By Richard Barth, Chief Executive Officer, KIPP Foundation
Continuing an annual tradition, I’d like to share a few highlights from this past year and share my gratitude to all who make this possible.
#1 – We opened our 162nd school, and now serve nearly 60,000 KIPPsters in 20 states and the District of Columbia.
We serve nearly 10 times as many students today as we did 10 years ago. What is most exciting about that is our continued progress in expanding from our middle school roots into full K-12 systems of schools that allow for KIPPsters to start with us earlier and stay with us longer. Eight KIPP regions have now built out complete K-12 systems of schools. We now have 60 elementary schools, 80 middle schools and 22 high schools. Nearly two-thirds of our middle schools are now served by a KIPP elementary school, and nearly two-thirds of our middle schools feed into to a KIPP high school.
#2 – There are more KIPPsters in college today than were in the entire KIPP network 10 years ago.
This year, 6,000 KIPPsters are attending college. The year before I arrived at KIPP, there were roughly 6,000 KIPPsters in total – across all KIPP schools – and just a handful were in college. By 2020, there will be 40,000 college-age or older KIPP alumni.
#3 – We now have 65 college partners.
One out of every 5 KIPP alumni in college is now enrolled at an official college partner, up from 1 in 8 just one year ago. Our growing number of college partners means there are more schools committed to building programs to support first-generation students all the way through graduation day. And, consider how this changes our students’ college experience: we now have groups of KIPPsters going off to colleges together – arriving on campus and forming support systems for each other. So that means that the 82 KIPPsters at San Jose State University, the 34 at the University of Texas at Austin, the 28 KIPPsters at Dillard University in New Orleans, the 25 KIPPsters at University of Arkansas, the 21 at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the 16 at Spelman College, and the 29 KIPPsters at the University of Pennsylvania can support each other on the climb to and through.
#4 – Partnerships with districts help us extend our impact beyond KIPP schools.
While stories of conflict sell newspapers, partnerships that change lives often go unnoticed. Every day, children in the communities where we work benefit from them. I will share two with you today.
Through a partnership with St. Louis Public Schools, we were invited to open KIPP Victory, a new KIPP elementary school, in the building formerly occupied by Mitchell Elementary School, a site that had been closed since 2008. Now a space that was a beloved community institution in the West End neighborhood of St. Louis has come back to life. And, importantly, KIPP Victory’s results will be counted as part of the St. Louis Public Schools system, reflecting that KIPP Victory is a public school serving public school students, and one of the options St. Louis Public Schools offers families in their city.
In 2002, we opened our first KIPP school in the Arkansas Delta, dedicated to serving students in rural Arkansas with a rigorous college prep education. With the learnings of feedback from alumni who have gone off to college, KIPP Delta’s KIPP Through College (KTC) program has gotten continuously better at supporting students as they go to and through college. Our team knows how to help students develop initial college wish lists, prepare for the ACT, complete financial aid forms, and compare and choose between offers of admission. This fall, our KTC team in the Delta was determined to put their knowledge to work to benefit more children.
They applied for and won grant a from the Walton Family Foundation to support a new partnership with the Lee County School District and Helena/West Helena School District. Now, thanks to this partnership, KIPP Delta has hired college counselors to provide guidance to juniors and seniors at Central High School in Helena and Marianna High School in Lee County.
#5 – After being at this for 20 years, an entire generation, Jim Collins congratulated us on ‘a nice start.’
With an intimate crowd of over 12,000… we celebrated our 20th anniversary at KIPP School Summit in Houston, where it all began. At our anniversary celebration, we honored ten outstanding educators with the Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award. The high point of the evening was when the very first class of KIPPsters from both Houston and New York took the stage. Many of them are now parents, building a better tomorrow for their own children.
During our anniversary week, Jim Collins spoke to us and closed his talk by saying we are off ‘to a nice start.’ We agree with him. We are so proud of what our oldest KIPPsters and their families have accomplished. And at the same time, we believe we are just getting going. And we know we can get much better even as we get much bigger.
And so I would like to close out this year with a huge thank you. To our national board of directors, for their remarkable commitment to our work, thank you. To our philanthropic partners and community supporters, who fuel both our expansion and innovation, thank you. To the families, who have entrusted us with the education of their children, thank you. To our support staff, in our schools, regions and at the KIPP Foundation, thank you. To our school leaders, who make this all happen every day, thank you. To our teachers, who have more of an impact on the lives of children than anyone other than their families – hands down – thank you. And finally, to our 72,000 KIPPsters – 59,000 of whom are with us in our schools every day and 13,000 who are now alums, thank you.
Here’s to making 2015 our best year ever: