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Notes from the Delta - August 2014 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Next week we begin our thirteenth year serving KIPPsters in the Arkansas Delta. What started as sixty-five fifth graders in a small classroom in a former train depot is now a network of five schools serving nearly 1,400 students in Helena and Blytheville, Arkansas. A couple events this month signify our plans for continued growth.

We have officially broken ground on our elementary wing and playground expansion at our elementary school in Helena. The event marks the end of a $1.2 million Capital Campaign and means that our youngest KIPPsters will soon have a place for play and imagination. Thank you to all those who made this possible; every contribution, from the $500,000 matching gift by Mr. Wally McCloskey of Norac, Inc., to the Pennies for Playground campaign launched by the elementary school, helped us reach this goal. We look forward to sending you details on the opening ceremony for the building soon!

On July 8th, we hosted a full house of interested St. Francis County community members at our KIPP Forrest City Public Meeting. During the meeting, we assessed community support for a KIPP school in Forrest City and fielded questions from those interested in learning more. Seventy-six people signed in to the meeting, nearly all of whom expressed enthusiastic support for establishing a new middle school in the community for the 2015-2016 school year. While we already submitted our application to the Arkansas Department of Education, please do continue signing and sharing our online petition to express your support! Our hearing before the Charter Authorizing Panel is not until October and we would love to have as many signatures as possible.

As we continue to grow our schools, philanthropic support will be key in ensuring our students and teachers have access to the resources they need for teaching and learning. While you can always make a donation on our website, we also want to encourage you to save the date of our annual gala in Little Rock. The event will be held October 16, 2014 at the Clinton Presidential Center, with registration beginning at 6:30. Come join us for an evening of great food, student performances, and an exciting guest speaker. Please reach out to Carissa Godwin for tickets. All proceeds will go towards helping us continue to grow well beyond the original sixty-five students in a train depot.


Scott Shirey
Executive Director


Building a Better Tomorrow, Today!

We are thrilled to announce that, on July 10, we broke ground on the new kindergarten wing at KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy (ELA)! The Building a Better Tomorrow Capital Campaign was a great success, thanks to many supporters like YOU! Everyone at KIPP Delta, from students to staff to families, is incredibly grateful to our donors, for you are truly making a lasting impact. We look forward to updating you throughout the process of construction!

When construction is complete, our kindergarten will have a permanent home at 215 Cherry Street, our youngest KIPPsters will have an engaging playground behind their school, and the staff of KIPP Delta ELA will have more office space. Moreover, the Building a Better Tomorrow capital campaign will result in an additional $1.2 million invested in revitalizing downtown Helena. Thank you to everyone who played a part in making this campaign a success!



More Time: KIPP Combats Summer Learning Loss

While most students around the country are relaxing in the summer heat, our KIPPsters are taking crucial steps on their climb to and through college. After a six week break, KIPP Delta began summer school on July 14, 2014. All students spent two weeks focusing on math and literacy, while some also had writing and science classes. Mandatory summer school allows us to combat summer learning loss, and also give students a jump start on the new year. Additionally, summer school provides time for culture classes which set students up for success when they return for the fall session.

KIPP Delta now has ten days off before the fall session begins on August 6, 2014. Big KIPPsters (teachers and staff) are spending the majority of this time at KIPP School Summit (KSS) in Houston. KSS is a week-long professional development opportunity that brings together over 6,000 big KIPPsters from across the country. Teachers and support staff will have the opportunity to collaborate with other KIPP regions and attend professional development session with experts in their respective fields. We look forward to putting all that we learn into action when our students return in August!


KIPP Foundation Honored with the Broad Prize

This summer, the KIPP Foundation was humbled and honored to be the 2014 recipient of the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. For the past three years, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has been granting this $250,000 award to the public charter management organization that has demonstrated the most outstanding overall student performance and improvement among the country’s largest urban charter management organizations in recent years while reducing achievement gaps for low-income and students of color. KIPP Foundation plans to share the award with this two other two finalists, Achievement First and IDEA Public Schools, to create a scholarship fund. Past recipients of the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools include Uncommon Schools and YES Prep Public Schools.


KIPPsters Write Award-Winning Essays!

Two students from KIPP Delta College Preparatory School recently took first and second place in the Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Fraternity Teach for America Essay Contest. Jaisetea Jefferson and Mi'kayla Conrelious were awarded first and second place, respectively, in the 5th-8th grade division. Both students had to write and submit an essay on the topic “Why education is important to me.” Congratulations to Jaisetea and Mi’kayla! Also, thank you for Ms. Shavonne Ward for encouraging her students to participate in writing contests!


Beyond the Classroom: Taking Learning Outdoors

Last week, seven 5th and 6th graders from KIPP Blytheville College Preparatory School showed off their skills at a fishing clinic. Thanks to free summer programming at Arkansas Northeastern College, students were able to attend this fun and educational event at Walker Park in Blytheville. Students learned about the environmental effects of fishing, as well as the basics of baiting and reeling. All seven students and two teachers enjoyed the trip – and everyone caught a fish!

Click here to see pictures from the clinic.


Announcements and Highlights

Upcoming Events

  • First Day of Fall Session - August 6, 2014
  • Labor Day Holiday - September 1, 2014
  • Prove the Possible Gala - October 16, 2014

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