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Notes from the Delta - November 2014 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Dear Team & Family,

Typically the month of October is a quiet one, often necessitating reflections on our commitment to proving the possible in public education. Now that we’re deeply immersed in the school year and, for many, the excitement of a fresh start is waning, October can be difficult. This year, however, October was nothing short of thrilling. With several events and announcements in the past few weeks, I am feeling deeply inspired and incredibly optimistic about the future of KIPP Delta Public Schools.

Last week, the Charter Authorizing Panel approved KIPP Delta’s application to expand to the Forrest City community.  In the 2015-2016 school year, pending final State Board approval, KIPP Forrest City College Preparatory School will open to serve 5th grade, growing by one grade level each year to fully establish the Forrest City campus.  This is tremendous news!

Just one day after the approval of our expansion, KIPP Delta hosted the third annual, and, by all accounts, most successful, Prove the Possible gala in Little Rock at the Clinton Presidential Center. Over 230 people were in attendance, including both gubernatorial candidates and several legislators from across the state. The event raised nearly $500,000 for our KIPP Through College program.

This year, October brought with it many successes. After a great deal of hard work, we were granted the opportunity to expand our reach to more students in the Arkansas Delta and took the time to celebrate student achievement from the past year. I want to say thank you to all the students, teachers, parents, and supporters who assisted in our efforts in Forrest City and who made Prove the Possible a success.


Scott Shirey
Executive Director

 

KIPP Delta Opening Doors in Forrest City

Last week, the Charter Authorizing Panel approved KIPP Delta’s application to expand to the Forrest City community. In the 2015-2016 school year, pending final State Board approval, KIPP Forrest City College Preparatory School will open to serve 5th grade, growing by one grade level each year to fully establish the Forrest City campus. With this expansion, not only will KIPP Delta be able to serve more students in the Delta, but students from the Forrest City area whom already attend our schools will have the opportunity to attend school closer to their home. Many of you signed the petition or wrote letters of support for this expansion, and we can’t thank you enough.

Marcus Nelson, former School Director of KIPP Delta College Preparatory School, will be the founding school director of KIPP Forrest City College Preparatory School. Marcus is currently completing a year-long Fisher Fellowship through the KIPP Foundation, during which he spends a great deal of time with current founding school directors around the country. With guidance and critical collaboration, Marcus will design his school and make plans to open in the summer of 2015 with a class of 5th grade students.

With the help of the Walton Family Foundation and Bespoke Video Production, we recently created a video to help educate the Forrest City community about KIPP Delta. Please watch this video and feel free to share it.

Prove the Possible

Our third annual Prove The Possible gala in Little Rock took place on October 16, 2014. The event was an absolute success and brought in record-breaking donations. Over 230 people were in attendance, including both gubernatorial candidates and several legislators from across the state! The event raised nearly $500,000 to help fund our KIPP Through College program, a mission-critical program that serves all of our nearly 1,400 students, yet receives $0 in federal or state funding.

Anaiyah Henderson, KIPP Blytheville College Preparatory School Class of 2019, and Ashton Jones, KIPP Delta College Preparatory School Class of 2020, emceed the event. BreAnna Malone, KIPP Blytheville Collegiate High School Class of 2018, and Summer Farris, KIPP Delta Collegiate High School Class of 2015, spoke to the crowd and shared their KIPP Delta stories.  Joseph Whitfield, KIPP Delta Collegiate High School Class of 2011, also returned to Arkansas to share the story of his journey with everyone. Joseph is currently a senior at Colby College (Waterville, ME) and he is the first student in the school’s history to serve as class president for all four years of college. Joseph shared many reflections on his time at KIPP and also spoke of his passion to return the Delta and pay it forward. After graduating in May of 2015, Joseph plans to begin his career in education by teaching in his hometown of Helena, Arkansas.

