Monday, April 15, 2013

KIPP Shares Culture with LMS

For the team at KIPP Courage, Kickboard is a beloved tool that supports their culture of high expectations and character development. A software platform designed to help educators build school culture and manage their classrooms, Kickboard allows teachers to track and analyze student behavior. 

As KIPP Courage is housed inside of Landrum Middle School, Landrum Principal Luis Pratts and KIPP Courage School Leader Eric Schmidt have worked to calibrate the cultures across the two groups, creating ways to share LMS best practices with KIPP and vice versa. During a shared professional development meeting on Friday, KIPP Courage teachers introduced Landrum staff to Kickboard and shared the ways the program supports their work.
KIPP Courage teachers Hannah Swanson and Ryan Hambley
demonstrate how they use Kickboard in their classrooms

In one presentation, KIPP 5th grade math teacher Ryan Hambley and 5th grade humanities teacher Hannah Swanson were clear that while the program does not directly fix student behaviors, it does provide accountability for the pedagogy and belief that each of the KIPP teachers live by and work to develop in their students.

Since its inception in 1994, KIPP has valued character development as central to its mission. In every KIPP school, there are seven highly-predictive character traits infused into school life: zest, optimism, gratitude, social intelligence, grit, curiosity, and self-control. Teachers incorporate these traits into their lessons and help recognize and develop them in their students.

As Hambley and Swanson walked LMS teachers through the Kickboard system, they shared a piece of the KIPP Courage culture that lives within the Landrum campus walls. This meeting followed a previous joint professional development session when KIPP and LMS teachers shared their learnings after having co-observed each other's classrooms. As teachers from both schools learn from each other about expectations and systems used, the two groups continue their efforts to establish building-wide best practices to serve all students.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chicago Public Schools Visits the SKY Partnership

From left: Dick Streedain, Ellen Sales, Liz Kirby, Mandele
Davis, Dr. Mahalia Hines, Michael Durr and SBISD
Superintendent Duncan Klussmann on CPS' SKY visit
On Tuesday, April 9th, the SKY Partnership hosted visitors from Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in an effort to share lessons learned around our collaborative work and inform their participation in district charter collaborations.

Chicago Public Schools Board Member Dr. Mahalia Hines was joined by CPS Area Superintendent Liz Kirby, Principal Michael Durr of CPS’s John Hope College Prep, KIPP Fisher Fellow Ellen Sale, and a longtime KIPP Leadership Coach, Dick Streedain.

Chicago Public Schools is preparing for co-location arrangements in an effort to consolidate schools and utilize space available across their city. In one arrangement, Sale will open a KIPP middle school in Durr’s high school building this fall.

The visit included a meeting with Superintendent Klussmann, visits to each of the SKY sites and conversations with campus leaders, lunch with two members of the SBISD Board of Trustees and a conversation with SBISD’s SKY Partnership team.

One of the SKY Partnership’s objectives is to be recognized as a replicable model across our city, state and nation. Chicago Public Schools' visit was a wonderful way for the SKY Partnership to share our process, progress and lessons learned to help inform Chicago’s collaborative work.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Shared Professional Development at NMS & YES

Northbrook Middle School Principal Valerie Johnson gathers her staff six times a year for in-house professional development opportunities. YES Prep Northbrook School Director Cendie Stanford's school schedule releases students early on Wednesdays so that teachers are given time to plan and prepare for their classes.

YES Prep's Deion Brown leads a session on "Classroom
Routines & Procedures" for NMS and YES staff.
In an effort to create more opportunities to bring their staff together, Johnson and Stanford worked to align their schedules so that the Northbrook Middle School Professional Development days coincided with YES Prep's early release Wednesdays. Doing so has allowed the two school leaders to offer joint professional development opportunities for Northbrook and YES teachers.

On Wednesday, April 10th, the two groups gathered for an afternoon of differentiated professional development sessions, their fourth combined meeting of the year. Staff members indicated their preferences in a survey and chose from sessions led by a mix of Spring Branch ISD and YES Prep Northbrook teachers.

YES Prep Northbrook 6th grade Math teacher and Grade Level Chair Deion Brown led a session titled "Classroom Routines and Procedures." Brown shared strategies and techniques around classroom management, setting high expectations and creating consistency.

NMS's Jose Moreno and YES Prep's Angelica Hickerson
lead a session on using "Class Dojo."
A few doors down, YES Prep 6th grade ELA teacher Angelica Hickerson and NMS 8th grade Math teacher Jose Moreno teamed up to lead a joint session on using "Class Dojo," a behavior management software program. Hickerson and Moreno shared their perspectives on how each uses the program in the classroom, and encouraged participants to create accounts for their own rooms.

The NMS and YES Northbrook staff will come together again for their fifth gathering on May 1st. In the meantime, the two teams of staff left their sessions yesterday as a unified whole ready to return to their classrooms and implement the strategies they learned.

Monday, April 1, 2013

KIPPsters Perform at Landrum Middle School Auditorium

KIPP Courage students showcase their theatrical talents at a
recent performance in the Landrum Middle School Auditorium.
One of the unique features of the SKY Partnership is the sharing of Spring Branch ISD electives at the program sites. While KIPP Courage and YES Prep Northbrook students receive their core academic content from KIPP and YES teachers respectively, the students also have access to SBISD electives at their host campuses. As the programs expand by a grade level each year, students will also have access to the home campuses' athletic offerings.

At KIPP Courage this year, students choose from elective offerings including band, orchestra, karate and choir. At YES Prep Northbrook, students currently have access to theater, band, choir, art and orchestra. Electives are taught by SBISD teachers and are designed to bring students from the charter program and the host campus together in blended settings.

On Wednesday, March 27th, students from KIPP Courage's theater class presented their rendition of Sleeping Beauty to an auditorium filled with classmates, parents, teachers and supporters. At the close of the show, students received well-deserved praise for the time, effort and dedication they put towards their first performance.

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