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Notes from the Delta - June 2014 Newsletter

From the Executive Director

Dear Friends, Family, and Supporters,

We have concluded our twelfth year of serving students in the Arkansas Delta. As you read this, hundreds of our KIPPsters are traveling far and wide to places like Washington, D.C., New Orleans, and Dallas as we seek to bring to life lessons learned in the classroom. While our students are looking forward to these experiences, our staff is reflecting on the year’s successes. Here are just a few of this year’s outstanding results and achievements:

  • The Class of 2014 earned over $2.3 million in college scholarships, more than any other graduating class in KIPP Delta history.
  • KIPP Delta Collegiate High School was recognized as the #2 high school in the state of Arkansas by the U.S. News and World Report, marking its fourth consecutive year in the state’s top five.
  • KIPP Delta has partnered with the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville to help fully fund several of our KIPPsters matriculating to the school each year.
  • Our campaign to add a new kindergarten wing and playground to KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy is nearly complete. We’re now only $4,000 away from our $1.2 million target.

As we celebrate the successes of this year and turn the page to the next, we would like to honor and recognize the commitment you all have made to our schools. Community support is critical to our continued success. Gifts help close the funding gap for charter schools by supporting academic programming and social enrichment that is essential for our students to succeed in college and life. 

Looking to next year, our team is hard at work prioritizing the specific strategies that will help take our schools to the next level. We look forward to soon sharing with you our plans to increase talent, drive academic rigor, reduce student mobility, and create a more sustainable financial model in order to expand our schools. 

Have a great summer!

Scott Shirey
Executive Director


Signing Day: KIPPsters Earn $2.3 Million for College

KIPP Delta’s seniors are preparing for their next milestone on their climb to and through college: arriving on campus as a freshman this fall. All 39 members of the Class of 2014 have been working tirelessly since last August on college admissions and scholarship applications. The acceptances began rolling in last fall and continued through April of 2014. Each year, the senior class takes part in a friendly competition to see who can earn the most acceptances, who can earn an acceptance from the college farthest from Arkansas, and who can earn the most money in college scholarships. These competitions are fed by the strong college-going culture at KIPP Delta Collegiate High School, and inspired by the incredible precedent set by the graduating classes that paved the way for these students.

On Wednesday, May 14, 2014, KIPP DCHS hosted Signing Day, an annual tradition that has grown immensely with each passing year. Each senior took the stage and, in front of over 500 KIPP Delta students, announced where they will be attending college in the fall. The Class of 2014 will be well-represented across the country, with students headed to Colby College in Maine, Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania, Spelman College in Georgia, and the University of Missouri at Columbia. Seven KIPP Delta students have enrolled at the University of Central Arkansas, and seven more at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

Dr. Charles Robinson, Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Arkansas, attended Signing Day and announced the newly formalized partnership between KIPP and the University of Arkansas (read more about it in last month’s newsletter here). Dr. Robinson addressed the senior class, praising them for their hard work and sharing how much faith he has in their successes that are still to come after high school.

Amy Charpentier, Director of KIPP Through College at KIPP Delta, also took the stage to share exciting news with the senior class and all who were in attendance. The Class of 2014, with just 39 members, shattered the previous record held by the Class of 2013 and earned $2.3 million in college scholarships. This is a marvelous feat, and one that is essential to making college more affordable for all KIPP Delta students. Congratulations to each and every student in the KIPP Delta Class of 2014!



Commencement 2014: One More Step

On Thursday, May 22, every member of the Class of 2014 proudly walked across the stage and received their KIPP Delta Collegiate High School diploma. Each student had their post-secondary plans announced as they took the stage, and all 39 students are headed to college, post-secondary training, or the military. The Lily Peter Auditorium at Phillips Community College was at capacity with over 1,000 students, staff, friends, and family members in attendance to usher this newest class of alumni into the next stage of their life.

