Thank You for a Truly Magical Week in Orlando

By Richard Barth, Chief Executive Officer, KIPP Foundation

I know that for a good number of folks reading this today, the 2012-13 school year is now underway. More folks reading this have not yet started the year (though summer school has been completed) and are getting geared up. Here’s to all of you and making this the best year ever for our KIPPsters.

Today, before too much dust settled after KSS, I wanted to offer my thanks to all who made KIPP School Summit (KSS) such a special week. And it truly was a special week, with more than 3,000 members of our Team and Family gathered in Orlando and more than 250 professional development sessions designed to help better serve our students on their path to and through college.

A joyful moment during our Opening Ceremony. Click to view more pictures from KIPP School Summit.

Specifically, thank you to the incredible adults who made the incredible student performances possible. Your KIPPsters made KSS truly, truly special. And while we were inspired by our younger KIPPsters – whether they hail from Nashville or Austin, LA or NY, Massachusetts or Texas – we all know that behind those special performances are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours of practice. Practice led by big KIPPsters who care more than others think is wise, and work harder than others think is possible.

If you weren’t in attendance or want a reminder of what I’m talking about, watch these KIPP Empower Academy first graders perform in front of a crowd of 3,000:


The performances reminded us, and so powerfully, that a great education has to include great co-curricular opportunities. And that even in a time of very tough budgets, opportunities to grow and shine in addition to in reading and math and science and social studies are as important for kids growing up in the communities we serve as they are for wealthier children in America who are given every opportunity – and more – to find their passions and to come to understand that excellence comes with hard work.

And last, but far from least, a HUGE thank you to every single member of the Team and Family, as well as our partners and friends, who made the time to share their expertise, insight and experience with fellow members of the Team and Family. When a teammate needs help – we give. And to all of you who gave – thank you, thank you, thank you.

As the year gets going, in some places sooner than others, I just want to remind us all, one more time, that this whole thing we call KIPP started with just 47 fifth graders in a temporary classroom. And this whole network of schools, that has grown to 125 schools as of this summer, began just eleven years ago with the opening of three schools by our three founding Fisher Fellows.

When we think of all that has been accomplished by our KIPPsters – thanks to all of you who are reading this and those who came before us and made this possible – we can only be optimistic about what is to come. We can and will keep getting better, even as we reach more children. We will get better because of you – because of the incredible members of this Team and Family who are never satisfied with what we’ve done but are always looking to find ways to deliver on our promises to kids. Because promises to kids are sacred.

Thank you all, every single one of you, for all you do every day to make sure we leave this world better than we found it…and let’s make this the best year ever for our KIPPsters.