In addition to student speeches, there were also performances by our KIPP Delta Collegiate High Choir, and a wonderful presentation by Cotter Cunningham, CEO of RetailMeNot. Marcus Nelson (Fisher Fellow ’15) and Chalk Mitchell (Board Member) were both given awards to recognize their 10 years of service to KIPP Delta Public Schools. A new annual tradition, the Giving Tree Award, was given to Michael Morton for his ongoing generous support of KIPP Delta. Pictures from the event can be found here.

 

65% of Seniors Already Accepted to College

Earning an acceptance to college is a truly life-changing event. It is a culmination of many, many years of hard work and exceptional grit. The fall is always an exciting season, as we have college acceptances coming in almost daily. By the end of September, 100% of KIPP Delta seniors had submitted at least one application and 50% had already earned an acceptance. Today, 65% of seniors have earned at least once acceptance. While this is certainly something to celebrate, our focus continues to be on selecting a college that is a strong match as well as a good fit. Over the next several weeks, seniors will be working to complete their lengthier and more difficult applications to school that don’t accept the Common Application. While these additional components can be challenging to complete, especially while continuing to perform well in rigorous high school courses, these are critical to our goal of seeing more students to and through colleges with high graduation rates.

The Class of 2015 has taken charge of their application season, and they have the results to prove it. KIPP Foundation measures progress around college applications by using eight different metrics, and KIPP Delta’s Class of 2015 is outperforming the network averages in six of those eight areas. While their work is far from over, this special group of seniors has proven that they will not rest on their laurels.

We’re proud to share with you the current list of college acceptances below.

  • Christian Anderson – University of Central Arkansas
  • Alantra Betts – University of Central Arkansas, Philander Smith College, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
  • Destiny Blalock – Jackson State University
  • Donnesia Clark – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • Summer Farris – University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • Terry Foster – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • Jestynn Gray – University of Memphis, Tennessee State University, University of Central Arkansas
  • Maiya Green – University of Central Arkansas, University of Memphis
  • Jasmine Hicks – University of Memphis, Jackson State University, Tennessee State University, Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Central Arkansas, University of Mississippi, Alabama State University, Jackson State University
  • Ashley Hubbard – University of Memphis
  • Ebony Ivory – Ouachita Baptist University, University of Central Arkansas, Henderson State University, Southern Arkansas University
  • Artesian Jackson – University of Memphis, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • Tangela Jacobs – University of Central Arkansas
  • Bryanna Lee – University of Memphis, University of Central Arkansas
  • Quentin Murry – University of Memphis, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • Arnez Orr – University of Alabama
  • Jimmiesha Palmer – University of Central Arkansas, Southern Arkansas University, Henderson State University
  • Desilyn Redd – Southern Arkansas University, Arkansas Tech University, Henderson State University
  • Raivyn Robinson – University of Central Arkansas, Henderson State University
  • Justice Ross – Arkansas State University, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
  • Zyias Ulis – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Alabama A&M University
  • Jerrion Williams – University of Central Arkansas
  • Keanna Williams – Arkansas Tech University, Tougaloo College, University of Central Arkansas
  • Octavia Williams – University of Central Arkansas, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
  • Shakari Williams – Arkansas Tech University, Ouachita Baptist University

KIPPsters Research Alongside Scientists

Read about the successful completion of the Vanderbilt Aspirnaut experience here.

Attend KIPP Delta's Annual Public Meeting!

KIPP Delta is holding two Annual Public Meetings this year, with the first taking place tonight, Monday, November 3, at the Malco Theatre in Helena. The second will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4, at KIPP Blytheville’s campus, located at 1200 Byrum Road. Both events will begin at 5:30pm and finish at 6:30pm. During this meeting, we will review our progress during the 2013-2014 school year, as part of an ongoing effort to improve communication with parents, students, and community members. KIPP Delta’s regional staff will discuss successes from the previous year, as well as areas of growth for the new year. Light snacks and refreshments will be served.

Upcoming Events

  • Annual Public Meeting in Helena – November 3, 5:30
  • Annual Public Meeting in Blytheville – November 4, 5:30
  • Thanksgiving Break – November 22-30, 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 Development Officer
870-714-9635
carissa.godwin@kippdelta.org