A Truly Extraordinary Week in Nashville

Wow. What a truly extraordinary KIPP School Summit. From top to bottom, from start to finish. If you haven’t seen the Gala video yet, I recommend taking four minutes to watch it now.

The opening ceremonies were as moving as any I have ever attended. Our KIPPsters from the Delta showed us that our cities have nothing on our small towns, and the KIPP Lynn Step Team sent us all off with more energy than we knew we had. Roll Call was special, with KIPP NYC fudging the rules, KIPP Memphis raising the volume, and everything in between.

The Gaylord Opryland Hotel was buzzing from Monday night to Thursday night, even as 2,200 of us were trying to figure out how to find each other. Teachers were in content session after content session, our school leaders were sharing with each other, as were members of our regional teams. On Wednesday night, we were joined by 75 members of our local boards and more than 150 investors, partners, and friends from across the country.

KIPP Delta Choir Performance
View our KSS Facebook album.

KIPPster performances were happening every day. Beyond just the opening, we were so lucky to have the KIPP Houston Elite Dance Troupe, KIPP Nashville Choir, KIPP Philly Extraordinaires Jazz Band, and KIPP Sharpstown Orchestra perform throughout the week.

And then… magic. Two thousand of us changed out of our t-shirts and shorts, discarded our flip flops and sneakers, and dressed up for the annual KSS Gala. And what a night it was. The energy was electric, and as we always do, we honored very special members of the KIPP Team and Family.

We honored Pitt and Barbara Hyde with our annual Giving Tree Award, thanking them for their incredible support of KIPP Memphis, and for their relentless state-wide reform efforts. We honored KIPP Baltimore with the Beyond Z award, for their relentlessness in doing whatever it takes for their survival. We also honored our 2011 Doris Fisher KIPPster of the Year winners and our Harriet Ball Teacher of the Year winners. Read more by clicking on the links below.

2011 Doris Fisher KIPPster of the Year Award Winners

  • Briana, KIPP Truth Academy (Dallas)
  • Victor, KIPP Sharpstown (Houston)
  • Vive,  KIPP LA College Prep (Los Angeles)
  • Joseph, KIPP Academy Nashville
  • Jonathan, KIPP South Fulton Academy (Atlanta)
  • Samaiyah, KIPP Infinity (New York)

2011 Harriett Ball Excellence in Teaching Award Winners

  • Maureen Chandler, KIPP DC: LEAP Academy  (Washington)
  • Kathy Raber, KIPP Reach College Prep  (Oklahoma City)
  • Joanne Hill, KIPP STAR (New York)
  • Andrew Allen, KIPP Gaston College Prep (Gaston, NC)
  • Quinn Terry, KIPP Sunshine Peak  (Denver)
  • Alexandra Nagle, TEAM Academy Middle  (Newark)
  • Loretta McBride, KIPP San Francisco Bay (Bay Area)
  • David Guyer, KIPP LA Prep (Los Angeles)
  • Brian Priehs, KIPP DC: WILL Academy (Washington)
  • Katie Kirkpatrick, KIPP KING Collegiate (Bay Area)
  • Kate Johnson, KIPP DC: KEY Academy (Washington)

As always, the KIPP Academy String and Rhythm Orchestra kept us all going from beginning to end. Truly, truly extraordinary. Here’s to a phenomenal 2011-12 school year. Let’s make it the best one ever for our KIPPsters.

-Richard Barth