By Richard Barth, Chief Executive Officer, KIPP Foundation
Today, the KIPP network serves nearly 60,000 students in 162 schools across the country. This year alone we opened 23 new schools. That’s more schools than we’ve ever opened in one year.
Each individual school that opens brings something unique and valuable to the communities it serves. I’d love to highlight three examples from this year that strike me for different reasons.
- A Unique District-Charter Partnership
In St. Louis, we’ve got a terrific example of what can be accomplished through district and charter leaders collaborating. We opened KIPP Victory Academy, an elementary school that is located in a school building that had been closed since 2008, allowing a space that was once a beloved community institution to come back to life. This co-location also greatly facilitates idea-sharing and professional development opportunities between KIPP and the St. Louis Public School System. With plans to open two new schools in the fall of 2015, KIPP Triumph Academy and KIPP Wisdom Academy, KIPP St. Louis will have doubled in size in just five years.
Additionally, Washington University in St. Louis is the sponsor of all KIPP schools in this region—the first charter school in the state to have that distinction. This unique partnership allows KIPP St. Louis schools to leverage the resources and support of this great university, as they work together to build the best possible future for St. Louis.
- KIPP Parent Opens and Leads a KIPP School Staffed by KIPP Alumni
In North Carolina, we opened KIPP Halifax College Preparatory, our first KIPP school founded by a KIPP parent, Principal Marlo Wilkins. KIPP Halifax, our fourth school in this rural region of Eastern North Carolina, is the first charter school in Halifax County, which is home to the lowest performing district in the state.
Principal Marlo Wilkins is the first KIPP parent to spend a year in the Fisher Fellowship and open a KIPP School. All four of her children—Chris, Evander, Niambi and Zephaniah either graduated from KIPP Pride High School in Gaston, N.C. or are currently attending. In addition, three of the founding teachers at KIPP Halifax are alums of KIPP Pride. Sylvia Powell (who graduated from Wake Forest University) teaches College 101; Monique Turner (who also graduated from Wake Forest University) provides instructional support; and Jarren Taylor (who graduated from Elizabeth City State University) teaches physical education.
- A New High School in Nashville
In every community with KIPP schools, we are working hard to make sure every KIPPster has access to a great education from kindergarten through 12th grade. The day we open our first KIPP high school in a community is an exciting day because our research confirms that the college completion outcomes in that community are going to increase.
Coming into this year, we had two middle schools in Nashville. This year we opened KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School, our first high school in the region. Jake Ramsey, the founding school leader, is proud that Collegiate is just five minutes down the road from the high school where he first began his teaching career. The team at Collegiate is committed to building the best high school possible for their students. Every day students and teachers live their values of Excellence, Heart, and Growth.
I couldn’t be more inspired and excited about the start of this school year, particularly about the 23 new schools that opened this fall. Congratulations to the students, families, teachers and leaders who have opened these schools – each one of which is a powerful story in its own right.
To see the full list of KIPP Schools, visit our KIPP School Directory >