Parent Spotlight: Michelle Davis

    When asked "Why KIPP?" Michelle explains that KIPP is the first school and still only school in Minneapolis that promotes college like she does. If Michelle had the chance to go to KIPP schools throughout her primary, middle, and high school, she would go all 13 years because she knows that it would have kept her on track to reaching her full potential. She believes that this is something that a lot of the schools in North Minneapolis lack.

     When asked what her "WHY" is, Michelle replied, "My why is equity - I think everybody should have equity and access. Everyone will have better educational opportunities which will lead to better housing, jobs, and a secure life. I want to help bring resources to families in order for them to have equitable opportunities." Michelle is now a full-time student at Minneapolis Community & Technical College studying community development. She is excited to apply her new knowledge in a way that advances equity in Minneapolis.

     Michelle would like to leave words of advice and encouragement to students in and beyond KIPP North Star: "You are your biggest fan and supporter. Greatness doesn't come easy - work hard for what you want. Be what you want."

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Performing Arts and KIPP Primary

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The vision for our new primary school details a robust enrichment program that provides opportunities for students to grow in many different ways, and to dig deeper into interests beyond academic instruction. We launched our school with a commitment to the performing arts, delivered by a highly qualified teacher who is passionate about giving urban students early and consistent involvement with the arts. We are very fortunate to have hired, with your support, Emily Ban, an alumna of the Harvard Graduate School of Education and former education manager at The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts as our founding dance teacher. Midway through the school's first year, the profound impact of providing of daily dance instruction is evident. Students are learning to solve problems creatively through improvisation and to compose their own imaginative choreography. Ms. Ban has significant connections in the local dance community and big dreams for developing a high-quality dance education program.

Over the last several months, Ms. Emily has been working with her students through a collaborative creative process to create an original dance routine. During initial sessions, students spent time thinking about "what are you good at?" Each student contemplated their own unique skills, interests, and abilities and then drew pictures of themselves performing their skills. Some of the things our kindergarten and 1st graders believe they are good at include: fishing, dancing, hugging, reading, making art, swimming, and adding numbers. Next, Ms. Emily shared the skills with each class and students spent time improvising to show with silent body motion how to perform each activity. She then videotaped the students and studied the footage to assemble the motions into a choreographed dance. "Students were happy with the project because they knew they contributed and that the performance was about them. They felt validated not just for co-creating the routine, but appreciated for their many talents," Ms. Emily commented. The result was an impressive, passionate, and joyful performance at the Winter Family Night held last week at the school. Video can be viewed on our Facebook page.

At KIPP, we believe that arts education plays a crucial role in helping students learn creativity, discipline, and teamwork. With your partnership, we are able to provide additional opportunities for all our students to excel, explore, and experience the arts. 

Opportunities Abound at KIPP Minnesota

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Stephen is a 5th grader at KIPP North Star Academy and an eager, engaged learner. He and his classmates have enjoyed an action packed fall at KIPP. This year Ms. Bender's 5th grade class became the proud stewards of the KIPP School Garden. This responsibility provides a variety of learning opportunities for KIPPsters including science, nutrition, and math. Another exciting fall adventure was the one night camping staycation on the KIPP campus. KIPPsters slept in tents, cooked out, and solidified relationships with classmates and teachers as we launch the school year. Stephen says he is "very happy" at KIPP. He loves that he is able to experience new subjects like science, participate in wilderness adventures, and rely on teachers who care. Math is his favorite subject, specifically long division because he "feels good when I solve a problem and I know how to check my work! I used to get frustrated in Math but Ms. Bender helped me and then I began to trust myself and believe that I can do it. I just never give up!" 

KIPP Students Making Strides

Providing Safe, Structured, and Nurturing Environments is one of KIPP's core components and is paramount to ensuring KIPP students are successful. Teachers and staff work hard each day to make this possible. One new 6th grader exemplifies this need and the impact. This fall she started with poor school attendance. During the first four months of school, she was absent ten days and tardy seven days. The office manager, Mrs. Jackson, worked with her to develop independent systems to be on time. Her science teacher, Mrs. Javore, noticed that she started to become more invested in KIPP's system of tracking "Glows and Grows" behavior. She realized that being at school on time is an easy way to earn the "Glows" that led to privileges she craved, like attending "Zest Fest." As her absences decreased, her classroom engagement grew. Mrs. Javore notes that she is now "more willing to make mistakes and more willing to accept my feedback." She performed in the 19th percentile nationwide in science this fall, but caught up to grade level (53rd percentile) by midyear, based on MAP scores.

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For additional impact stories please check out these featured articles about two KIPP MN alumni.

Malcolm, a first year student at The Breck School
Lexi, a first year student at Jackson State University

Your support is helping young people like these KIPPsters become their best selves through a high quality education.