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Notes from the Delta - February 2015 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Dear Team & Family,

We hope this new year is bringing as much success your way as it is for us here at KIPP Delta Public Schools.  We know that only 1 out of 10 low-income students in this nation graduate from college while 8 out of 10 high-income students graduate from college. In Arkansas, only 22% of African American students graduate from a 4-year college in six years.  While these can be disheartening facts, I am inspired each day by the fact that we can overcome these odds.

Our KIPP Through College Team recently finished verifying college enrollment of our alumni, and we are excited to share highlights.

  • 80% of our high school alumni have graduated or are persisting in two- or four-year colleges or technical colleges.
  • 2% of our high school graduates are enlisted full-time in the military.
  • 45% of the Class of 2010 and 2011 will hold a four-year degree by December 2016, more than 4 times the national average.
  • 100% of the Class of 2015 have received college acceptances and have earned over $500,000 in scholarships.  It is only January!

While we celebrate our progress, we don’t forget that the work before us is still plentiful. 

We do not believe those national statistics have to be the reality, and we are determined to do whatever we can to make a positive change to that data.  We know, for example, that academic rigor is one of the most crucial predictors of a student’s success in enrolling in and completing college.  Therefore, we have made academic rigor a priority throughout our organization, and believe that by setting high expectations and challenging students to think critically, our students will rise to the occasion and reap the benefits of their hard work for life - in college and beyond. 

It’s not an easy journey ahead of us but we are determined to beat the odds.  With your help, we are always encouraged to continue this amazing work.

With gratitude,

Scott Shirey
Executive Director


Building a Better Tomorrow!

Completion is just around the corner! The final touches are being placed on the KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy expansion located on Cherry Street in Helena, AR. The expansion will provide four more classrooms for our kindergarten students and will enable our teachers to continue empowering our students on their journey to and through college.  Construction is currently scheduled to wrap up at the end of February, allowing our students and teachers to fill the building with laughter and learning as early as the spring of 2015.  This capital project was made possible by many generous donors.  All KIPP Delta supporters who donated $100 or more to the project will be able to see their name engraved on the Honor Wall very soon. Thank you to everyone who contributed to building a better tomorrow for our youngest KIPPsters!


Little Bites. Big Impact.

We are excited to announce the second annual Little Bites. Big Impact. event taking place April 9th, 2015 at the Phillips County Community College Fine Arts Center. Little Bites. Big Impact. is a tapas style event showcasing restaurants and chefs from around Arkansas and the Delta. Each chef will feature a “little bite” of their choosing at the event, and there will also be beer and wine for guests to enjoy. Attendees of the event will have the opportunity to sample the “little bites” while also learning about the impact KIPP Delta has had on the community. Each guest will also take home a special gift at the end of the evening. Buy your tickets here today!

Money raised during this event will help cover the costs of facilities, the KIPP Through College program, student enrichment opportunities, and other expenses that are not eligible for public funding. Participation in the event is not only a transforming force here and now for our students, but a lasting contribution to the future of the Delta. There are three sponsorship levels available and tickets are $45 in advance ($50 at the door). If you would like more details or are interested in purchasing tickets please contact Gena Grubbs at 870-714-2193 or .


Get Your Beyond Z Tickets Today!

KIPP Delta Public Schools is excited to announce Beyond Z, an evening celebrating our students, families, and staff in Blytheville who strive to go above and beyond in their pursuit of excellence in college and life. The event will take place on Saturday, February 7th, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. It will feature a delicious dinner, musical performances by KIPP Blytheville students, and a cash bar. Each guest will also take home a piece of student artwork as a thank you for their support of KIPP Blytheville. Tickets can be purchased for $45 in advance or $50 at the door. Get yours here today!

Sponsorships are available for $500, $1,000, $2,000, and $3,000. Current sponsors for Beyond Z include Nucor, Nucor-Yamato, Holiday Inn Blytheville, Hays Supermarket, Family Eye Care, Southern Bancorp, Nibco, Entergy, KIPP Blytheville PTO, Dr. Stephen Pirtle, Mrs. Mary Gay Shipley, Farmer’s Bank and Trust, Great River Medical Center, ANSP, Scheuck Steel, and Mrs. Ernest Cunningham, and Ms. Liz Smith. If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Sarah Dewey ( / 870-714-1503)

Prior to Beyond Z, KIPP Delta Public Schools will be dedicating the Blytheville campus at 1200 Byrum Road in memory of Senator Steve Bryles. The ceremony, which is open to the public, will include brief speeches and the unveiling of the new campus sign. Light refreshments will be available. The dedication ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. All friends of Senator Bryles and community members are invited to attend.


KIPPsters Flying to the Northeast

Seven deserving sixth graders are headed from Blytheville to the Northeast for a spring break college trip! Twenty three KIPPsters applied for a spot on the trip to Massachusetts and Vermont, with the top ten going through a round of interviews. Now that the seven strongest candidates – based on applications, interviews, GPA, and teacher recommendations – have been selected, they will be meeting weekly leading up to the trip. Students will read books and articles about Boston, Massachusetts, and Burlington, Vermont. This will be the students’ first time traveling to New England. Not only will this trip give students the opportunity to step foot on an Ivy League campus and attend a real college class, but it will also provide a breadth of new life experiences. 

On the week-long trip, students will visit Harvard, MIT, and St. Michael's College. KIPPsters will take tours, attend a class, meet with professors, chat with study abroad directors, and learn about the support available to under-represented minorities on these campuses. Students will also go on a historical tour of Boston, go sledding in Vermont, and select a few additional cultural experiences on their own. KIPP Through College is providing some funding for this trip, but the remaining costs must be covered through fundraising. Visit to learn more and make a donation to help offset the cost of this experience.


2015-2016 Enrollment is Now Open

KIPP Delta is now accepting applications for prekindergarten through twelfth grade students for the 2015-2016 school year. Your student must be three by August 1, 2015, to enroll in preschool and five by August 1, 2015, to enroll in Kindergarten.

Seats are available at the following sites and grade levels:

  • Helena Campus: Pre-K – 12
  • Blytheville Campus: Grades 4-10
  • Forrest City Campus: Grade 5

KIPP Delta will be hosting an inaugural Virtual Open House on March 9, 2015 at 7:00PM. Tune-in to this exciting event to learn more about programs and services provided at our school, speak directly with administrators, and apply for admission with a live admissions representative. To participate in the KIPP Delta Virtual Open House please email Carissa Godwin at with your name and telephone number.

If a KIPP Delta school receives more applications than we can accommodate at a particular grade level, we will hold a lottery for admission on April 3, 2015. KIPP Delta Public Schools does NOT host an event often referred to as “the lottery.” Applicants are NOT required to attend any lottery event in order to be accepted. Simply complete the Enrollment Application and you’ll be included in the lottery – no other action is necessary.

Start the journey to and through college by enrolling your student today!


College Decisions on the Horizon

As of January 29 th , 100% of students in the Class of 2015 have been accepted to at least one college or university! While we are still in application season, it is exciting to know that every one of our students has a four-year college option for next year. Students have also been receiving many scholarship offers throughout the winter, and will continue to do so over the next few months. The Class of 2015 has collectively earned over $550,000 in scholarship money already!

View the full list of College Acceptances here .


Upcoming Events

  • Blytheville Campus Naming Ceremony - February 7, 2015 at 11:00 am
  • Beyond Z Event in Blytheville - February 7, 2015 at 6:30 pm
  • Presidents' Day Holiday (No School) - February 16, 2015
  • Student Application Deadline - April 2, 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