informed personal financial decisions around the key financial pillars of saving, borrowing and planning. In partnership with Fifth Third Bank Chicago, we expanded Money Smart week to Money Smart Month, which featured weekly topics: Financial Check-up 101, Savings and Budgeting, Protecting Your Identity, and Boost Your Credit Score.

The month of May centered legal “Know your legal rights” in partnership with Winston & Strawn we are partnered with Winston & Strawn Law Firm for a 3-part weekly series of legal discussions centering knowing your legal rights, careers for reentering society after incarceration, career development if you have a record, and careers in the legal field. Our goal for this workshop series was to offer families the tools and education they need to legally protect themselves, pursue careers in the legal field, and feel empowered to pursue new opportunities of choice.

KOP logo update
School Operations Leader at KIPP One Primary, Mr. Anthony Whaley, worked with our Communications Director, Brittany Jones, to create a new logo to represent the school and its values. Mr. Whaley was passionate about including school staff and families in the process so that the final resulting logo was truly a community collaboration. The new logo was presented to founding Principal Rashid Bell, as a tribute surprise!

We’re looking forward to seeing more new branding for KIPP Chicago! Our new Director of Brand Strategy & Communications, Brittany Jones, is working hard to ensure that our schools and special programs are represented with intentional logos and branding.

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