The Whole Child Initiative (WCI) is KIPP Chicago’s next iteration of growth. It embraces a whole child ethos, which ensures each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. It will also focus on supporting staff, family, and community health and wellbeing.
KIPP Chicago’s mission has always been to create joyful, academically excellent schools that prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose, from college to career, and beyond, so they can lead fulfilling lives and create a more just world.
Over the last five years, we have been driving several pilots, programs, and committees at some or all of our schools to begin defining how we approach a Whole Child education. We want to share the roots of our Whole Child Initiative in order to celebrate our stories and offer resources to other educators.
Spring testing can create a lot of stress and anxiety for both students and teachers. We know how important these tests are in measuring our effectiveness as educators, but we are also committed to creating an environment that fosters joy.
Four years ago we committed to hiring more social workers to ensure students have the support they deserve. We have also invested in mindfulness training for all of our teachers so they can begin to lead these practices in their classrooms.
While Science, Technology, and Engineering programming has always been an important part of the KIPP Chicago experience, our efforts in fostering a love of inquiry and scientific thinking have grown over the last 3 years.
A ‘Passion Project’ is anything that allows for student curiosity, creativity, and collaborative experiences. According to research for an article in The Atlantic, children living in under-resourced areas are more likely to thrive in school when they find a project suited to their interests and curiosity.
The Social Justice Fair is an open-ended, exploratory based learning project. At the beginning of the year, students choose any Social Justice topic to investigate and analyze, such as: Black Lives Matter, Second-Wave Feminism, or the #MeToo movement. They research the history of the movement, the problems it seeks to solve, and the means of achieving its goals, and finally, they analyze whether or not the movement is/was successful. Students present their research at the end of the year in a manner similar to a traditional “science fair.” The Social Justice Fair requires writing and analyzing, allows for creativity, promotes students’ public speaking skills, and helps students identify as agents of social change.
Three years ago we turned the front half of our regional office into our Children’s Museum of Art and Social Justice. The mission of the museum is to offer a space for the voices of KIPP Chicago students to be heard and to infuse a social justice curriculum into the arts at our eight schools.
KIPP Ascend Primary began an arts program during its founding year in 2010 with musical theater. With the addition of visual arts and dance in the following years, a collaborative program evolved.
KIPP One and KIPP Academy were both named in the most recent issue of Chicago magazine as two of the top public schools in the city because of their high academic achievement and attendance. They both also offer electives during the school day and a wealth of programs after school that allow students to explore what interests them.
The doors to KIPP Academy Chicago Primary (KACP) opened on August 19th to eager and excited new kindergartners and 4th graders. Founded by school leader, Jarell Lee alongside 4th grade school leader, Marquita Curry, KACP is our 8th school.