KIPP Courage College Prep opened at Landrum Middle School in July of 2012 and serves approximately 100 college-bound fifth graders from Houston’s Spring Branch community. The school will expand by one grade level each year until it eventually serves nearly 400 5th- through 8th-grade students.
KIPP Courage is part of the SKY Partnership between Spring Branch ISD, KIPP Houston, and YES Prep. The academic and co-curricular programs at Courage will develop in underserved students the academic skills, intellectual habits, and qualities of character that prepare students for high school and going to and through college.
The students of KIPP Courage College Prep will achieve success in high school, college, and the competitive world as measured by the social, emotional, and economic stability in their post-college life. The students will be prepared to combine the technological importance of the 21st century with the individual and social understanding needed for all generations. Students will be able to verbalize the role that the character strengths of self-control, social intelligence, grit, zest, gratitude, optimism and curiosity play in their ability to succeed and how those character strengths relate to the KIPP Courage core values of courage, hard work, self-mastery, and intelligent effort
Students will achieve this level of success in their life through the completion of a four-year college or university in the area of study of their choice. Students will have the social and community background to understand that success in a college or university is not simply dependent on academic performance in the classroom but involvement in the campus and both local and global communities. Students will be able to integrate their academic learning with the use of technology.
Our students will take a rigorous curriculum in math, English/language arts, science and humanities each year. In addition, students will attend a learning lab where they engage in differentiated materials in Spanish, English, and their core content classes. The KIPP Courage day also includes a literacy block/intervention intended to provide students with sustained opportunity for reading and writing as well as small group tutorials.
All students will have access to the fine arts and athletics that are provided to all students in Spring Branch ISD through the partnership with Landrum Middle School. Finally all students participate in Courage Clubs three days a week where they develop character strengths and positive thinking through a curriculum incorporating skill development in classes such as yoga, dance, soccer and other areas of interests they share with their teachers.
The focus of the math curriculum at KIPP Courage College Prep will be to prepare students to take algebra I as 8th graders. We will utilize the KIPP Math curriculum. As a region, KIPP Houston has implemented common assessments so the math content on our campus will be very aligned with the rest of the region. All students will leave KIPP Courage prepared to take geometry in 9th grade. True understanding and mastery of math involves being able to talk about the “why” behind the processes and procedures a student completes. Students will be pushed to describe the reasoning and rationale behind the solutions they reach.
The ELA curriculum at KIPP Courage College Prep will provide a framework for literacy that will be implemented across content areas. KIPP Courage will utilize Accelerated Reader in order to build up a strong reading program starting in 5th grade. Classes will build towards the analysis and comprehension of novels as well as the incorporation of strong writing skills. The foundations of Accountable Talk will be developed here and reinforced in other content areas. Students will learn the power of asking effective questions and engage in group discussions where the teacher in the classroom strives to become a facilitator of the conversation.
The science curriculum will be highly intertwined with technology and research. Starting in 5th grade, students will be responsible for developing a science fair project each year and the research and development of this project will be intertwined into the curriculum. In each grade, the four quarters will be broken down to address four key areas: earth science, chemistry, biology, and physics. Throughout each quarter, the Scientific Method and science process skills will be incorporated. Students must develop the foundational knowledge in addition to the research skills to succeed in high school.
This curriculum is built to provide students with a solid foundation in geography and history before high school. All students in 5th through 8th grade will complete history fair projects. Similar to their science fair projects, the research and development of these projects will be intertwined into the curriculum. This curriculum also emphasizes a great deal of written and verbal development that is coordinated with the ELA curriculum.
Learning Lab will be required in each grade level. The Learning Lab is 100% technology-led with a certified teacher facilitator. This person will typically be an ESL or Special Education Interventionist. The Learning Lab is where students will receive all of their foreign language instruction, their supplemental English language instruction and their extra intervention for other core content classes. This space will also be utilized to increase the proficiency of students in their computing skills including typing and presenting. In 7th and 8th grade, the Learning Lab instructor may also be a foreign language instructor if results from 5th and 6th grade data shows that an instructor is needed to prepare students for Advanced Placement Spanish language.
At KIPP Courage College Prep, all teachers are reading and writing teachers. The 45-minute per day Literacy Block is intended to give space for students to do sustained reading and writing every day. This allows them to build up stamina. This space will be built around putting students in a comfortable environment where they are able to reflect on their day when writing or explore another world while reading. Teachers will guide students through whether that specific day is an independent reading day or a sustained writing day. Each class will be housed with journals for the writing reflections.
Fine arts and physical education services are provided in collaboration with Landrum Middle School, with which we share space. Students will attend these classes whenever Landrum Middle School is in session, and we will function on a modified schedule whenever they aren’t in session. Fine arts classes include band, choir, orchestra, and instrument training. Physical education can be achieved through Karate class as well. Students will attend these classes on an A-day/B-day schedule, balancing the PE and fine arts classes. A recess time will also be provided for students before or after lunch, if they have completed all of their lifework from the night before.
Courage Clubs are the character development and advisory system at KIPP Courage College Prep. All students will be assigned to a Courage Club in 5th grade. Courage Clubs intend to bring the school values of Courage, Hard Work, Self Mastery, and Intelligent Effort to life for students. The focus of the club is to bridge the connection between the school values and the high leverage character strengths of optimism, zest, grit, curiosity, gratitude, social intelligence and self-control. Teachers do this by teaching about character through the realm of a shared area of interest with their students. Courage Clubs could range from yoga and soccer to step or ballet. Courage Clubs are at the end of the day and in 7th or 8th grade could be a sports team that students are on.
What is Courage? Author and Illustrator Bernard Waber says, “There are many kinds of courage. Awesome kinds. And everyday kinds. Still, courage is courage – whatever kind.” At KIPP Courage College Prep in the Spring Branch area of Houston, Texas, we strive every day to give students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate courage: both the awesome kinds and the everyday kinds. Our students do this by pushing themselves, their peers, and our teachers and administrators to excel in everything we encounter.
KIPP Courage College Prep is the 21st KIPP school in the Houston region. KIPP Houston Public Schools is committed to develop in underserved students the academic skills, intellectual habits, and qualities of character necessary to succeed at all levels of pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, college, and the competitive world beyond.
KIPP Courage College Prep is founded on the views of Theodore Roosevelt who stated, “Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. Courage, Hard Work, Self Mastery, and Intelligent Effort are all essential to a successful life. Character in the long run is the decisive factor in the life of an individual and of nations alike.”
Therefore, at KIPP Courage College Prep we learn the value of hard work by engaging in a rigorous curriculum in academics, arts, and athletics. We develop intelligent effort with inquiry and technology; creating a powerful understanding of ourselves and the world around us. We build self-mastery by collaborating with each other in relationship-focused small groups that value the uniqueness of eachindividual and his or her contribution to the community. As a result of this work, we enter high school with the courage that will carry us to and through college and life.
We believe that all people can grow and develop the character strengths necessary to demonstrate the school values. The values are aligned in the chart below with the visual icon that represents the value and the character strengths that also align with the value. In addition, the chart shows an example indicator of when a student may show that value.