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Notes from the Delta - July 2014 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Dear Friends, Family, & Supporters,

At KIPP Delta, we are committed to building a better tomorrow for the students we serve. Twelve years ago, we made a promise to sixty-five fifth graders in Helena, Arkansas that we would see them to and through college. There have been challenges along the way and our efforts have not always yielded perfect results. Yet here we are today, twelve years later, serving over 1,300 students in Pre-K through 12 in both Helena and Blytheville. We project that our founding classes will quadruple the national average for low-income college graduation and our high school was just named the number two high school in the state by U.S. News and World Report, its fourth consecutive year in the ranking’s top five. Despite challenges, KIPP Delta has developed a track record of success. 

Now we would like to continue serving more students. On July 8th, KIPP Delta will hold a public meeting at the Forrest City Civic Center at 5:30 pm. During the meeting, we will assess community support for a KIPP school in Forrest City. With dozens of Forrest City students already busing nearly an hour to our Helena campuses, we believe the demand in the community is great. If you have friends or family in Forrest City or the surrounding communities, please encourage them to attend the public meeting and sign the petition. With your help, we can move closer to our goal of becoming the school of choice in selected Arkansas communities of need. 

The new school year is also just around the corner and we are looking forward to building off a strong year in which we set high marks in the areas of parental satisfaction, teacher retention, and fundraising. We plan to leverage these strengths in making academic rigor the number one priority for the year. As always, we will keep you updated on our progress and let you know how you can help!


Scott Shirey
Executive Director


From DC to Dallas: KIPPsters Explore Our Country

As is a KIPP tradition, hundreds of students recently returned from end-of-year field lessons – a culmination of the year’s hard work. In order to earn an invitation to the end-of-year field lesson, students must complete an application and get approval from several teachers. Teachers select students based on their hard work and their behavior over the course of the year. These experiences are enriching and eye-opening for all students, regardless of the destination. End-of-year field lessons also give students the opportunity to spend a few days away from home, which often tests their grit and will eventually make the transition to college easier.

KIPP Blytheville College Preparatory School’s Class of 2022 (rising 5th graders) spent three days and two nights in Memphis for their field lesson. Students toured the Civil Rights Museum and Rhodes College, but also made time for laser tag and a stroll through the botanical gardens. The Class of 2021 (rising 6th graders) from KIPP BCPS took a long drive to Washington, D.C. for an extended stay in our nation’s capital. Students especially enjoyed visiting the National Air and Space Museum, the National Museum of Natural History, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Other activities during their five-day stay included a monuments and memorials tour, a visit to Howard University, and a trip to Eastern Market for some shopping. KIPP Delta College Preparatory School’s Class of 2021 drove south to Dallas for their end-of-year field lessons. Highlights of the trip included a visit to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, a lesson from a zoologist at the Dallas Zoo, a day at Six Flags, and a tour of the University of Dallas.

The Class of 2020 (rising 7th graders) from BCPS spent four days braving the wilderness while camping at Mammoth Caves in Kentucky. Students set up their own tents, cooked many of their own meals, and enjoyed a tour of the caves. To get some relief from the heat, KIPPsters spent an exciting afternoon at Nashville Shores Waterpark. Though four days without proper showers proved challenging for many students and teachers alike, this character-building trip was enjoyed by all. KIPP DCPS’s Class of 2020 had a similarly spectacular experience camping at Fort Smith State Park in Mountainburg, AR.

The Class of 2019 (rising 8th graders) from both KIPP BCPS and KIPP DCPS made the trek straight south to New Orleans for four days of cultural experiences. Students toured Louisiana State University, visited the World War II Museum, tried on costumes at Mardi Gras World, and explored the Audubon Aquarium. With its rich history and beautiful French Quarter, New Orleans provided KIPPsters with many wonderful experiences. KIPP BCPS and KIPP DCPS both brought their oldest students in the Class of 2018 (rising 9th graders) on a four-day civil rights tour of the south. With stops in Birmingham, AL, Montgomery, AL, and Atlanta, GA, students and teachers hit many historical spots along the way. Once they reached Atlanta, students visited the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site and did campus tours of Morehouse and Spelman. KIPPsters also enjoyed a day at Six Flags and the World of Coca-Cola.



