Picture of KIPP Interns on Capitol Hill

9 Highlights from 2017

In gratitude for the KIPP Team and Family’s commitment to educational excellence, KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth shares a few highlights from 2017.

By Richard Barth, KIPP Foundation CEO

Happy New Year! Now that 2017 is in the history books, I want to say thank you to all the KIPPsters—big and small—who helped us accomplish so much. I don’t have space to share every milestone from our KIPP Team and Family, but we are so incredibly proud of your steadfast commitment to educational excellence.

Here are just a few highlights from around our network:

1. We opened our 209th school and now educate nearly 90,000 KIPPsters in our schools every day.

KIPP Valiant's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
KIPP Valiant Community Prep (to serve TK-8) opened this year in the Bay Area

We remain focused on expanding the number of elementary, middle, and high schools in our communities (including pre-K when possible). We have over 60,000 families on waitlists, urging us to expand in big cities like Atlanta, GA and smaller ones like Lynn, MA.

2017 was also special because we were able to announce our partnership with Miami Dade County Public Schools! Thanks to the support of the MDCPS board and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, we will be opening our first school in Miami this summer.

2. There are more than 11,000 KIPP alumni in college and 2,000 college grads.

Shalonda, a KIPP DC alumna, graduated from North Carolina Central University in 2017
Shalonda, a KIPP DC alumna, graduated from North Carolina Central University in 2017

There are now 100 colleges or universities in the country with 25 or more KIPP alumni on campus. That includes the University of Pennsylvania, where more than 50 KIPP alumni now go to school. A special shout out to HBCUs this year – there are 20 or more KIPP alumni enrolled at Dillard University, Howard University, Morehouse and Spelman Colleges, Clark Atlanta University, Xavier University of New Orleans, Tuskegee University, North Carolina A&T, and more. We are also proud to see so many KIPP alumni at outstanding public universities, with the University of Arkansas, the University of Texas, Texas A&M, the University of North Carolina, LSU, and UCLA each enrolling 20 or more KIPP alumni. Check out all the colleges with 10 or more KIPP alumni enrolled.

More than ever, we’re seeing more and more KIPPsters applying to colleges strategically. With the help of their counselors, 70 percent of the Class of 2017 applied to 6 or more schools that fit their college match criteria. Students who attend a strong match school are more likely to graduate within 4 to 6 years.

3. Dreamers stood up, and we stood with them.

KIPPsters advocating for DACA on Capitol Hill
Dreamers, KIPP Co-Founders, and former U.S. Secretaries of Education advocating for Dreamers on Capitol Hill

In the US, hundreds of thousands of young people known as Dreamers are in legal limbo. Brought to the US as children, these young people—including KIPP students, teachers, and staff—received protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. President Trump repealed DACA in 2017; now it is up to Congress to pass legislation allowing Dreamers to study and work in the only country they’ve ever called home.

The KIPP Team and Family advocated alongside our Dreamers all year via social media, public speaking engagements, and news media coverage. To spread the word, we teamed up with former U.S. Secretaries of Education Rod Paige (Bush Administration) and John King (Obama Administration), as well as college presidents, business leaders, education leaders, and advocates. We capped off our efforts with an advocacy day on Capitol Hill, where Dreamers and KIPP board members spoke out together. In 2018, we are doubling down on our commitment to Dreamers, pushing for a solution that will let them live proudly and openly in the US. If you would still like to join us in this effort, please email me at rbarth@kipp.org. Read about KIPP Dreamers’ experiences in their own words.

4. Nearly 100 colleges and universities partnered with KIPP.

Watch video of College Partners Convening panel
KIPP alum Victoria Meeks speaks about mental health awareness at KIPP’s College Partners Convening

We now have 92 college partners, including our two newest—Bowdoin College and Florida State College at Jacksonville. One in four KIPP alumni in college are at a KIPP partner institution, and 30 percent of the KIPP class of 2017 enrolled at a KIPP college partner this past fall. Check out our full list of college partners.

In July 2017, we held our second College Partners Convening. Taking place during the annual KIPP School Summit (KSS), this convening brought together 100 leaders from colleges and nonprofit organizations across the country. Inspired by speakers including Dr. Walter Kimbrough from Dillard University and Dr. Tim Renick from Georgia State University, participants reaffirmed their commitment to addressing the systemic challenges facing first-generation college students and those from underrepresented backgrounds. Watch the presentations from the 2017 KIPP College Partners Convening.

5. We worked hand in hand with school districts across the country to expand opportunity for all.

KIPP Delta Public Schools
KIPP Delta partnering with district schools

2017 found KIPP regions across the country partnering with local districts to share KIPP Through College resources and training. We are convinced that much of what we have learned can be implemented in public school systems of all kinds.

In 2017, KIPP San Antonio and the San Antonio Independent School District received a grant from Valero to dramatically expand their Pipeline for College Success partnership over the next five years. KIPP Delta joined forces with two local high schools to create the Delta College Attainment Network. And KIPP NYC and the New York City Department of Education piloted a College Match summer program for district seniors, with plans to expand the program in 2018. Learn more about KIPP Through College.

