Charter school takes extra steps to fight racism, pandemic
Charter school KIPP Miami has distributed more than 355 Chrome Books laptops to students, provided wi-fi hot-spots to families without internet access, hand-delivered 185 learning kits filled with school supplies and hosted a series of trainings for teachers, parents and students as part of its remote learning platform.
“At KIPP Miami we have always been committed to going the extra mile for our students and families and at no time is this more important than right now,” says Brett Kimmel, executive director of KIPP Miami. “We are proud to work together to ensure that our students stay curious and on-track with their learning, while providing our families with the support needed to navigate these challenging times.”
Amongst the resources and support KIPP Miami is providing its students and families are:
- Learning kits: Students received a range of school supplies in a drawstring book bag, including notebooks, crayons, glue sticks, scissors and a pencil box with pencils and pens, to assist with online learning and for free choice time.
- Meal assistance: Thanks to a partnership with Caring for Miami, more than 30 families struggling with food insecurity are receiving hand-delivered groceries by KIPP Miami staff, enough for three meals a day—all seven days a week. These meals are being provided for all children in the family, regardless if they are KIPP students.
- Bi-weekly teacher check-ins: Teachers at all grade levels are conducting phone calls, twice a week, with families to check-in on education and overall wellness needs.
- Virtual wellness and counseling: Teleservices have been set up for students to receive mental health support and family counseling. Additionally, speech pathology services are also being offered online for students.
- Family helpline: KIPP Miami has set-up a 24/7 hotline for families and students to reach out regarding any personal and/or educational need.
Launched in 2018, KIPP Miami is part of the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) national nonprofit network of college preparatory public charter schools serving elementary, middle and high school students. It is one of 28 networks across KIPP’s national portfolio and its first new region in more than eight years. KIPP Miami serves approximately 500 students in grades K, 1, 2, 5 and 6 via two schools: KIPP Sunrise Academy, an elementary school in Liberty City, and KIPP Liberty, a middle school in West Little River.
There are 242 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia educating more than 100,000 students. The organization is based in San Francisco.
KIPP began in 1994 with 47 fifth-graders within a public middle school in Houston. The following year, two new public charter middle schools began in Houston and New York City. By 1999, these original KIPP schools were among the highest-performing schools in their respective communities, the organization reports.
In 2000, Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of the Gap, committed philanthropic support to replicate the success of the original KIPP schools. The non-profit KIPP Foundation was originally established to recruit and train outstanding school leaders to open and run new KIPP schools. Today, the KIPP Foundation also develops tools to support excellent teaching and facilitates the exchange of ideas across the KIPP network.
For the past three years, KIPP”s senior leaders have been participating in a program called Leading for Racial Equity whose goal is to train its leaders and teachers on anti-racist practices, culturally relevant classrooms,and effective school cultures. “We are committing to provide our equity team with more resources and staffing to ensure that all our leaders and teachers can participate. And we commit to creating a structure that invites Black and Latinx leaders to hold us accountable on our work and progress,” KIPP’s website says. Latinx is the gender neutral term for Latinos and Latinas.
Kipp says 95 percent of its students are Black or Latinx.