Thank you Franklin McKinley School District for Renewing my Daughter’s School

A few years ago I was looking for schools for my daughters that would motivate and prepare them for the future. I found out very early that in my community, there were not many options for my family. But finally, I found out about Rocketship and how it has a curriculum that I liked for my daughters and then I found out about KIPP, that it had a similar curriculum and had high expectations for my girls. I made the decision that my daughters would start middle school at KIPP. KIPP has schools all over the country, and in California there are only 39 schools, that motivated me more to apply and enroll my daughters in KIPP. My girls are proud to be “Rising Leaders” at KIPP Heritage Academy in San Jose, CA.

Our first hearing, in our Franklin-McKinley district for the renovation of our school was in September 2018. I was one of the moms who gave our testimony about our experience with KIPP, and my daughters also shared their testimonies. They know that as students they can advocate for their own school and share how they feel safe.

Members of the Franklin-McKinley board had the opportunity to visit our school and clear any doubts and answer any questions about our school. Those questions and doubts were answered by the principal of our school and the KIPP team. I would like to thank the members of the Franklin-McKinley district who took their time to attend our school and clarified their concerns about KIPP Heritage.

It is very important that the board ensures that ALL schools are responsible for providing the best education possible for ALL Franklin McKinley children, including traditional schools and public charter schools. There was a question about the traffic near KIPP Heritage and the safety of the students. Of course, the safety of the students in each school is the most important thing, without security, it is not possible to provide an education of any quality.

In the end, all schools including traditional and charter schools in my city of San Jose have a lot of traffic in the mornings and departure times. This is not new news. Our principal has been in contact with neighboring schools to work collaboratively to ensure that all children are safe. Personally, I don’t think this is a reason why a board member can deny a school like KIPP Heritage. According to the requirements, they have to prove that we are keeping the academic level high in comparison to other schools around to renew a charter, which our school has complied with. Our students are making very good progress, and in the 2017-2018 school year alone, KIPP Heritage served approximately 74% of students in the Franklin McKinley School District.

Our final vote, where we would decide if the school would continue serving our students for another five years, was on October 23, 2018. As parents, we are concerned about where our children can move forward, choosing quality options for students, especially in this city that is so difficult to survive. It was 8:00 PM and the audience room was already full of parents, students, teachers and the KIPP team.

The petition was recommended for approval to the board so that KIPP could continue forward for another five years. Even so, member Rudy Rodriguez did not think that KIPP Heritage should remain open. Perhaps while visiting our school he wasn’t able to see how the students are progressing, how hard teachers work, and the leadership to maintain high performance.

In the final vote, the doubts were clarified and some other members continued asking more questions and KIPP was able to clarify and committed to continue improving and working with the district to serve our community. The school was renovated with the 4-1 vote of the board! Rudy Rodriguez was the only one who voted against the renovation of KIPP Heritage.

As parents and community, we will continue to support our school, students and teachers. Registration is now open for the next school year, KIPP will continue to serve more children in our communities for the next 5 years thanks to Thanh Tran, Omar Torres, Maimona Afzal Berta and George Sanchez.

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Eva Heredia

Eva Heredia

Eva is a parent leader at Rocketship Discovery Prep and at KIPP Heritage Academy in East Side San Jose. She currently lives in San Jose California with her two beautiful daughters and her husband. She was born in Mexico City in 1976 but also considers Oaxaca as her home because of her mother.

She began her leadership at Rocketship Discovery Prep over four years ago. She learned that there was so much more that she could do as a parent beyond volunteering in her children’s classroom. Eva became fully aware of the political involvement a parent must act on.

She has the experience and extensive knowledge about public officials, school board members, and school administrators who play an important role in public education in East Side San Jose. She supported the opening of Kipp Navigate at a State level, by advocating for quality schools alongside other parents in 2018. She then became a founding parent at Kipp Navigate. Besides being a champion for high-quality education and choice, she also helped build the Wooster Neighborhood Association in her community. She is the voice for her children, students, and her community. She is a huge supporter of parent engagement, choice, and access to higher education. In addition, Eva also attended an Adult High School and graduated from Independence High School in 2019.

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