Cultivating Identity Development Practices - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 8, January 2022

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Cultivating Identity Development Practices

KIPP Academy Chicago’s Doors Get a Bold Makeover

KIPP Academy Chicago (KAC) School Leader, Jess Valerio, recently fulfilled a vision she has had for years to adorn each classroom door with images of BIPOC leaders, artists, innovators, athletes, academics, and creatives. With the help of local Chicago artist, Sydney Veverka, this project has come to life! There are 24 doors throughout KAC with colorful, bold illustrations of BIPOC people from Ida B. Wells and Harold Washington to Common and Michelle Obama.

Impact Projects

The McNair Fellows are currently working to name, design, and begin implementing an impact project. Impact projects stem from the interests, curiosities, and strengths of each fellow. Projects range from a social media mindfulness pilot and music integration program to producing a morning show and building an identity development program for families.

McNair Fellow Spotlight: Steven Greer

What are your aspirations in leadership and how do you see this fellowship helping you get there?

I aspire to be a school leader and eventually work at the regional level in community engagement and outreach. I believe the fellowship will help me reach these goals because of the opportunities to serve, leadership sessions, and networking. The biggest benefit of the McNair Fellowship is the opportunities to work with thought-partners at different campuses across the city. I love the sessions that we have, there is so much to learn from others and I truly appreciate being a part of this fellowship.

This program is inspired by the success and life of Ronald McNair. In terms of your career, who is someone that you consider a hero/role model/inspiration?

Although he could be considered everyone’s hero and role model, Dr. King still serves as my greatest inspiration. Dr. King was a life-long learner and activist. He continuously called on others to see themselves and others at their highest self. He sacrificed so much leading a movement that was so important, but so dangerous to his personal life. Dr. King could have chosen another path and still have been a great and honorable person, but he went above and beyond the call for an entire nation. One Dr. King’s quote still drives me to this day. ” Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”. This question he posed to an audience in 1957 is still relevant to this day. How are you serving others?

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