Integrating SEL - KIPP Chicago Public Schools

The Whole Child Review Issue No. 10, October 2022

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Integrating SEL

Mini Pitch 

KIPP Ascend Primary School kicked off the school year with a Back to School BBQ and celebrated the ribbon cutting for a new mini-pitch. The mini-pitch was made possible through funding from the U.S. Soccer Foundation and The United for Girls initiative. Like us, these organizations know that extracurricular activities outside the classroom, like soccer, help kids develop healthy habits and critical life skills. Unfortunately, many children in underserved communities, especially girls, lack the resources, access, and encouragement to reap the rewards. In a message to our students, Principal Marquita Curry shared, “This mini-pitch is for you to have space to play because you are not only the future of soccer, you are the future of our community and our city.”


Once Upon Our Time Capsule 

In 2021, Once Upon Our Time Capsule partnered with KIPP Chicago and organizations across the city to support kids in telling their stories of living through the pandemic by contributing to a citywide time capsule. This year, they are partnering with us again to support students in Chicago and across the country to tell and share their stories annually to help them develop a stronger sense of agency, belonging, and empathy.

Three of our schools have started to participate in these workshops this school year. ​​Throughout the workshops, KIPPsters reflect on their life experiences over the past year, and utilize those reflections to tell their individual stories creatively so that they can be captured in the annual time capsule. With the leadership of teachers Angelica London, Essence Townsel, and Katie Schmelzer, this reflection and storytelling exercise helps kids strengthen their self-awareness and develop their sense of agency.

These workshops embed emotional identification and regulation as a primary focus. They also draw out students’ strategies for managing stress and negative emotions, focusing on their bravery and resiliency. Students then share those stories and use various tools to reflect on and appreciate their similarities, differences, struggles, and strengths to build a sense of belonging and empathy. In doing so, they build relational skills and social awareness. We are grateful to have this partnership continue to support our students’ social-emotional growth and our overall Whole Child Initiative. 

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