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Notes from the Delta - May 2013 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Dear Team and Family,

I hope this message finds everyone well as we push toward a strong transition into the 2013-2014 school year.

Developing college-ready students should be one of the top priorities of our schools.  However, we have all heard of the “college pushback,” the notion that the intense focus on college is misplaced and that in this economy young men and women with college degrees are not acquiring jobs while simultaneously accumulating massive debt. I readily admit that the path to attaining a college degree is far from perfect. Debt loads are too high, as the cost of college has outpaced the rate of inflation. Yet the reality stands that a college degree is well worth the climb up the mountain. For those of you uncertain, the following link provides an abundance of evidence validating our efforts (Link to NY Times Article).  Given this, it is important that we do not lose sight of our “to and through goal,” a goal which stands as paramount in the work of building a better tomorrow for our KIPPsters.

And in this work of developing college-ready students we see glimpses every day of successes at our schools. Students in Mr. Furth’s Read 180 class recently had their hard work pay off as evidenced by significant gains on their Lexile levels. At our elementary school, students have passed over 6,500 Accelerated Reader tests, a mark that serves as a testament to the grit of many students.  With MAP testing, End-of-Course Exams, and AP tests right around the corner, it is my hope that teachers and students alike will have their hard work validated through achievement on these tests.  

Next, I want to express my deepest gratitude to our staff for pouring considerable time and energy into their jobs. I want to take the time to acknowledge the effort, impact, and sacrifice our departing staff has made. Thank you for your efforts and we wish you the best of luck in future endeavors. Meanwhile, to staff members returning for next year:  thank you for your resiliency and remarkable professionalism to our students, families, and community.

Lastly, on behalf of our schools, I want to thank all the parents and families who have taken on the full-time job of being engaged in your child’s education. Parents, the strength of your support is immeasurable. During times of bumpy roads, you help us plow through the difficulties. We simply cannot succeed without you and your support. With actively engaged parents and families, our vision of providing an excellent education for college-bound students in our communities will become a reality.

Take care, and have an excellent month!


Scott Shirey
Executive Director 



KIPP Delta Students Need Your Support!

Courtney Beckwood is a rising senior at KIPP Delta Collegiate High School.  This past fall, he was the first person in his family to score college ready on the ACT.  Courtney hopes to become a biomedical engineer. 

Martha Darnall is a graduating senior at KIPP Delta Collegiate High School.  She will be the first in her family to go to a four-year college.  Martha hopes to become a pharmacist and return to the Arkansas Delta after graduating.  Courtney and Martha believe they will be able to accomplish their career aspirations thanks in part to their participation in Aspirnaut at the Vanderbilt School of Medicine.  Working among the very best scientists, doctors, and researchers, Martha and Courtney will make scientific discoveries this summer that will be used to treat kidney disease and broaden their scientific knowledge.

These are the stories of just two of the four students who have been accepted to the Vanderbilt Aspirnaut program this year.   For the last five years, KIPP Delta students have participated in the Aspirnaut program.  For eight weeks, our students have done breakthrough medical research using the most sophisticated lab equipment available and completed their own independent work.  As a result of Aspirnaut, our students have become confident in their academic ability, have earned the highest ACT scores in their class, and have been accepted to top universities.  No other program provides us with the same consistent results.  Unfortunately, due to budget cuts in the federal government and limited grant funding, our students’ chances of attending are in danger. 

The cost to send one student to Aspirnaut is $5,000, but the opportunity is priceless.  It opens up new prospects to scholarships, colleges, and opportunities in science.  We have secured $11,000 in funding so far and need only to raise an additional $9,000 to send all four students to this program.  We ask you to consider making a gift to ensure that money is not an impediment to our students’ dreams.   One hundred percent of your donation will be used to fund this program for four aspiring students. You can donate online at Thank you for being the change in these students’ lives!



Two Students Accepted to Arkansas Governor’s School

Whitney Watson and Sonia Garcia, rising seniors in the Class of 2014, earned acceptance to the 2013 Arkansas Governor’s School (AGS). Selection for AGS is based on a combination of ability and interest, and is highly competitive. This is the first time that KIPP Delta Collegiate High School had two students selected to attend in the same year, which is a testament to the strength and passion of both students. Whitney Watson is a dedicated student who loves to read and finds great joy in expressing herself in written form. Ms. Watson is an active member of the KIPP Step Team and she is constantly challenging herself to create more opportunities for her future. Whitney will be participating in an English language arts program at AGS. Sonia Garcia is a talented student who excels in arts and academics. She has been in several plays presented by KIPP Delta Drama, and won an award for her acting skills last year. Ms. Garcia was captain of the volleyball team this year and leads an Environmental Club on campus. Sonia will participate in a natural science course of study. 

The Arkansas Governor’s School is a six-week residential program for gifted and talented students. The Governor’s School strives to create a unique experience for a select group of Arkansas’ outstanding students—the potential leaders of their generation. Both inside and outside the classroom, AGS provides highly motivated, creative students with an intellectual atmosphere that is unparalleled elsewhere. The excitement of intellectual and artistic pursuits and the expectation of significant conceptual gains permeate all aspects of the participants’ lives for the full six weeks. We are thrilled to have Whitney and Sonia participate this summer as representatives of KIPP Delta.


Also in the News

KIPP Delta Alum Honored by Senator Pryor

KIPP Delta Drama Performs Almost, Maine


Announcements & Highlights

KIPP BCPS Class of 2020 Visits Arkansas Outdoor School

KIPP Delta Collegiate High Named #4 High School in Arkansas 


Upcoming Events

  • May 18: Class of 2013 Graduation
  • August 20: Little Bites. Big Impact.


View the full newsletter here

If you are a journalist or a member of the media and have an inquiry, please contact:

Carissa Godwin
Chief of External Affairs