Education News

KIPP Charter Schools Win National Broad Prize

The prize comes with a check for $250,000 to boost college success.

Twenty years ago, KIPP started in a single classroom here in Houston.

Since then, it’s become a brand name among charter schools nationwide.

It has more than 50,000 students in 20 states and Washington D.C.

Now KIPP beat out two other charter schools to win a national education award. It’s called the Broad Prize.

“This is the recognition of all the hard work that our kids are putting in every day and everything that our teachers and our parents are doing for our kids every day,” said Eric Schmidt, a principal with KIPP, from the awards ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Last year, KIPP remained a finalist.

This year one reason why KIPP came out the winner is how it’s closing the academic gap between different groups of students, for example, low-performing Hispanic students and their white peers.

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Mike Feinberg founded KIPP in a single classroom in Houston 20 years ago. It’s now grown into a national network with more than 50,000. In this photo from 2013, he is opening a new KIPP campus in the North Forest area.

Schmidt says KIPP’s philosophy has a lot to do with that success.

“We focus on both character and academics. And so we not only want to give students the knowledge they need to be successful in college but also help them develop the character strengths that are going to allow them to be successful,” Schmidt said.

To help boost college success, the Broad Prize for charter schools comes with a check for $250,000.

Steve Mancini with KIPP says they will share that money with the two other charter finalists: Achievement First based in the Northeast and IDEA Public Schools also based in Texas.

“Since the Broad Award was to promote college completion, it’s ultimately bigger than KIPP. It’s something that’s ultimately about getting kids to and through college regardless of the school they attend,” Mancini said.

Mancini says together they’ll start a college scholarship fund.

This marks the third time in three years a Houston-based school has won a prize from the Broad Foundation: YES Prep charter schools won the first charter school prize in 2012 and the Houston Independent School District won the Broad Prize for large urban school districts in 2013

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There are 141 KIPP schools in the country. More than 86 percent of its students are from low-income families, and 95 percent are African-American or Hispanic.

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Laura Isensee

Education Reporter

Laura Isensee covers education for Houston Public Media, including K-12 and higher education. Previously, she was a staff reporter at The Miami Herald and contributed to South Florida’s NPR affiliate. Her work has also appeared in The Dallas Morning News, Reuters and Clarín in Argentina. Laura has won awards for...

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