KIPP: Preparing Students in Educationally Underserved Communities for Success in College and Life

KIPP Public Schools for almost three decades has provided life-changing educational opportunities for Black students. At KIPP, we have an unyielding conviction that the children we serve are brilliant, and, as such, we are charged with ensuring our schools are places of rigor, joy, and identity affirmation, which launch our children into their futures.

KIPP Public Schools serves 120,000 students and 55,000 alumni across 27 regions that span the breadth and width of the country, from New York City to Oakland and from Houston to Chicago.

Ninety percent of our students live below the poverty line, and more than half of the children we serve are Black. More than half of our teachers and school leaders, likewise, are Black. We are proud not only that our educators reflect the communities and students we serve, but also  that our schools have delivered quality educational opportunities to Black students for years.

In 2019, for example, an independent study showed that attending  a KIPP middle school significantly closes the racial achievement gap in four-year college enrollment rates nationwide. In fact, 36% of recent Black KIPP High School graduates completed college, while the national average for college completion for Black students from low-income communities is less than 10%.

KIPP, in addition, has specific relationships with several Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including Howard, Spelman, Morehouse, Dillard, and Florida A&M, among others, where we partner with the colleges to place talented KIPP students, recognizing  HBCUs’ historic and ongoing legacy in cultivating Black genius.

I have been a proud KIPPster for over two decades. I was the founding board chair of the KIPP schools in my hometown of Newark, New Jersey, a parent of two KIPP graduates, and a national board member before assuming my current role as CEO of the KIPP Foundation. I am a civil rights lawyer by training and joined the KIPP movement over twenty years ago precisely because KIPP’s work is rooted in our nation’s uneven and unfinished journey toward racial justice and educational equity.

In the aftermath of the pandemic, our work at KIPP, like that of educators nationwide, is more important than ever. The National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that nationwide students lost about 30 years of academic gains on account of the disruptions and school closures associated with the pandemic. We face the prospect of losing a generation of kids in the absence of bold, assertive action both to compensate for learning loss and to ensure young people have the full range of skills required for competitive colleges and careers. At KIPP, we are intensely dedicated to this mission and will continue to work tirelessly until KIPP, in addition, has specific relationships with several every student in our care has the skills and confidence to walk boldly into their future.

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