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Notes from the Delta - September 2013 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Dear Friends & Family,

We are off to a fantastic start to the 2013-2014 school year! Students, parents, and staff have been hard at work these first few months in order to ensure the school year starts successfully. Please accept my deepest gratitude for all of your efforts in helping make KIPP Delta a very special place of learning and growth for our KIPPsters. 

This month, I am proud to promote our upcoming Prove the Possible Gala on Thursday, October 3rd at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion. The event will begin at 7 pm, with registration from 6:15 to 6:45 pm. Come celebrate our journey from past to present, as well as our exciting plans for the future. It will certainly be a night filled with great fun, food, and friends. Tickets are $100 per person and can be purchased here.

Next, I want to advance the efforts of our Capital Campaign, which we are excited to launch the night of the Gala. Each year, the demand for enrollment into our schools continues to grow. Unfortunately for our youngest KIPPsters, the school building at 215 Cherry Street in downtown Helena no longer provides adequate space for the students we serve. In order to continue being the school of choice in the Arkansas Delta for aspiring college bound students, we must expand the elementary school and add a space for play and imagination by the 2015-2016 school year. The total project cost for expanding KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy and adding a playground to the campus is $1,300,000. Thanks to a generous matching challenge gift by an anonymous individual donor, KIPP Delta need only raise an additional $619,500 to complete this project and receive the matching challenge funds. You can be a part of building a better tomorrow by making a gift to the campaign. Your donation will be matched up to $500,000 by the anonymous donor, doubling your impact immediately.

Last, we are recruiting for several positions that would give you or someone in your network the opportunity to join the KIPP Delta team. The  Director of Finance   role will provide senior leadership for all financial functions and business operations within KIPP Delta and be charged with executing on the strategic financial vision.  We are also looking for strong and passionate school leaders in Blytheville – particularly a future  Middle School Director  who will be the successor to our founding School Director and who will continue to lead students as they climb the mountain to college at KIPP Blytheville Collegiate High School.  Finally, we are looking for  Fisher and Miles Fellows  who will train to found a school in new communities in future years.  To learn more about these or any of our open positions, visit our careers website or email .

One final note on the student side of things: we must continue to improve our student's ability to read. Please do all you can to ensure that our children have books and are reading them consistently.  Perhaps most importantly, please take the time to read with a child. Together, through these efforts, I am confident that we will be able to push our KIPPsters to become the better readers they absolutely can and need to be. 

Keep Climbing,

Scott Shirey

Scott Shirey
Executive Director




Building a Better Tomorrow

KIPP Delta Public Schools is excited to announce the launch of the Building a Better Tomorrow capital campaign.  This campaign, upon completion, will allow KIPP Delta to build an addition to KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy (housing four classrooms, two offices, and storage space), as well as a playground immediately behind the building.

Each year, the number of students seeking enrollment in our schools grows. In 2013, we welcomed over 1,230 students into our four schools. This incredible growth has been felt most deeply at KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy (KIPP Delta ELA). KIPP Delta ELA opened in 2009 with 100 kindergarten and first-grade students, and was originally built to serve 250 students. Now, after exceeding expected growth targets, we have over 420 students in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade. The need to expand KIPP Delta ELA cannot be overstated. But that’s not the whole story. Our youngest KIPPsters are also in dire need of a safe and secure place to engage in meaningful play during their school days. Physical activity and student success are intrinsically linked, and the former can greatly impact the latter.

The solution is clear. We must honor our commitment to our students’ education and the revitalization of downtown Helena. However, this expansion comes with a cost. The total cost for expanding KIPP Delta ELA and adding a playground to the campus is $1,300,000. Thanks to a generous matching challenge gift by an anonymous individual donor, KIPP Delta need only raise an additional $575,000 to complete this project and receive the matching challenge funds. You can be part of building a better tomorrow by making a gift to the campaign. Your donation will be matched up to $500,000 by the anonymous donor, doubling your impact immediately.



Little Bites. Big Impact.

KIPP Delta Public Schools hosted the first annual Little Bites. Big Impact.  event on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 at the Phillips Community College Fine Arts Center. This tapas-style culinary event brought seven chefs to Helena from throughout Arkansas and the Delta. Guests enjoyed a “little bite” prepared by each chef and learned about different facets of KIPP Delta at six “impact stations.”

KIPP Delta alumnus, David Bibbs, was the featured chef for the evening. David, Class of 2011, attends the prestigious Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island, where he is studying to be a pastry chef. David made delicious French macaroons and rich, flour-less chocolate mini-cakes that brought many guests to his table for second helpings. He also kicked off a series of student speeches with a thoughtful reflection on the impact KIPP Delta made on his education and character development. Crystal Hall (Class of 2014), Ashton Jones (Class of 2020), and Ethel-Jean Garza (Class of 2023) followed David’s lead, stunning the audience with their zesty personalities, optimistic smiles, and kind words of gratitude.  Performances by the KIPP Delta Elementary Choir and the KIPP Delta Drumline rounded out an evening focused on celebrating student achievement.

This event would not have been possible without the chefs who prepared delicious “little bites” for our supporters: Chef Jeffrey Owen of Ciao Baci (Little Rock), Chef Shane Henderson of Ben E. Keith (North Little Rock), Chef Omar Barry of Omar's Uptown (Jonesboro), Helen McClain of Fabulous Foods (Marianna), Latoya Harris of The Bistro Bar & Grill (Helena), and Erica & Hayden Hall of Oxbow (Clarksdale).

A big thank you to our sponsors, who were just as invaluable: Helena Marine Service, Southern Bancorp, Phillips County Community Foundation, Hargraves Insurance, Entergy, Hickory Hill Pharmacy, 3 Rivers Flooring, Hays Supermarket, Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Cunningham, Mr. and Mrs. John King, Jr., Jim and Elaine Frazier, Rosanne and Pace Hindsley, The Edwardian Inn, Ludwig Distributing, and Sundaram Design.

View photos from the event .


Also in the News

Pre-K Visits the KIPP Kitchen - View photos from their adventure .

KIPP Delta Basketball kicks off next month. View the full team schedule.


Announcements and Highlights

Join us for the Prove the Possible Gala on October 3, 2013.


Upcoming Events

September 28: September Field Lessons

October 3: Prove the Possible Gala

October 25: First KIPP Delta Basketball Game

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

Carissa Godwin
Chief of External Affairs