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At KIPP Academy Charter School in the Bronx, where 100 percent of students are from minority backgrounds, the KIPP ethos of college prep, including qualities like grit and persistence, helps students transcend challenging environmental factors that may hold back their peers in less rigorous schools. >
Imagine reading the local news to learn how schools in your community stack up against each other. But instead of finding this year’s state test exam results, you could see how many students from each school have graduated from a post-secondary school with a college degree or job skill certificate. This vision for a different measurement of student learning comes from my experience with KIPP, the national network of 183 high performing public charter schools that I co-founded with Dave Levin in 1994. After more than 20 years of work in public K-12 education, I have learned three reasons why I think college and career readiness and program completion are better metrics of our kids’ future success than traditional test scores. >
"At KIPP it's really important to us that we're teaching our kids about character and building their character," explained Frank Cush, KIPP Explore Academy's founder and principal. "With this program, the students are learning about what are the things that they should be doing. Not necessarily in the situation where they face a bully, but it's about being more proactive, learning how to be good citizens. We're also encouraging our students to know more about themselves and what makes them unique." >
Through my experience leading KIPP, a network of 183 public schools serving largely educationally underserved students, I’ve come to believe leaders in higher education have never been more interested in charting a new course. And it’s clear that when colleges make a priority of sending a message of opportunity, students respond and thrive. Just ask the 41 KIPP alumni who attend the University of Pennsylvania, or the 19 at UNC Chapel Hill, or the 10 at Wesleyan University, or the 34 at Franklin and Marshall, or the 15 at UC Berkeley. If this is possible for students at one network of schools, think what is possible for this nation. >
U.S. News says Colorado's top 10 high schools overall (including charter, magnet and public) are: 1. Peak to Peak Charter School, Lafayette, Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). 2. KIPP Denver Collegiate High School, Denver, Denver Public Schools (DPS). >
LASA, a magnet school, ranked No. 7 in Texas and No. 43 nationally on the list, which came out Tuesday. KIPP Austin Collegiate, a public charter school, came in second in the Austin area and was No. 10 in the state. >
In New York State, the High School of American Studies at Lehman College in the Bronx ranked first and Kipp Academy Charter School, also in the Bronx, ranked second. >
[Shareki Chaney, Rales Center, KIPP Baltimore]: …"There are many ways we are making it happen at KIPP. We’re engaging the parents at their level—whatever they may need, whenever they may need it. We’re making them feel comfortable now that the health center is there.” >
KIPP has been a beacon of success and hope during its 14 years in operation. McDaniel and its supporters note that it’s an A-plus school according to the state’s A-F report card, with 99 percent of KIPP students scoring “proficient” or “advanced.” Most of the nearby elementary and middle schools received D’s and F’s. >
Here’s how it all started. A decade ago, in my final year of graduate school, I met two educators, Dave Levin, of the KIPP charter school network, and Dominic Randolph, of Riverdale Country School. Though they served students at opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, both understood the importance of character development. They came to me because they wanted to provide feedback to kids on character strengths. Feedback is fundamental, they reasoned, because it’s hard to improve what you can’t measure. >
The Economic Development and Industrial Corp. is reviewing plans to renovate the J.B. Blood building even as the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) Charter School adds classrooms in the Wheeler Street building. KIPP houses 121 kindergarten students and offices in the Blood building and plans to add a first grade, pushing its enrollment to 240 students in September. “We’ll be on two floors and adding to that,” said Caleb Dolan, KIPP’s Massachusetts executive director. “We love being in the heart of the city.” >
Nine of the 10 recognized schools were charter schools, with the lone traditional district school being Solano Avenue Elementary near Chinatown. KIPP Raices, a charter school in East Los Angeles, was named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon Schools winner. “We are honored to have three schools recognized among the top 10 in Los Angeles for opening doors of opportunity for underserved students and helping to close the achievement gap here in LA,” Angella Martinez, chief academic officer of KIPP LA schools, said in a statement. “While there is so much more work to be done, we are proud of our school teachers and leaders that are proving what is possible in public education.” >
KIPP Academy has found success across the country and now they're taking on a huge challenge in Camden, New Jersey -- a city known by many for its high crime and poverty. Can they succeed here? And will better education help put a dent in crime rates as advocates hope? >
Recent research shows that students make substantial academic progress when they attend a KIPP school instead of the district school to which they would have otherwise been assigned. The results from KIPP and other charters provide strong evidence that disadvantaged students can indeed learn if they are provided with high quality schooling. >
Among the larger charter networks — those with four or more schools — the Icahn, Kipp and Uncommon charter school networks had the lowest attrition rates in elementary school grades when compared to traditional schools in the same school district for the 2013-14 school year. This is a trend we spotted with Icahn and Kipp in our last analysis of the 2010-11 school year. >
