May it Always Feel this Sunny in Philadelphia Schools

By Marc Mannella, Chief Executive Officer, KIPP Philadelphia 

This week, hundreds of thousands of students throughout Pennsylvania are sharpening their number 2 pencils, eating a bigger (and hopefully healthy) breakfast, and getting an extra hour of sleep in order to get ready for the big state test. This part of the year is always exhausting, stressful, and downright challenging because of the high expectations we have for ourselves and for our students.

But this year I’m feeling a little different. I’m feeling relaxed and confident that our KIPPsters can overcome any obstacle they face. Maybe it’s the uncharacteristically warm and sunny weather here in Philadelphia, or the fact that my sweet 16 picks are looking good…or maybe it’s the fact that I just finished watching the final cut of the video from our Ribbon Cutting ceremony on January 24, 2012.

That cool January day, 200 parents packed in to our auditorium to celebrate the opening of our brand new facility in North Philadelphia that houses KIPP’s first elementary school in Philadelphia. So today I’m not thinking about our test scores – I’m thinking about how grateful I am for the support of an expansive Team and Family that cares as much about our students as I do.

Yes, a great school needs talented teachers, supportive parents, and hard-working students, but a great school thrives with folks like Bobby Turner from Canyon-Agassi who uses his business acumen to raise capital to support charters in acquiring world-class facilities; like City of Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter who uses his bully pulpit to urge citizens to care deeply about the need to increase the city’s graduation rate; like Andre Agassi who uses his celebrity to raise awareness about how high-performing charter schools are proving the possible for children every day; and folks like William Mills from Citibank who helps leverage his company’s resources to be a force for good in the community.

To our KIPPsters taking the state test, I wish you “good skill.” (Because at KIPP, we know it takes skill, not luck to succeed.) And to all supporters across our network who are helping our students climb the mountain to college, I say “thank you!”

Now, if you haven’t already, go ahead and join me in feeling equal parts grateful and refreshed by watching the above video.

To learn more about supporting KIPP schools, click here. >