2014 Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools

Kipp schools focus on results

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Kipp schools focus on results


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KIPP Schools has long been the largest charter management organization in the country—and one of the oldest—and in 2014, it was also named the network with the most outstanding overall student performance and improvement as winner of The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools.

The Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools review board selected KIPP as the winner of the $250,000 award not only for its academic achievements—the network closed more achievement gaps for Hispanic students than other charter organizations eligible for the prize, and closed more ethnic and income gaps for middle school students than other eligible charters—but also for the network’s ability to do so at scale. With 183 schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia, KIPP serves nearly 70,000 students, putting it on par with the 100 largest school districts in the country.

Every KIPP school shares a dedication to high expectations and a focus on results. But each school also answers the needs of its community. One such campus is KIPP Comienza Community Prep, which serves 520 kindergarten through fourth-grade students in Los Angeles by creating a tight-knit sense of family among teachers, parents and students.


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public school districts recognized as Broad Prize winners and/or finalists since 2002
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with a Broad Prize winner or finalist
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former U.S. Cabinet secretaries who have served on The Broad Prize selection jury

Comienza teachers are often found in local parks on weekends, chatting with community members, or making home visits in the summers to check on students. Parents come to campus for lessons in English or technology, and they can attend the first 20 minutes of the school day to meet with their child’s teacher and classmates. Students take classes in building character and making murals and have “spirit days” when they wear the clothing of their parents’ home countries or bring a representative item. The result is a school that feels like, in the words of one parent, “a home away from home.”

While creating a warm, welcoming environment, Comienza also achieves results. The school ranked No. 1 on state academic assessments in 2015 among schools serving a majority of low-income students in the Los Angeles Unified School District. Comienza is also the top California school that has more than 60 percent English learners.

SHIRLEY APPLEMAN

School Leader,
KIPP Comienza Community Prep

“The KIPP way of teaching is high expectations, no excuses and revolutionary love. Our teachers believe in our students’ potential. We will do whatever it takes to make sure that potential is realized. We don’t accept any excuses. We know what’s possible. We’ve proven what’s possible. So we will do whatever it takes. I know that sounds harsh, but at Comienza, we balance high expectations with love. We nurture relationships. We spend most of our day here. It’s important we love each other and we enjoy spending time together and working together.”

KATYA AYALA

Third-Grade Teacher,
KIPP Comienza Community Prep

“I believe that I can reach my students when I have an understanding of who they are as people and when I have an open mind about where they come from. At KCCP, I am learning that connecting with students is not based on how similar you are to them but rather the teacher’s ability to show empathy, dedication and love. We have teachers from all walks of life that are able to connect with students based on love and empathy. When teachers can create these connections, student achievement is inevitable.”

KRYSTAL VEGA

Third-Grade Teacher,
KIPP Comienza Community Prep

“At a very young age, I had my mind set on being a teacher. I remember school as a very positive experience. School served as my safe haven. I had a rough childhood and upbringing, and at school I felt the happiest, safest and most at peace. In second grade, I began to say I would be a teacher because I immediately saw the powerful impact of an educator. That has always been my career path, and here I am now, living my dream.

“Every teacher here has a direct manager. That person comes into your class weekly, and you meet every two weeks to talk about data and what’s happening in your classroom. They give you feedback in the moment, which helps you with your teaching practice. They’re always available to brainstorm ideas and help you master skills. The consistent collaboration is very helpful for your personal development as an educator and also greatly impacts your ability to reach all students you’re serving.”


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