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Notes from the Delta - October 2014 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Dear Team & Family,

Each and every fall season we have an opportunity to shine a light on our college-going culture, and specifically the college selection and application process. These days, both inside and outside the education world, the question “Why is college important?” is being asked at every turn. Our answer is simple: college provides young adults with the opportunities necessary to lead a choice-filled life. We can look at it in terms of monetary value: residents of the counties we serve who hold a Bachelor’s degree make $1,514 more per month than those who do not hold a degree. That’s over $18,000 more per year. We can look at it in terms of employment: the unemployment rate in Phillips County is currently 10.9%, but among adults with a Bachelor’s degree it stands at 0.4%.

Putting numbers aside, we can also consider the experiences available to students in college: from finding a passion within their major to competing as a college athlete, from studying abroad in a foreign country to landing a paid summer internship, from learning leadership skills in student government to making friends from diverse backgrounds. College provides students with an incredible amount of opportunity, and this is why we are proud that 80% of KIPP Delta alumni are currently persisting in, or have graduated from, college. We are still far from where we need to be, but each year our college-going culture is getting stronger.

Currently, 100% of seniors in the Class of 2015 have applied to at least one college, and over 50% have already been accepted to a 4-year college or university. Perhaps even more importantly, over 90% of our seniors have a smart college wishlist with 9+ schools, including at least 3 match or reach schools. Thank you to our entire KIPP Through College team, as well as the staff of KIPP Delta Collegiate High, for your work with our students throughout the selection and application process. Please congratulate students on their acceptances and continue asking them about their application process. While their acceptance is only another step on their climb to and through college, it is certainly an exciting one and it deserves to be celebrated.

Now, we are proud and honored to bring our KIPP Through College program to two local school districts. Please continue below to read more about our latest expansion in the Arkansas Delta.


Scott Shirey
Executive Director


KIPP Through College Expands Impact

KIPP Through College is a promise. It is a promise that we, the KTC office and the entire KIPP Delta team, will do whatever it takes to see our students to and through college. This year, we are thrilled to be able to extend this promise to more students in our community. With the help of a significant grant from the Walton Family Foundation, KIPP Delta will be training and supporting college advisors who will work in two local public high schools: Central High School and Marianna High School. These advisors will help students register for the ACT, make smart college wish-lists, visit a variety of campuses, apply to college, and much more.

KIPP Delta has graduated five classes of students since its founding, and currently 80% of those students are persisting in, or have graduated from, college. Nationally, only 1 out of 10 students from the lowest income quartile graduate from college, while 8 out of 10 students from the highest income quartile earn a degree. This gap is staggering, though far from insurmountable. By expanding our reach in Phillips, Lee, and St. Francis Counties, KIPP Delta is striving to give students from underserved communities the kinds of opportunities that have always been at the fingertips of their wealthiest peers across the country. Thanks to the Walton Family Foundation, KIPP Delta will be able to use the resources and knowledge gained over the past twelve years to make college acceptance, matriculation, and graduation more accessible to hundreds of students. We look forward to this partnership with the Helena-West Helena School District and the Marianna School District, and specifically what it will mean for the future of the Arkansas Delta.


The World at Their Fingertips

With generous support from the Morgridge Family Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, our KIPPsters have greater access to technology than ever before. With a 1:1 student to chromebook ratio at KIPP Blytheville College Preparatory School and KIPP Blytheville Collegiate High School, students are able to check chromebooks out for the day and use them in a variety of classes for a wide range of assignments. In English classes, students often type their final drafts. In math classes, students who have mastered the objective can go on Kahn Academy and master additional skills. In reading class, students can research topics that align with the non-fiction text they are currently reading. The possibilities are endless, and they aren’t just limited to our Blytheville students.

At KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy, our fourth grade KIPPsters are enthusiastic about the addition of chromebooks to their classes. While technology cannot replace valuable classroom instruction, it can be a great tool for pushing student learning to the next level. With a chromebook for each student, fourth grade teachers can provide time for differentiated learning in both reading and math. Students are using a variety of websites and software programs including Lexia, Achieve3000, and STMath. Differentiated learning allows each student to be met exactly on their level and progress through lessons at a speed that ensures mastery.

Thank you to the Morgridge Family Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for putting technology at our students’ fingertips.


Rat Dissection at the Memphis Zoo

In September, a group of 18 seniors and sophomores set out to explore science outside of the classroom. Under the guidance of their chemistry and anatomy teacher, Ms. Kyeshia Ward, the students toured the Memphis Zoo while learning about animals and their habitats. Once the tour was over, KIPPsters had the opportunity to dig deeper and get their hands dirty. The students used background knowledge learned in class to participate in a rat dissection to staff members from the zoo. The students got to look inside of a rat and compare it's anatomy to human anatomy. Students also had the opportunity to meet two of the zoo's mice and ask plenty of questions about this often forgotten, but very important, animal.  Thank you to the Memphis Zoo for always being an exceptional host to visiting KIPPsters!


Grits with Grandparents

In celebration of National Grandparents Day, which was on September 7, students at KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy invited their grandparents to join them for a hearty breakfast. The first-ever ‘Grits with Grandparents’ event was attended by 58 grandparents of our youngest KIPPsters! Families enjoyed a breakfast of cheese grits, bacon, and toast prepared by our exceptional food service staff, under the direction of Ms. Dockery. Thank you to the KIPP Delta ELA staff who made this special morning possible, and to the grandparents who came out to celebrate with their KIPPsters!


Prove the Possible on October 16

KIPP Delta Public Schools is excited to announce Prove the Possible, a gala celebrating twelve years of proving the possible in public education. Last year’s event was an astounding success, raising nearly $1.2m in funding for our schools. During the event, we launched the Building a Better Tomorrow Capital Campaign to build a new kindergarten wing and playground at KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy.  Special guest, Wally McCloskey, also announced a matching challenge gift to support both the capital campaign and the annual fund. Thanks to the 225 inspired guests and hundreds of additional supporters, the challenge was completed, both annual and capital campaign goals were met, and construction has begun in Helena!

This year’s Prove the Possible gala is sure to be equally exciting and inspiring. Friends and supporters of KIPP Delta will gather at the Clinton Presidential Center on Thursday, October 16, 2014, for a wonderful evening featuring special guests, student entertainment, dinner, and an open bar. We are thrilled to have Cotter Cunningham as our keynote speaker. Mr. Cunningham is the founder, President, and CEO of RetailMeNot, Inc., the world’s largest digital coupon marketplace. Founded in 2009, RetailMeNot, Inc. has grown to over 400 employees with offices in five countries and headquarters in Austin, TX. In 2012, the company facilitated an estimated $2.5 billion in merchant sales.

KIPP Delta students and staff will be on hand to celebrate with guests throughout the evening. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit our KIPP through College Program, a program designed to ensure each of our nearly 1,400 KIPPsters climb the mountain to and through college.  Through this program, our past five graduating classes have received $5.2m in scholarships, attended competitive and prestigious summer programs, and much more.

You can purchase your ticket or sponsorship at .

Former Razorback & NBA Star Visits Campus

Sidney Moncrief, former Arkansas Razorback, NBA player, and NBA coach, recently stopped by the KIPP Delta gym to visit with our basketball players. Sidney watched practice intently before giving a pep talk to the team and sharing some motivational words. He spoke to our student-athletes about the importance of hard work and what it takes to not only be a good athlete, but also a good teammate.


Upcoming Events

  • Columbus Day Break - October 9-10, 2014
  • Prove the Possible Gala - October 16, 2014
  • Report Card Night - October 23, 2014
  • Beyond Z Event in Blytheville - February 7, 2015
  • Little Bites. Big Impact. Event in Helena - April 9, 2015

View the e-newsletter online

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

Carissa Godwin
Chief of External Affairs