Measuring School Success: 2013 KIPP Report Card

We are proud to present KIPP’s annual Report Card! This report measures the success of each of our four schools, the success of KIPP Delta Public Schools as a region, and the success of KIPP nationally. The data shared in this report helps us understand our true impact - what is working, and what needs to be improved. It tells us whether we are meeting our mission, and fulfilling the promises we make to our students and their families.

This year, we celebrate the 20th anniversary of KIPP’s founding in Houston. While we recognize that there is more work to be done, our first 20 years have shown us what is possible. As we look beyond our first 20 years, we have never been more optimistic. Tens of thousands of KIPPsters in our schools today are poised to achieve their dreams—and show the world what they are capable of. And as they do, they inspire us to work even harder to ensure that every child receives the world-class education they deserve.

We invite you to read the report, dive into the results, and share the link with your friends and colleagues who would be interested in learning about the inspiring work taking place in KIPP schools across the country.


2014 Commencement Video!

Did you miss KIPP Delta Collegiate High School’s commencement last month? You can watch the event here and see each member of the Class of 2014 walk across the stage as their post-secondary plans are announced. The commencement ceremony also included speeches by Courtney Beckwood and Kenneth Cox, valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively. Darrin Williams, CEO of Southern Bancorp and a Representative in the Arkansas General Assembly, delivered the keynote address and Dr. Charles Robinson, Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Arkansas, also addressed the audience of over 1,000 people.


Class of 2018 Continues Climbing the Mountain

At both KIPP Blytheville College Preparatory School and KIPP Delta College Preparatory School, the Class of 2018 was recently promoted to high school. In Blytheville, the rising 9th graders had a promotion ceremony at the Wiley Center – the original home of KIPP BCPS. Kayla Perry and Greg Robinson were selected by their peers as student speakers at the event. Both KIPPsters shared memories of middle school and spoke of the future with great optimism. Nicole Terry and Lonzetta Alvoid, KIPP parents, delivered brief speeches about the value of KIPP in the Blytheville community and the hard work that will lead to bright futures for every student. As a token of gratitude and recognition of their transition to high school, Maisie Wright, school director, presented each student with a copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers and a padlock for their new locker.

In Helena, teachers and parents of the Class of 2018 planned a special evening for students. Derrick Green, a rising ninth grader, and Donneisha Clark, a KIPP Delta Collegiate High School student, both gave rousing speeches about the road that lies ahead. A former KIPP DCPS teacher, Kristen Le, returned to deliver a speech to her former students about their next step on the challenging climb to and through college. Many students were given awards for academic achievement, as well as strong character. After Todd Dixon, school director of KIPP DCH, welcomed the class to high school, everyone enjoyed delicious food, thanks to the parents of the Class of 2018.


KIPPsters Become Rockstars!

A group of 22 students from KIPP DCH were selected to attend a “Rock Star Tour” throughout the northeast, with stops in a different city each night. These students, entering grades 10 through 12, visited Philadelphia, PA; New York City, NY; Providence, RI; Boston, MA; and Waterville, ME. Along the way, they visited several colleges including the University of Pennsylvania, Columbia University, Brown University, and Colby College. In addition to touring colleges, this trip also exposes students to bustling cities in a region of the United States that is very different from the Delta. These experiences can be life-changing, as they give students a glimpse of opportunities that they may not have known existed.


Announcements and Highlights


Upcoming Events

  • First Day of Summer School - July 14, 2014
  • First Day of Fall Session - August 6, 2014
  • Prove the Possible Gala - October 16, 2014

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

Carissa Godwin
Chief of External Affairs