We’re celebrating National Charter Schools Week by highlighting some great charter public schools in California. The public charter school community in the Golden State has thrived for more than 25 years, giving families access to high-quality educational opportunities and creating lasting change for the public education system.
Currently, California public charter schools educate more than 675,000 students at 1,310 diverse charter schools operating across the state.
Today we give some #CharterSchoolLove to KIPP Adelante Preparatory Academy in San Diego!
KIPP Adelante Preparatory Academy gives students the opportunity to attend a high-quality public school in southeast San Diego that meets their diverse needs so they can reach their full potential.
In Spanish, adelante means “to progress” and it’s the principle upon which this 5-8 middle school is founded. Many students who attend KIPP Adelante have family ties to Mexico and the school has successfully infused culturally relevant instruction in all subjects including its unique music program.
KIPP Adelante also has a strong character education program that focuses on helping kids develop character strengths to succeed in college and the world beyond. The core values of the school are ganas or “desire,” reflection, advocacy, excellence, and love.
But the hallmark of KIPP Adelante is its college prep focus that sets high expectations for getting students in and through college even before they start their high school years. The charter public middle school is part of the national KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) network of 224 schools in 20 states and Washington, DC.
As with any great school, success comes when you have dedicated and passionate educators working alongside children. Let's give some #CharterSchoolLove to a couple educators at this school:
Veronica Varela Johnson, KIPP Adelante Special Education Teacher
Why do you love teaching at KIPP Adelante?
Charter schools have the ability to leverage autonomy and innovation to ensure all students have access to a quality education regardless of their zip code. Teaching at a charter school empowers me with the freedom to make choices for my classroom that directly impact student learning, and it gives our families the opportunity to make choices about the academic future of their children.
What motivates you to do the hard work?
I don't know a teacher who wouldn't say, "the kids." Every day at school I am gifted the opportunity to create a more just and equitable future with and for our students and school community. I'm motivated by the drive our students and families have to create the lives they desire and are willing to work toward regardless of their circumstance, and I'm motivated by the fact that together we have a ripple effect on the future for ALL kids. The work is hard, but the kids will always be worth it.
How do you foster educational equity in your classroom?
Teaching in the time of COVID has meant prioritizing both academics and the basic needs of our students. From mental health services to food resources, my online classroom space has included countless one-on-one check-ins with students and families to make sure basic needs are met so that students can focus on learning.
Even though our school building was closed most of the school year, learning never stopped. Our team has focused on lessons that are both academically rigorous and develop our critical consciousness of ourselves and the world around us. Students are gaining a greater understanding of themselves, their community, and the world in which we live.
We learn about various aspects of the Civil Rights Movement and continue to gain a better understanding about what true equality looks like in our country, and we recognize the opportunity we have to take part in fighting for justice and empowering our community.
SCHOOL LEADER SPOTLIGHT
Rachelle Minix, KIPP Adelante School Leader
Rachelle Minix began her career as a high school special education teacher at both the Los Angeles Unified School District and Green Dot Public Schools. Before her time at KIPP Adelante, she was the founding principal of KIPP Sol Academy.
Check out this video of Rachelle explaining how this school community is "relentless" when it comes to improving the lives of children through education.
Want to learn more about KIPP Adelante Preparatory Academy? Visit its website by clicking here.
We salute this charter public school and others across the country that are creating opportunities for kids to go to a school that works for them.
Click on this link for more information on how to celebrate #CharterSchoolsWeek.
This blog story was written by Ana Tintocalis, CCSA's Director of Media Relations and Research. She is a frequent contributor to the CharterNation Blog. Got a good charter school story? Contact her at email@example.com