KIPP Charter Schools: Knowledge is Power

October 10, 2011

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Myesha Welch and Karen Paredes, first grade students

Education is a subject of passionate debate in our nation. What makes a great school? Can all children learn? Do poor neighborhoods and poverty determine who learns?

April Goble, Executive Director of KIPP Chicago, speaks about KIPP Chicago, a part of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) network, a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. KIPP Chicago believes that all of its students will "climb the mountain" to and through college. The entire school community, whether receptionist, teacher, or parent, is focused on this common goal. KIPP students spend 60% more time in class than their Chicago Public School peers. As KIPP students, they have cell phone access to their teachers for homework help, attend Saturday school once a month, receive three weeks of instruction each summer, and take rigorous high school and college prep classes. "Through hard work, our students prove every day that demography is not destiny," Goble says.

Ms. Ellen Davis, Principal, KIPP Ascend Primary Ellen Davis is the founding principal of KIPP Ascend’s Primary School, opening in August 2010. After graduating from Smith College, Ms. Davis taught first and second grade as a member of Teach For America’s Phoenix corps, where she received her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. Ms. Davis then moved to KIPP SHINE Prep in Houston where she taught prekindergarten and served as the Dean of Curriculum and Instruction. To prepare to open KIPP Ascend Primary, Ms. Davis completed the KIPP Fisher Fellowship, a year-long program that includes intensive summer coursework at New York University, residencies at KIPP schools, and individualized coaching.

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Recorded Sunday, October 9, 2011 at the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy.