As the School Leader of KIPP Indy College Prep Middle, I am incredibly proud of our students, staff, and families for our “A” rating from the state based on last year’s achievement and remarkable growth by our students. Success is something we have to work for, not something that is given, so it is rewarding for all of us at KIPP Indy to see that hard work come to fruition. As a school community, we believe that all of our students will learn and achieve at high levels if given the opportunity.

Building off our “A” rating last year, we have worked hard to take our programming to the next level throughout this year. On top of the core subjects we emphasize in our curriculum, we are excited about the unique opportunities we are able to offer our students to enrich their education, including our specials, extracurricular programs, and field lesson experiences. For instance, this year marks the first time our students have access to a computer science and coding class. In addition to becoming programming experts, they are developing important skills like critical thinking and problem-solving that they can apply to other classes as well. Additionally, through extra-curricular opportunities like our percussion ensemble, cooking club, and sports, our students are able to explore their interests and find new passions. Finally, during field experiences, we spend time with our students in the community at places like the Indianapolis Museum of Art and Indianapolis Repertory Theater, where students are exposed to new experiences, expanding their perspectives and challenging them think and learn in new ways. On top of these, each grade level takes a campus visit to a college or university to give our students the opportunity to start thinking (and planning) about what aspects will be important to them as they evaluate their options in the future.

We’ve also shifted and developed a number of systems and structures to ensure our teachers have the support they need to maximize student learning. Teachers are constantly using data to inform their instruction and are making adjustments to their curriculum to keep every student on track in each class. During data days at the end of each six-week unit, the entire staff digs into classroom data to make sure we know where our students are now, and what we can do to help them continually improve. In order to meet the individual needs of each student, our intervention blocks every afternoon have provided an excellent opportunity to make sure our students are getting the extra help they need, whether that looks like supporting struggling students with a difficult concept or pushing those who have mastered material to think further and tackle extension opportunity. We are confident these shifts will support our students in reaching the levels of proficiency we know they are capable of achieving.

There are many things that make our school great, but none of this would be possible without the collective commitment and hard work of all of our students, teachers, and families. However, we cannot become complacent in the success we have already achieved; our best days must always be ahead of us, never behind. We are celebrating our great accomplishments, but they are also the catalyst that continues to drive our mission forward. With that, I hope you will join me in congratulating our students, teachers, and families on a job well done and that will you will continue to push us to achieve the best possible outcome for each of our students.

A lot of people ask me what makes KIPP Indy special, and while strong academics and opportunities to go on field lessons are important and matter, I always come back to our students. We don’t do this work for kids and we don’t do this work to kids. We show up every day to do this work with kids. We have the chance to form long-lasting relationships that extend far beyond the classroom that will enable us to support our students to graduate from college and live lives of choice and opportunity.