By Lisa Altman & Carie Page, Knowledge Sharing Team, KIPP Foundation
At KIPP, we’re thankful for one another. Not just for the big and small ways that our teachers and leaders reach out to support each other every day, but also for the ways that our growing network of schools gives us the opportunity to learn from and with our peers across the country. We mean it when we say that we’re “smarter together than apart.” Collaboration at KIPP transcends conversations in the hallway and local professional development.
For example, at KIPP, more than 4,500 teachers and instructional leaders share their curriculum and classroom materials on KIPP Share Better Lesson, allowing teachers to leverage quality resources (such as the Common Core aligned Featured Teacher curricula), avoid recreating the wheel by gathering ideas and materials from their peers, and share their own work. Other examples include our annual KIPP School Summit, our leadership development work, and a series of community retreats where our leaders and teachers can seek advice and trade strategies and resources with teammates across the country. It’s not just about feeling connected; it’s about leveraging one another to support all of our students in climbing the mountain “To and Through” college.
The ability to leverage our scale to support individual teachers in their classrooms is just one thing we’re thankful for at KIPP.
We also know that showing thanks often is a great way to model “gratitude” (one of the seven core character strengths we focus on) for our students.
Early this month, math and science educators from around the network along with some of our partners from outside of our walls came together in Newark, New Jersey for the Math/Science Retreat. It was a weekend filled with networking, learning, and sharing. It was also an opportunity for big KIPPsters to show gratitude for each other and for the ideas and resources that have made a difference in their practice and ability to serve students.
Here are just a few examples:
- Ashley Alexander (pictured above) from KIPP Spirit in Houston expressed her gratitude for Charles King, her school leader for being supportive and “always going the extra mile,” to make sure the staff is successful.
- Eddie Washington (pictured below) thanked Steve Frederick, 6th Grade Math Featured Teacher, for helping him create a great foundation for his curriculum through the Common Core aligned plans and materials Steve has developed and shared.
- Sally Winchester (pictured below), 5th Grade Math Featured Teacher and Harriet Ball Excellence in Teaching Award Winner from KIPP Believe in New Orleans, expressed her gratitude to Katy Janik, Middle School Math Community Leader and fellow 5th grade math teacher at KIPP Central City, for helping teachers around the network stay connected and continue to collaborate throughout the year.
The teachers at the Retreat helped us kick off a tradition which starts this week: Our annual Gratitude campaign on KIPP Share. Through November 21, we’re asking the KIPP Team & Family to share videos and pictures that illustrate how someone else’s idea has made a difference in their own work.
It’s both an opportunity to model the behaviors we work so hard to reinforce in our students every day and a chance to recognize the sheer sharing power of our growing network.
Here’s how it works:
Step One: Take a moment to reflect on the resources and ideas that you’ve gathered from fellow big KIPPsters this year. Which ones have made a significant difference in your ability to serve students?
Step Two: Take a picture or create a video that shows or describes how that idea has impacted your work. Get creative!
Step Three: Show your thanks!
- KIPP Teachers: Log on to the Gratitude website to upload a picture or video which expresses your thanks along with a brief description.
- All KIPP Staff Members: Show your Gratitude on Main Office. Inside each Main Office room, we’ve created Gratitude threads where you can “thank” a colleague by uploading your photo and picture. Be sure to mention the person and the resource!
After your submission, the person you thanked will receive a gift card for a cup of coffee and a note of thanks.
For those of you reading this blog from outside of KIPP, visit www.kipp.org/gratitude to follow our progress!
We’re looking forward to another great year in this on-going tradition and opportunity to celebrate and foster Gratitude around our network!