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Notes from the Delta - June 2013 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Dear KIPPsters, Friends, Families, and Supporters,

I wanted to first take a moment to remember and honor Makayla Hawkins, a first grader at KIPP Delta ELA who recently and tragically passed away after being struck by a vehicle while riding her bike. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Makayla's family during this period of grieving. We plan to eventually plant a tree on our campus in honor of Makayla to serve as a constant reminder of a life that was taken away from us much too soon. 

Next, let me wish you all a happy close to the 2012-2013 school year. As our students head home for a well-deserved summer break, I want to publicly commend teachers, teacher's aides, school directors, and other support staff for some truly remarkable accomplishments this year. Both our MAP results and Benchmark data indicate our students are meeting growth targets and hitting proficiency within and above our projected level of performance. While many other schools across the country are using ongoing budget crises to make excuses, we are undeniably transforming lives here in the Delta. Our classrooms are strong and our students are exceeding past performance. We certainly have much to celebrate as we look toward the upcoming school year. 

Continuing on the student side of things, I wanted to take a moment to advocate for the importance of our work. As we go to bed tonight, we will live in a country where only one in ten students from low income communities will graduate from college. In Arkansas alone, only 22% of students will graduate with a college degree. This is the brutal reality of the world in which we live. We believe we can and will do better, and our inaugural graduating Class of 2010 continues to defy these statistics by quadrupling the low income graduation rate with its persistence rate in college. The more we consider what we are up against, the more we realize just how centrally we must focus on college readiness and persistence. As a result, we have decided to shift the focus of our metrics on the MAP test — focusing more on college readiness and students achieving on-grade level rather than just growth — and have collectively decided to push greater resources into our KIPP Through College program. The mission of our schools is indeed to and through college, and it is my hope that the urgency of this is clearly evident through our actions.

Thank you for all that you do and have a wonderful June!

Keep Climbing!

Scott Shirey
Executive Director 



Pride, Gratitude, and a Full House: Commencement 2013

Over 1,000 friends, family members, and supporters of KIPP Delta’s Class of 2013 filled the seats of the Lily Peter Auditorium at Phillips Community College for the May 18th graduation ceremony. After a beautiful opening performance by the KIPP Delta Collegiate Choir, David Whitfield welcomed his classmates and their supporters to the fourth KIPP Delta commencement ceremony. Jaela Stayton, salutatorian, and Precious Hunt, valedictorian, both gave rousing speeches that intertwined memories of their high school years with a strong vision for their futures. Dave Levin, co-founder of KIPP, followed the young women with his keynote address. Having spent the previous day touring the schools and meeting with many KIPP community members, Dave spoke about the power of the triangular network that exists between students, parents, and staff at KIPP Delta Public Schools. He said it is unlike any of the other 125 KIPP schools across the country. Dave touched upon the importance of showing gratitude to everyone in this network, as it takes a great deal of work to be a KIPP teacher, a KIPP parent, and a KIPP student.

The Class of 2013 was presented with their diplomas by Todd Dixon (School Director), Randy Zook (Board Chair), and Betty Sanders (Founding Teacher). As students’ names were read, along with their chosen colleges, the cheers from the crowd grew increasing louder and the pride of family members was palpable. A farewell address by Tyler Williams, graduating senior, and a moving performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by the KIPP Delta Collegiate Choir rounded out the evening. We must share a big thank you for Amy Charpentier, KIPP Through College Director, and Laurie Brown, College Advisor, for the work they put in to making this a spectacular ceremony for students and their families. Congratulations to the Class of 2013!




Little Bites. Big Impact.

KIPP Delta Public Schools is hosting the first annual Little Bites. Big Impact. event on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at the Phillips Community College Fine Arts Center. Little Bites. Big Impact. is a tapas style event showcasing restaurants and chefs from around Arkansas and the Delta. Each chef will feature a “Little Bite” of their choosing at the event, and there will also be beer and wine for guests to enjoy. Attendees of the event will have the opportunity to sample each little bite, enjoy entertainment provided by the KIPP Delta choir and band, and take home a special handmade gift at the end of the evening.

KIPP Delta alumnus, David Bibbs, will be a featured pastry chef for the evening. David graduated with the Class of 2011 and now attends Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island – a competitive school with a world-renowned culinary program.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the door. Sponsorships are available at three different levels: Impact Sponsor at $2,500; Empower Sponsor at $1,000; and Spark Sponsor at $500. We also have space available for more chefs.

If you would like more details or are interested in purchasing tickets, you can do so here


Also in the News

KIPP Foundation 2012 Report Card


Announcements & Highlights

KIPP Delta Preschool Ceremony

KIPP Blytheville’s End-of-Year Celebration


Upcoming Events


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