SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On March 9, over 500 teachers gathered at the Hilton Chicago for VIPKid’s fourth regional Journey conference. VIPKid Founder and CEO Cindy Mi and City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel expressed their commitment to education and teachers in their keynote speeches. Additionally, acclaimed Chicago-based comedy troupe The Second City performed and led interactive exercises on improvisation.
The palpable passion and energy at Journey Chicago radiated throughout the gathering. Teachers traveled from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Some even traveled from as far as Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and California to participate in the highly-anticipated Journey regional teacher conference.
With over 2,000 teachers on the VIPKid platform in Illinois, VIPKid is deeply committed to online education in the region. In December 2018, VIPKid announced a partnership with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to bring Mandarin learning to Chicago Public Schools for free through its Lingo Bus platform. Since the announcement, dozens of schools in Chicago have signed onto the program which will begin fall 2019.
Speaking to VIPKid teachers on Saturday, Mayor Emanuel said, “Thanks to VIPKid, this program will give our young people the tools and technology necessary to learn a new language. Lingo Bus brings learning to the fingertips of Chicago students; giving them the opportunity not only to learn a new language, but to open even more doors of opportunity in this increasingly global world.”
Cindy Mi spoke about the power of VIPKid in teachers’ lives, as well as the positive impact that the teachers can have on their communities. “What unifies us is our mission of inspiring and empowering every child for the future. We hope Journey will help you maximize your VIPKid experience as you become a better teacher and citizen of the world.”
In addition, Mi spoke about VIPKid’s commitment to expanding access and equity in education through VIPTeach, a new nonprofit organization with seed funding from VIPKid. “Our mission at VIPTeach is to break down the socio-economic and geographical barriers that prevent many kids from accessing quality education, and to empower educators with the training and the tools they need to teach in this new world of technology,” Mi said. “As part of VIPTeach, we will have a relief fund for educational communities impacted by natural disasters which will help teachers get back on their feet when their homes are destroyed. We will also have an innovation fund that invests in new ideas and solutions brought to us by the teaching community.” To find out more about VIPTeach, visit here: www.vipteach.org
After Journey concluded, teacher Kenneisha L. Williams wrote: “Now that I’ve experienced my first Journey, in my hometown, the city that birthed and raised me...wow! The passion, the energy, the drive to make a positive cultural change! My mind is still racing from such a rejuvenating, soul reaching, fun, compassionate event.”
VIPKid is a global education technology company that connects children with the world’s best teachers for real-time online English immersion learning. VIPKid’s mission is to inspire and empower every child for the future. VIPKid envisions a global classroom that empowers students and teachers through personalized learning, connects cultures across the world and ignites a passion for lifelong learning. It believes that education is not one-size-fits-all, rather, all students are unique and the world is within their reach when connected with great teachers capable of personalizing learning and sparking curiosity.
Founded in 2013 and formally launched in 2014, VIPKid has become China’s market-leading online education startup, attracting investment from Tencent, Coatue Management, Sequoia Capital, Sinovation Ventures, Yunfeng Capital, Matrix Partners, Learn Capital, Northern Light VC and Bryant Stibel, among others. The VIPKid platform currently connects over 500,000 paying students with over 60,000 teachers in the US and Canada.