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Delta Partnership Designed to Prepare More Students for College

Delta Partnership Designed to Prepare More Students for College
Walton Family Foundation awards nearly half-million dollar grant to start pilot program
HELENA, AR (October 2, 2014) – KIPP Delta Public Charter Schools announced today that it has received a nearly $500,000 grant from the Walton Family Foundation to fund a two-year pilot program to help prepare more students throughout the Delta for college.
The “KIPP Through College” program will be available to approximately 350 juniors and seniors per year enrolled at Central High School in the Helena/West Helena School District and at Marianna High School in the Lee County School District. The objective is to increase the number of graduates who choose to pursue opportunities in higher education.
“We began ‘KIPP Through College’ in our school five years ago and we’ve learned that when students have the right support, they can not only go to college but also get a degree,” said Scott Shirey, executive director of KIPP Delta. “We look forward to sharing those lessons and providing support to our surrounding traditional public school systems by becoming a higher education resource for students and families.”
Funding from the Walton Family Foundation grant will be spread over two years. It will be used to pay for two full-time college advisers to work with students in the two public school districts and prepare them to further their education, assist with student fees for ACT and SAT testing, college visits, tuition fees, books and other miscellaneous costs associated with administration of the program.
The role of the advisers will include:
  • Provide individual support for students pursuing military, vocational or college careers;
  • Help register students for ACT testing;
  • Conduct family learning sessions to provide information about higher education options;
  • Host college admissions visits to participating high school campuses;
  • Accompany students on college visits; and
  • Consult school administrators on how to improve the college and career readiness of students through school and classroom practices.
“This will be the first time that a charter school has partnered with traditional school districts in the Delta,” Shirey said. “But it is the essence of what charter schools are all about – providing new and promising opportunities to students.”
Charter schools are independently operated public schools of choice, meaning that families can choose them for their children. There is no tuition. The schools establish “charters” that outline curriculum, academic goals and steps for achieving those goals. In return, charter schools are granted certain exemptions from some regulations imposed on traditional public schools, which allows for the use of innovative learning methods and the development of best practices that can be shared.
“This partnership between KIPP and the two school districts represents the kind of bold new thinking that we must adopt in order to help students in the Delta reach their full potential,” said Kathy Smith of the Walton Family Foundation. “We are committed to supporting high-achieving school options and improving academic achievement for all children.”
KIPP Delta opened in Helena in 2002 with 65 fifth graders. Today, there are nearly 1,400 students in five schools in Helena and Blytheville. KIPP has petitioned the state to allow for the opening of a KIPP campus in Forrest City for the 2015-2016 school year.
To date, 80% of KIPP Delta’s graduates are either enrolled in or have graduated from a 2-year or 4-year college.
PDF icon WFF KTC Partnership.pdf

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