A KIPP School Summit Reflection

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By Tyler Van Eps, Director of Development & External Affairs

Two months into my journey of #educationequity and I can’t believe how much I’ve been shaped by the amazing team and family at @kippmn. Kicking off my journey with the KIPP School Summit for three days at the end of July in Houston was full of unforgettable moments:

  • Interview with Ava Duvernay (@ava), the force behind Selma, When They See Us, 13th, and A Wrinkle in Time

  • KIPP alum singing performance (a Broadway performer!)

  • Current KIPPsters singing, dancing, marching, speaking, hosting and more

What an overwhelming and wonderful experience to step into a world-class event and production that was completely driven by current and former KIPP scholars! I am already incredibly thankful for the people that have impacted me in this new adventure; here’s just a snapshot of the people who have shared their vision, passion and purpose with me. 

I learned from an assistant educator how valuing our own learning and education process is essential to pursuing it with youth. If we don’t hold ambitious learning goals as a standard in our own lives, how can we expect that of people around us?

Sitting with an assistant principal, I observed the power of work ethic, commitment, consistency, competition and raw transparency with people. Pick out the best, commit to outperforming them, but be ready to help them succeed when you have an opportunity. Tell them you want to beat them. Not because of them, but because of you. Plant excellence and competition at the center of your craft, own your confidence and verbalize your intentions. 

From a 10-year teaching vet, I learned the power of long-term investments and to never underestimate the small deposits in a single moment. You never know which investment will tip the interest scales that lead to a choice-filled life. 

Eating lunch with a future school leader, I absorbed the raw passion of a mother whose heart extends beyond her own kids and into the lives of hundreds of students in the North Minneapolis community. It inspired me to determine the kind of school - academics, co-curriculars, culture and environment - I dream of for my own children, and pour every bit of passion, energy and enthusiasm into making that vision a reality at KIPP. 

This truly is more than a school. It is more than a network of schools. It is more than a precisely designed education system for under-served communities. It is a collection of passionate, inspired, competent and compassionate individuals that have committed to fighting for education equity and doing whatever it takes to fuel choice-filled lives!


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