Dear KIPP NYC Team and Family,
Today marks the end to a memorable week. On Monday, we opened our doors to across many of our K-8 schools to kick off the new school year! This marked the start of in-person schools for the first time since March 2020 for some of our KIPPsters. A lot has happened for us and them in that time. We’ve re-emerged with a new sense of unity and purpose to drive us forward. In the pursuit of new solutions, we have a lot to celebrate. Please take some time to read about all the wonderful things happening across our region, starting with school opening in the spotlight!
School Opening in the Spotlight
KIPP Academy Middle School started the week in News12, and then again in the Bronx Times on Thursday. Both articles showcased the school’s phased approach in welcoming students back to school. Both parents and staff applauded transparency when it came to making sure the return to in-person learning was thoughtful and safe for everyone.
NBC 4 NY showed love to KIPP STAR Harlem Elementary, again explaining the summer bridge program’s focus on building relationships and easing students back to school who haven't been in person for the past 15 months.
Chalkbeat gave a high-level overview of our resilient health and safety plan in a time when the city and state haven’t provided much guidance. From COVID testing, to distancing and school closures, KIPP is a leading example.
In the 2021-22 school year, KIPP NYC will be offering family workshops for you to participate in. The workshops listed below were developed with guidance from the KIPP Family Advisory Council. Their remarkable feedback inspired us to ensure that a KIPP family member/caretaker serves as a consultant for each topic proposed.
If there is a topic that holds special importance to you, or about which you have knowledge/resources to share, please email Lisa Perera, KIPP NYC Director of Social Work, to get involved. We would benefit from the input and experience our families/caretakers bring to our shared community.
September: Re-adjusting to the Realities of In-person School
October: Supporting Academic Motivation
November: Digital Citizenship: Keeping Kids Safe and Savvy online
December: Parenting Strategies for Managing Challenging Behaviors
January: Financial Literacy for Youth
February: Puberty/Sexuality/Gender Identity
March: Preventing and Handling Bullying at School
April: Fostering Healthy Identity in our Kids
May: Helping Kids Adjust to Family Changes (loss, divorce, separation)
June: Young People and Substance Use/Abuse
We will hold all of our regional family workshops remotely. We will share specific days, times, and Zoom links closer to the date for each workshop. Thanks in advance for participating!
Health & Safety, Reminders
As questions come up regarding our latest health and safety protocols, please refer to the 2021-22 School Year FAQ found on our Family Resources page. We want to restamp our several important reminders about our policies as we welcome new KIPPsters in the coming weeks. Please reach out to your principal if you have any outstanding concerns.
Daily Health Survey. All students (or their families) and staff will respond to the Ruvna daily health survey prior to the start of each school day.
Social Distancing. While in the classroom, to the best extent possible, students will maintain a social distance of three feet from each other (and six feet distance for activities such as meals, music, and recess).
Masks. All staff and students must wear face masks while in our school buildings and on school grounds. Students may remove masks while eating or drinking.
COVID Testing in School. We will test all students during their first month onsite. After this initial round of testing, we will test 10% of students onsite each week. We will test unvaccinated staff each week.
COVID-19 Vaccine Incentives and Access
We strongly encourage all of our staff, our families, and students over the age of 12 to receive the vaccine. Please see this page from the CDC for more information on the benefits of the vaccine. New York City is now providing incentives, including $100, if you get your first vaccine dose at a New York City-run vaccine location. On our Community Resources page, you can find information about the vaccine, including NYC Health’s Vaccine Finder to search for a location near you.
Social Studies Working Group
In the summer of 2020, we embarked on a process to re-imagine our vision for middle school and high school social studies across KIPP NYC. We engaged over 2,400 students, alumni, family members, and staff to hear perspectives on what people wanted from social studies instruction at KIPP NYC.
Since then, we have been hard at work. We drafted a comprehensive vision that strives to:
Center the identities of our students and families and teach a broader and more honest history;
Utilize thematic modules that draw an explicit throughline between the past and the present world we live in;
Make room for student-driven, creative research projects in each middle school year;
Eventually create opportunities for students to receive high school credit in middle school, allowing for elective courses in high school;
Balance some shared KIPP NYC curricula with flexibility for each school/teacher to define some of their own curricula specific to each school community; and
Move at intentional speed over a multi-year period, allowing us space and time to continually learn and improve.
KIPP NYC teachers in our Curriculum Fellowship program created the first set of curricula this summer to be used across our schools this year.
Over the next few weeks, we will continue to have moments of joy and new reasons to celebrate. As we work together in this process of rebuilding, stay centered on the light of learning and the hope of healing that surrounds us daily in this work.
Together as a team and family,
Alicia Johnson, President
Jim Manly, Superintendent