Mr. Fa De “Andy” Lin, Class of 2014 valedictorian, and Mr. Courtney Beckwood, Class of 2014 salutatorian, both addressed the audience during the commencement ceremony, reminiscing on the hard work of their teammates and sharing hopes for continuing their climb to and through college. Representative Darrin Williams – CEO of Southern Bancorp, Representative in the Arkansas General Assembly, and KIPP Delta Board Member – was the keynote speaker at the event. Representative Williams spoke about five “big rocks” for living a full and successful life after graduation. Among other sage advice, he encouraged seniors to ask for help when needed and put down their cell phones to have real and meaningful conversations. Dr. Charles Robinson, Vice Provost for Diversity at the University of Arkansas, also spoke at the commencement. Dr. Robinson announced the new partnership between KIPP and the University of Arkansas and congratulated the Class of 2014 on their impressive accomplishments in high school.

Students in KIPP Delta’s Class of 2014 earned acceptances to 54 different colleges and universities. Students will be matriculating to the following colleges and universities this fall: Arkansas Career Training Institute, Arkansas Tech University, Christian Brothers University, Colby College, Ouachita Baptist University, Philander Smith College, Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas, Spelman College, Tennessee State University, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, University of Central Arkansas, and University of Missouri at Columbia.


From D.C. to Dallas: KIPPsters Hit the Road

This week, ten classes of KIPPsters from Blytheville and Helena departed for their End-of-Year Field Lessons. These culminating trips are earned through excellent behavior and top academic effort. Students are also required to submit an application, which includes several essay questions and teacher recommendations. Grades three through eight are headed to locations both near and far, where they will tour colleges and take part in a variety of cultural experiences. Below is a list of the destinations for each class at KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy (ELA), KIPP Blytheville College Preparatory School (BCPS), and KIPP Delta College Preparatory School (DCPS):

ELA 3rd Grade – Little Rock, AR

ELA 4th Grade – St. Louis, MO

BCPS 4th Grade – Memphis, TN

DCPS 5th Grade – Dallas, TX

BCPS 5th Grade – Washington, D.C.

DCPS 6th Grade – Fort Smith State Park, AR

BCPS 6th Grade – Smoky Mountains, TN

DCPS & BCPS 7th Grade – New Orleans, LA

DCPS & BCPS 8th Grade – Birmingham & Montgomery, AL & Atlanta, GA


First KIPP Delta Alumni Receive College Degrees

Kyeshia Ward was a founding student at KIPP Delta College Preparatory School when the doors first opened in 2002. Now, twelve years later, she has received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. On May 10th, Kyeshia became the first KIPP Delta alum to receive a four-year degree. One week later, Abba Colbert joined her as she received a Bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College. Domonique Bragg, another founding mem­ber of the Class of 2010, will complete her studies as a multidisciplinary public policy major and receive a Bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University this summer. Domonique is considering a return to the Delta to teach 9th grade at KIPP Blytheville College Preparatory School. We are incredibly proud of these students who have paved the way for over 1,000 current KIPP Delta students. They are strong role models and are continuing to prove what is possible in public education.


Read, Baby, Read!

The Molina Foundation and Arkansas A+ have partnered to put more than 5,500 new books in the hands of students across Arkansas. With their generous donations, these organizations hope to curb summer learning loss and encourage more students to read while away from school. KIPP Delta Public Schools received 2,300 books to distribute across our four schools this week. The KAIT 8 news team visited KIPP Blytheville on Wednesday, May 28, to tape the book distribution and talk to students, staff, and parents about the importance of summer reading. You can watch the news story here.

According to a report from the National Summer Learning Association, students from low-income families who do not read over the summer lose more than two months of reading achievement. The “summer slide” and is an extraordinary challenge for children of all ages. This has a cumulative effect, with these students experiencing greater learning loss each summer. By the end of 6th grade, children will be two years behind their classmates.

“Stopping the summer reading slide for our children is a place where we – as a community - can have tremendous impact,” says Dr. Martha Bernadett, President and Founder of The Molina Foundation.

“Reading just five or six books this summer can keep a child on track. In many of these schools, I’ve learned that teachers are providing parents with tips and guidance for summer learning. We are so happy to support such remarkable educators in Arkansas.” Thank you to the Molina Foundation and Arkansas A+ for your support!


Announcements and Highlights

Upcoming Events

  • First Day of Summer School - July 14, 2014
  • First Day of Fall Session - August 6, 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