Celebrating a New School Year and 16 New Schools

By Richard Barth, Chief Executive Officer, KIPP Foundation

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend – it was absolutely beautiful here in New York, as nice a weekend as you will ever find. From a personal standpoint, that meant soccer, soccer and… soccer. And then a little more soccer.

With the opening of the school year just settling in, I wanted to step back this morning and take a moment to recognize the opening of our new schools.

As I have shared many times before, we are in the midst of a five-year plan (this being year two) in which we want to more than double the number of KIPPsters we served in the 2010-11 school year, grow by tenfold the number of KIPPsters in college we served that same year (we are in the midst of our fall college data collection drive, and I look forward to sharing out this year’s story in the months ahead) and by reaching these goals serve as a catalytic force in the communities we serve while collectively building a national network of schools that is leading the way on college completion.

Inspiring. And a lot of hard work. So we celebrate the victories and special moments along the way. A little bit later in the year I will be reporting out in detail who we are serving in the 2012-13 school year to recognize the continued growth in the absolute number of KIPPsters we serve. Today, I just want to recognize the special moments that we all make possible when we create a brand new KIPP School.

As you see below, we opened seven elementary and nine middle schools over the past few weeks:

School Region Type
KIPP Gaston College
Preparatory Primary
KIPP Gaston Elementary
KIPP Memphis Collegiate
Elementary School
KIPP Memphis
Collegiate Schools
KIPP STRIVE Primary KIPP Metro Atlanta Elementary
KIPP Un Mundo
Dual Language Academy
KIPP San Antonio Elementary
KIPP VOICE Elementary School KIPP Jacksonville Schools Elementary
THRIVE Academy KIPP Newark Elementary
KIPP DC Lead Academy KIPP DC Elementary
KIPP Academy Boston KIPP Massachusetts Middle
KIPP Austin Beacon Prep KIPP Austin Public Schools Middle
KIPP Austin Vista Middle School KIPP Austin Public Schools Middle
KIPP Courage College Prep KIPP Houston Middle
KIPP Create College Prep
Middle School
KIPP Chicago Middle
KIPP Memphis
Academy Middle
KIPP Memphis
Collegiate Schools
KIPP Philosophers Academy KIPP LA Schools Middle
KIPP Scholar Academy KIPP LA Schools Middle
KIPP Washington Heights KIPP NYC Middle

As powerful as the list above is, and it is, there are so many moving stories behind each of these openings. In four communities we are opening our first elementary school, honoring our commitment to start earlier with our KIPPsters and stay with them longer.

In Boston, we are opening our first school in that amazing city, thanks to the lifting of the charter cap that prevented us from being able to serve children for so many years there. And with that, under Caleb Dolan’s leadership and with a great team surrounding him, we are now creating a region that serves not just one, but two communities in need.

The story in Gaston is a special one:  from a peanut field a decade ago, Tammi Sutton and her team are now creating a fully developed network that will enable children to be with us from kindergarten through the end of high school. Here is a picture of some of our newest KIPPsters in Gaston on the first day at their brand new school:

In Chicago, we opened KIPP CREATE, our second middle school in the city, in the Austin neighborhood. Like every KIPP school, the mission of KIPP Create is  empower each student with the knowledge, skills and mindsets necessary to create his or her path to and through college and to create a better world. When it comes to the ‘how’ however, KIPP Create is pursuing this mission by implementing a blended learning school model where great teachers effectively integrate technology to provide all students with a personalized learning experience. Here’s a picture of a KIPPster at KIPP Create, where they will be doing their ribbon cutting this coming week:

So many powerful stories on so many fronts. Common to them all is that hundreds of families have entrusted their children – our KIPPsters – to us. And we have made promises to each and every one of them. As I have shared over the past year, in my travels I often leave community leaders with two fundamental questions to consider:

How many children in your community wake up in the morning and head off to a school that is preparing them for a life with options?

And… is that number greater than it was last year?

This morning, as we recognize the opening of 16 new schools, is a chance for us to recognize our role in answering that question. With each new school we open, and as we are joined by others who are doing the same – we are helping make sure the answer to that question is, absolutely….yes.

Let’s make it a great day for our KIPPsters, everyone.



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