6. KIPP alumni went to the next level in college and careers.

KIPP DC alum Nathan Woods returns to teach at KIPP DC
Nathan Woods, a KIPP DC alumnus, returns to teach at KIPP DC

A few highlights:

  • KIPP DC alum Nathan Woods, who taught with Teach For America, returned to KIPP DC as a staff member. He is one of nearly 200 KIPP alumni teaching and working at KIPP this school year.
  • KIPP San Antonio alum Jaciel Castro was named student regent for the University of Texas Board of Regents—the first-ever student of UT San Antonio to hold this position!
  • KIPP NYC alum Jerelyn Rodriguez, who founded Knowledge House, wrote about the importance of investing in Black female entrepreneurs for Forbes.
  • Bianca Hand, from KIPP Baltimore, spoke to the Baltimore Sun about her career aspirations as a museum curator.
  • Originally from Houston, KIPP alum and Penn junior Pamela Fuentes founded Penn for Immigrant Rights to support Dreamers like her on campus.
  • Kei-Sygh Thomas, a KIPP NJ alum, became an editorial fellow at The 74. She penned this essay about how winning the KIPP enrollment lottery changed her life.
  • KIPP Baltimore alum Nancy and KIPP Austin alum Adriana spoke out on Capitol Hill about their experiences as Dreamers, and why Congress must pass legislation to resolve DACA.

7. Our KIPPsters made their mark outside the classroom.

KIPP Austin Collegiate Steel Drum Band
KIPP Austin Collegiate Steel Drum Band

Just a few examples:

  • The KIPP Austin Collegiate steel drum band was all over town – they performed at an Austin Spurs game, as well as at the Texas Book Festival in the State Capitol (see above).
  • KIPP NYC had a special year—for the first time in history, every fall team made the playoffs. The women’s soccer team went undefeated, and the football team went 12-4 before losing in the NYC semi-finals to the number 1-seeded school. To top it off, the KIPP NYC College Prep cheerleading team won the Northeast Regionals, becoming the first charter school team in New York City to qualify for the National Championship.
  • In New Orleans, the KIPP Renaissance High School football team made it to the playoffs for the first time, a signature moment in the life of a high school.
  • In Los Angeles, KIPP Scholar Academy student Bunchie Young was named SportsKid of the Year by Sports Illustrated.
  • The KIPP Nashville cross-country team made it to the Tennessee state championship.
  • The KIPP Memphis Academy boys track team placed first in the state of Tennessee in the 100-meter relay.
  • The KIPP San Francisco College Prep marching band performed at community events throughout the year, including the San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade.
  • After winning the Massachusetts championship, KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate seniors Michelle Garcia and Temitope Sholola took second place out of 50 at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Championship.
  • Students from KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy and KIPP Montbello College Prep in Denver made it to the state championships in the National History Day competition.

8. KIPP educators got some well-deserved recognition.

Maria Morfin of KIPP LA receives the Fishman Prize
Maria Morfin (KIPP LA), a recipient of the Fishman Prize. Photo: Aurelia Ventura / IMPREMEDIA/LA OPINIÓN

For example:

  • Three out of four winners of the 2017 Fishman Prize are KIPP teachers. Joshua Martinez and Maria Morfin from KIPP LA, and Brett Noble from KIPP ENC, were all recognized for classroom excellence.
  • Karla Arevalo, a KIPP Through College counselor at KIPP Colorado, received the Outstanding Colorado Educator Award.
  • Tiffany Moore, founding school leader of KIPP Scholar Academy in LA, was named Azusa Pacific University Distinguished Alumna of the Year.
  • Carol Mendez, a 6th grade math teacher at KIPP St. Louis, won the Missouri Charter School Association’s 2017 Charter Teacher of the Year.
  • At KIPP School Summit 2017, we honored 10 KIPP teachers with the Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award, and six longtime KIPP leaders with the Founders’ KIPP Six Award. Tevera Stith, KIPP DC’s director of KIPP Through College, won our KTC Excellence in Leadership Award. View all award winners.

9. We kept investing in programs to help our alumni go further, faster.

Picture of KIPP Interns on Capitol Hill
2017 KIPP Capitol Hill Interns

2017 brought an exciting new opportunity for KIPP alumni in college. In collaboration with the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Foundation, we announced the launch of the Dave Goldberg Scholarship Program. Through this program, 15 KIPP alumni per year will receive a stipend to cover non-tuition-related college expenses, as well as mentoring support and access to a broad professional network.

Our existing career development programs also grew this year. We announced the second cohort of our KIPP Alumni Leadership Accelerator, a year-long fellowship for early-career KIPP alumni. And the KIPP Capitol Hill Internship Program entered its fourth year; eight KIPP alumni interned in congressional offices in summer 2017, and we ended the year by announcing the 2018 cohort of interns.


Looking forward to building a better world in 2018,