August 4, 2020
Dear KNOS Families,
We hope this message finds you healthy. As I am sure you have seen, the Orleans Parish School
Board announced that all New Orleans public schools will begin the school year virtually at least until
Labor Day. KIPP New Orleans Schools will begin the school year on August 10, 2020. For the full
OPSB announcement and press conference, please click here:
We know that you have made selections for virtual or in-person school for your students. However,
we will be asking for that information again as we get closer to opening school buildings to ensure
you are able to make informed decisions for your family based on the latest health information
Since April, our teams have been working hard on several reopening scenarios to ensure quality
learning. We know that virtual school was always an option; we have built several new systems to
provide for a virtual learning environment. Our team has researched best practices and new tools,
many of which we piloted during our virtual summer school. More importantly, we collected
information and feedback to ensure we create the best virtual school model for families and students.
After hearing from 700 families, we learned that:
1.) 82% of families prefer a learning environment where students are engaged in learning at the same
time and on a consistent schedule;
2.) 85% of families thought that supplying technology to each student would improve virtual learning.
We have taken into account this feedback and finalized a virtual school model that we believe will
work best for families and provide your students with a rich and rigorous education. See below for
three updates we have made to improve virtual learning for your students.
First, we have worked to make sure that access to technology and supplies will not be a barrier to
learning at home. All students will be able to checkout technology devices and we will send all
students home with a ‘distance learning kit’ full of supplies to aid learning at home. Finally, we have
aligned on a set of learning tools to minimize the number of programs that students need to interact
Second, we will adopt a virtual school schedule built on live instruction, with students following a
consistent schedule and teachers directly teaching content to students via Zoom.
Third, we will prioritize community and connectedness in our virtual schools. Students will have the
opportunity to build community with classmates through a homeroom/advisory structure. We will also
introduce a family app so that you will have better access to your student’s assignments and
Over the next few weeks, we will provide more information about specific school schedules. Prior to
that, please see the below updates regarding orientation and meals to ensure we can begin the
school year on the right foot.
While OPSB has mandated us to begin the school year virtually, families are still allowed to visit
schools for orientation as stipulated by the Governor’s phase 2 order. This order allows for facilities
and rooms to open at 50% capacity.
All KNOS schools will host an in-person orientation for families during the week of August 10, 2020.
The purpose of this orientation is to allow families to pick up computers for students, meet teachers
and practice with the learning tools that families will use for our virtual learning model. We will take all
necessary safety precautions and families will be assigned specific days and times to attend
orientation. For families in need of access to the internet for virtual learning, your school will provide
you with more information on the process for receiving hotspots.
MEALS FOR STUDENTS
We are committed to ensuring that all students receive meals during virtual learning. Meals will begin
the week of August 10, 2020.
Please know that while our work will look different this year, our mission will not change. We will
remain focused on providing academically excellent schools and creating unlimited opportunity for
We thank you for your patience and understanding as we toggle between in-person and virtual
learning this year. It is important that we are able to adhere to the guidelines and safety precautions
as dictated by the CDC, State officials and City leaders to keep everyone safe.
As mentioned before, one of our core beliefs is relentlessness – we find a way or we make one. This
time is no different. We will continue to lead and adapt to the ever-changing environment of COVID19. We’ve overcome challenges before and we will overcome this one.
Please be on the lookout for more detailed information about orientation schedules, locations &
schedules for student meals and daily school schedules for students.
Rhonda Kalifey Aluise
Chief Executive Officer
KIPP New Orleans Schools