Meet KIPP Indy Alumnae: Jala and Ila

Jala Powell and Ila Childs are two KIPP Indy alumnae that have big plans for their lives. Jala, now a senior in high school, said she came to KIPP Indy because she needed to be challenged academically. “The curriculum at KIPP required a lot of work and you had to be prepared. As a KIPPster, I learned that without proper preparation and the necessary materials, I wouldn’t be successful,” Jala said. Ila, now a sophomore at Indiana University, is an embodiment of that hard work and effort. As an advertising student with a minor in marketing, she is using her interests and skills to get involved on campus. She is the media relations chair for the Neal Marshall Black Student Alliance and a member of the IU chapter of the NAACP, as well as a member of the marketing committee for IU TV. Both students credit their college preparation to KIPP Through College (KTC), KIPP Indy’s college prep program that is dedicated to getting students not only to college, but through college. KTC places a strong emphasis on making college an attainable goal for every KIPP student. They do this in a multitude of ways: from workshops and college entrance test prep, to campus visits for students from kindergarten and up. Jala said KTC has helped her succeed in high school. “I joined conferences and extracurricular activities because the KTC team recommended them to me.” The KTC team has helped Jala navigate taking the ACT with test prep sessions and provided guidance to her on how to pay for college, with information on loans and grants. Jala hopes to...

College Savings Program Promise Indiana Comes to KIPP Indy

Having a college savings account makes students almost seven times more likely to attend college than those who don’t have an account, according to a 2010 study from Washington University in St. Louis. The study also found that having a savings account was a better way to predict whether a child would attend college than race or family net worth. Knowing this, the KIPP Through College team was thrilled to be selected by Promise Indiana for their innovative college savings initiative. “Through this partnership, KIPP Indy students have the opportunity to open 529 college savings account at no cost to them,” said Randi Perry, who leads the KIPP Through College team. The Marion County Promise pilot, of which KIPP Indy is now a part, was created by Promise Indiana, a Hoosier-focused and led program dedicated to helping students matriculate to college. The program has a multitude of benefits for KIPP Indy families, including: ● No required deposit from a family; the community makes an initial deposit of $25 to the student’s savings account ● Simplified enrollment process, online or paper form ● Opportunity for additional dollars from the community – if a student engages “champions” and raises $25 for their 529 account, the community will deposit an additional $75 ● Money in the account can only be used for a student’s future education expenses – parents cannot withdraw money for any other reason. “The fact that the enrollment process is simplified is going to be really helpful for our families,” said Randi. “We tried to launch a similar program on our own at KIPP Indy a couple of years...

A New KIPP Through College Program: Passport to College

KIPP Indy is excited to provide a new program this year dedicated to helping our alumni in high school to and through college: Passport to College. The program will provide KIPP Indy alumni with clear expectations for continued KIPP Through College counseling support in an effort to increase student engagement in the college planning process, as well as ensuring students reach their goal of completing a college education. To accomplish this, the Passport to College program will give students the opportunity to attend workshops relevant to the different stages of high school, beginning in 9th grade and continuing all the way through 12th grade. Workshop topics will range from college research and entrance exam prep in 9th and 10th grades to building college wish lists and filling out applications in 11th and 12th grades. The program will continue to provide access to other important KIPP Through College resources, such as college visits and the KIPP Match Tool to help students decide which colleges are the best match for their needs and goals.   While KIPP Through College has always focused on supporting alumni on their way to and through college, Passport to College provides a predictable sequence of college support throughout every step of a student’s high school experience. In addition, alumni receive incentives for participation in the program. For instance, if a student-alumni completes all of the required workshops, they become eligible for small scholarships that can be used for college expenses such as books and school materials. In doing this, the program is expected to not only increase alumni engagement with the workshops but, more importantly, encourage...

A Letter to Our Team & Family

Dear KIPP Indy Team and Family,   As we welcomed students back to school last week, it was clear that the sense of urgency in our work has never been greater.  We need to ensure our students have positive self-identity along with tools to navigate through and effect change in an unjust world.  From events that have been highlighted over the summer months, including the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, to the violence that is occurring in our own neighborhood, we know that many of our students are struggling to make sense of their surroundings.   As a school community, we can and will ensure that our students feel loved and safe when they are at KIPP Indy. Safe not just from violence, but safe to know that who they are and where they come from will be embraced. Safe to voice how they feel about social issues facing their community, including police brutality, racism, and other forms of injustice. And safe that they will have teachers and administrators who respect and embrace their diverse thoughts, identities, and cultures in and out of the classroom.   KIPP Indy is committed to supporting social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and working to become a stronger voice for solving issues of injustice in our community. This school year, we created a working group to meet regularly to discuss how we can better support efforts to achieve social justice. If you have suggestions or want to learn more, please reach out to epelino@kippindy.org. We welcome and need the input of our broader school community.   Please know that KIPP...

KIPP Indy has a new playground!

On July 30, over 200 volunteers came together to build a new playground at KIPP Indy. The playground was built through a unique partnership between Delta Air Lines and KaBOOM, a national nonprofit that builds playgrounds. The playground was officially available for play during the first week of school.   KIPP Indy is thrilled to have this new playground on campus. KaBOOM! believes play is central to a child’s ability to grow into a productive adult. It can transform children from sedentary, bored, and, solitary to physically, mentally, and, socially active. Since 1996, KaBOOM! has been dedicated to the bold goal of giving all kids – particularly those growing up in poverty in America – the childhood they deserve, filled with balanced and active play, so they can thrive. With its partners, KaBOOM! has built, improved and opened nearly 16,300 playgrounds, engaged more than one million volunteers, and served 8.1 million kids.   Our new playground at KIPP Indy is the 14th built by Delta Air Lines and KaBOOM! Delta supports KaBOOM! in promoting and protecting a child’s right to active play at home, at school and in the community.   At KIPP Indy, we’re excited that the new playground will bring more than 1,000 kids in Indianapolis one step closer to having the play-filled childhood they deserve. In building this playspace together, we are making it easier for all kids to get access to safe, balanced, and active play.   Thank you to KaBOOM! and Delta Air Lines for helping give our students a space to play!...

Meet KIPP Indy: Former KIPP Indy teacher steps into a new leadership role this year

Brittany Scherer, a former middle school humanities teacher at KIPP Indy, is taking on a leadership role as an assistant school leader at KIPP Indy College Prep Middle this year. Brittany taught eighth grade reading and literature at another school before joining KIPP Indy. She says the biggest difference between other schools and her experience here is that the bar for excellence set for both teachers and students is very high and that the school makes students feel loved. “Teachers are held to very high expectations so that they can be their best selves in front of students, from whom we demand so much… Students are working hard, but they are being praised and recognized by teachers and staff who love them.”   One of her favorite memories from her time at KIPP Indy includes a special student she had this past year who put the eighth grade team on a rollercoaster ride. She explains, “He was incredibly intelligent and curious, but he had some behavioral struggles. Our team would also see a side of him where he would refuse to enter lunch or wander the hallways without permission.” The student was at risk for being retained at one point this year due to his failing grades.   However, when students took their second round of MAP testing, an adaptive test that measures individual progress and growth taken three times during the school year, this student had achieved his growth goals in both math and reading. “When we were walking out to buses that day, this young man skipped up to me with the biggest grin on his face...