In the U.S., only 11% of students from low-income communities graduate from college. All students deserve access to a high-quality education so they can succeed in college and the world beyond. At KIPP, we want to be part of the larger education solution, helping schools and districts provide students with transformative opportunities. We’re inspired to collaborate with cities across the country, such as those highlighted here.
Few cities rival Houston’s school choice options. The city is home to both KIPP and YES Prep Public Schools, which will run a combined 30 schools by summer 2012—up from three schools a decade earlier. More students across Houston can now choose to attend schools that are committed to providing them a pathway to and through college.
The Houston Independent School District launched the Apollo 20 program in 2011 to help improve 20 Houston public schools. Apollo 20 represents a major effort to adopt many of the core principles found at KIPP schools and other high-performing schools, including a longer school day and year, a focus on student results, empowered school leaders, and high expectations for every student. While the effort is still in the early stages, results so far are promising.
While Apollo 20 was underway, KIPP Houston, YES Prep, and Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD) launched the unique SKY Partnership, one of several district-charter compacts promoted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help more low-income students graduate college. The union between a traditional public school and two highperforming charter school networks will combine the technology and extracurricular resources of SBISD with the college-prep curriculum and leadership and teacher development tools of the two charter school networks.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, 62 percent of public schools in New Orleans were deemed failing, with little chance of preparing children to compete in the 21st century economy. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the local school system was rebuilt from scratch through the innovative work of the Recovery School District, which created the conditions for many high-quality school operators to thrive.
KIPP was one of the first national organizations to come back to the city; by July 2012, KIPP New Orleans will have opened 10 schools. KIPP New Orleans not only created a large network in a short time, but the performance of our schools has improved as we have grown: KIPP Believe College Prep and KIPP Central City Academy are the two highest-performing open-enrollment middle schools in the city. In 2011, KIPP Central City Academy showed the highest growth of any school in the entire state.
Thanks to the presence of many high-quality school operators, the achievement gap between students in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana has been halved. That means New Orleans children are more likely to wake up and go to a school that prepares them to compete and succeed in life. The KIPP New Orleans team continues to share all it is learning with other school leaders so that the odds for children continue to improve.
For more than two decades, Chicago leaders have been working to improve educational opportunities for children. While a 2011 report by the University of Chicago’s Consortium on Chicago School Research highlighted significantly improved high school graduation rates, the report also found that the vast majority of public school students there are not achieving at levels necessary to prepare them for college.
Now, a new mayor and superintendent are taking dramatic steps to improve education, recognizing that children need more hours in the school day to make needed achievement gains. Civic leaders are joining the mayor to explore how to dramatically accelerate the opening of great new schools, particularly in high-need neighborhoods.
Chicago is home to two KIPP charter schools, with a third KIPP school scheduled to open in 2012, and we are eager to respond to the city’s call to significantly expand our presence in the next five years. Additionally, KIPP proudly welcomes Chicago Public Schools leadership into our KIPP Leadership Design Fellowship, through which we will share our key insights about developing outstanding school leaders.
Spurred by legislative and policy changes that were initiated under the federal Race to the Top initiative, Tennessee is becoming a model state for education reform. Since 2009, Tennessee has significantly raised academic standards for public schools, modified its state charter law, and brought in reformminded leaders to the State Department of Education who will promote the growth and expansion of high-quality charter schools.
KIPP Memphis and KIPP Nashville schools have been proving the potential for academic excellence in their communities and are focused on opening more schools and serving more students in the coming years. KIPP Memphis will open its third and fourth schools in the summer of 2012, and has established the political, community, and philanthropic support to grow up to 10 schools with the capacity to serve up to 4,600 students (nearly five percent of all Memphis city public school students). KIPP Nashville is similarly positioned to expand significantly and will open its second school in summer 2013. Over the next three years,
KIPP Nashville plans to open three additional schools with capacity to serve up to 1,800 students. Both KIPP Nashville and KIPP Memphis will be part of a growing number of high-quality charter schools that will be helping to reshape the landscape of public education in Tennessee.
There may be no city better positioned to dramatically transform the future for its children than Boston. In 2011, Boston doubled the number of charter seats available for proven education organizations. As a result, high-performing school networks will open no fewer than 15 schools, which will serve more than 15 percent of the total student population, in the next five years. These schools, coupled with Boston Public Schools’ commitment to pilot excellent new schools, represent a major opportunity to transform a city’s educational landscape within a decade.
KIPP plans to build on the success of its first two New England schools, KIPP Academy Lynn and KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate, by opening a KIPP school in Boston in summer 2012.
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