As teachers do when creating daily lesson plans, I start to think from my students' perspective. I am engulfed by a tidal wave of fear. My fury grows. The realities of my white privilege violently collide with the social consequences of growing up in a poor, inner-city neighborhood. It felt as if the police stopped us with the intent to intimidate. While my interaction with police has always been positive and safe, it was not so for my students. Some as young as sixth grade have been harassed by police. How would I cope and grapple with this reality every time I walk outside? How do they? I can only imagine the persistent anxiety of mothers of black boys across this country. >
Mancini said KIPP has seen a payoff from the character-education program, developed after looking at their college-completion data, which stresses traits like optimism and self-control. The six-year college completion rate for KIPP graduates has climbed from 25 percent to 44 percent. >
The expiring lease comes at just the right time for the national network that runs the nearby Kipp Tech Valley Charter School, which opened 11 years ago and currently enrolls 299 students in grades 5-8. This summer, Kipp will move its middle school across the street and into the space Green Tech currently occupies and then open an elementary school in its old space. The elementary school will start with 100 kindergartners in the fall, and add one grade each year until it's serving about 500 students across grades K-4 by the 2020-21 school year. The principal, Maya Tucci, attended Guilderland public schools. She has worked for the Kipp school network in Albany and New York City for nine years. >
The century-old building that housed Camden's J.G. Whittier Family School, which was closed last year after falling into a dangerous state of disrepair, will reopen this year as a new KIPP school, Camden City School District officials said Tuesday. KIPP, the nonprofit that operates the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy in nearby Lanning Square, where Tuesday night's school board meeting was held, will invest in major renovations and open it as a charter-public hybrid "Renaissance" school, said Superintendent Paymon Rouhanifard. "We heard from residents who said they want students back in the building," said Rouhanifard, who was appointed by Gov. Christie to run the district in 2013. >
The National Blue Ribbon Schools award given out each year by the federal government is considered among the highest honors a school can achieve, and of the 335 Blue Ribbon schools in 2015, only onr was from LA Unified. That school, KIPP Raíces Academy School in East Los Angeles, celebrated the award today in a special ceremony that was attended by numerous local politicians and LA Unified administrators, including school board member Monica Garcia, who was the event’s keynote speaker. “America is better and safer and stronger because KIPP Raíces is in East LA,” Garcia, who grew up just a few blocks from where the school is located, told the crowd. >
The School Reform Commission voted Tuesday night on 12 applications for new charter schools in Philadelphia, approving three of them. Members voted, 4-1, to approve Esperanza Elementary Charter School and Russell Byers Academy Charter School and also green-lighted KIPP North Philadelphia Charter School, 3-1, with Commissioner Farah Jimenez abstaining. Cheers broke out from Esperanza and KIPP North Philadelphia supporters as the SRC announced its decisions on their applications. Several supporters of each school had urged the SRC to approve the applications during the public comment portion of the meeting. >
As a lifelong Camden resident, I know our city has the potential to be great. Signs of it are happening everywhere. I see it most in my granddaughter. She is a kindergartner at KIPP Lanning Square Primary. Recently, her class celebrated their 100th day of the school year and it made me think about how much she’s accomplished in that short time. There is a huge difference in the type of education she’s getting compared to what my children got when they were in school. These kids are brilliant and KIPP is bringing that out in them. >
The school board voted 4-1, with Ana Maria Pulido dissenting, to approve a resolution to allow KIPP Bay Area Schools, a leading charter school organization, to open a school in East Palo Alto. The school will serve both East Palo Alto and Belle Haven students from transitional kindergarten through eighth grade. The vote followed numerous parents, students, educators and two city council members urging the board to provide East Palo Alto students and parents with a high-quality educational option within their own community. Students who attend or have graduated from KIPP schools in other cities spoke of how the supportive school community became like a family to them, encouraging them to push through both academic and personal challenges and helping them become college-ready. >
Staffers recommended the board vote yes on the revisions to the charter petition for KIPP Bridge Charter School, located in West Oakland. Many parents and students spoke in favor of the school and the school’s leader, principal Lolita Jackson, asking the board to vote yes on an expansion. The school currently serves grades 5 through 8, but the charter revisions will allow the school to expand its services to include transitional kindergarten to fourth grade. “With this elementary school, we will be laying the foundation. We will be training our children in the community of West Oakland on how to study, how to learn, but most importantly, how cool it is to be smart,” said Michael Walker, parent of a fifth grade student at KIPP Bridge. “He’s actually doing well. He came in reading a little below his level, but they brought him up,” said Walker of his son. >
“We want for themselves what their families want — to grow up in a more equitable society,” says Danny Swersky, founding principal of KIPP Washington Heights Middle School. “That is not purely an academic game, that is a character game.” >

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