Tulane creates scholarships, openings for KIPP students

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Tulane University will reserve 10 spaces in its freshmen class each year for students from the KIPP system of charter schools and provide them with scholarships to meet their financial needs, officials announced Tuesday.

KIPP schools — which include a campus on South Carrollton and two in Central City among its nine in New Orleans, as well as 100 other schools in about 20 other states — focus on preparing underprivileged children for a college education, co-founder Mike Feinberg told a Tulane audience in September. As part of this new agreement, KIPP will adjust its curriculum to better match Tulane’s first-year coursework, and provide opportunities for students in Tulane’s teacher-training courses.

The full news release follows:

Tulane University, KIPP New Orleans Schools, and the KIPP Foundation will sign an agreement today to enroll more graduates of KIPP K-12 schools at Tulane and facilitate their successful transition from high school through college.  The agreement will also have Tulane and KIPP partner to assist Tulane students interested in pursuing a teaching career as part of the university’s teacher certification program.

The agreement, the first of its kind in the nation, will be signed by Tulane President Scott Cowen, KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth and KIPP New Orleans Schools Executive Director Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise in the library on the second floor of KIPP Believe College Prep middle school, 1607 South Carrollton Ave.  With this partnership, Tulane promises to enroll and provide scholarships for 10 KIPP students annually beginning in the 2012-13 academic year.  These students will be selected from KIPP schools throughout the country.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Tulane to recruit some of the brightest and most creative KIPPsters from around the country,” said Tulane President Scott Cowen.  “Likewise, this partnership will provide Tulane students a unique opportunity to prepare for teaching careers.”

KIPP, which stands for Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of open enrollment, college preparatory charter schools in 20 states and Washington, D.C.  Operating nine of its 109 schools in New Orleans, KIPP sets high academic standards for its students, who attend classes for an extended school day, including some Saturdays and a mandatory summer school.

“We are very proud to partner with Tulane University,” said KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth. “Their commitment will hopefully serve as a catalyst for other similar partnerships in New Orleans and nationwide aimed at increasing the number of young people who graduate from four-year colleges.”

According to U.S. Census data, only 30 percent of all Americans aged 25-29 have earned a college degree.  For students living in the bottom economic quartile, only 8 percent complete college by their mid-20s.  By contrast, 36 percent of KIPP students have completed a four-year college after finishing eighth grade at a KIPP middle school ten or more years ago.  KIPP’s college completion rate is higher than average for all students across all income levels nationwide and four times the rate for comparable students from low-income communities.

“Our partnership with Tulane is an exciting new way for us to keep showing that demographics do not define destiny,” said Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP.  “Our 32,000 KIPPsters nationwide are proving every day that children from any walk of life can excel and climb the mountain to and through college.”

Under the agreement Tulane will host a five-week summer program intended to prepare KIPP students for the college application process, the rigors of college coursework and the experience of living on a college campus.  KIPP and Tulane staff will meet regularly with KIPP alumni enrolled at Tulane to help ensure a high college completion rate.  Graduates of Tulane’s teacher certification program will have the opportunity to student teach at KIPP schools and seek permanent positions there.  KIPP will also share its core curriculum with Tulane in an effort to align its curriculum to better match Tulane’s entry-level coursework.

“We see this partnership as a real benefit to KIPP and to Tulane,” said KIPP New Orleans Schools Executive Director Rhonda Kalifey-Aluise.  “Our students will have better college opportunities, and Tulane students will have the opportunity to teach or tutor at a KIPP school, contributing to education reform in a tangible manner.”

KIPP – the Knowledge Is Power Program – is a national network of open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.  KIPP was founded in Houston in 1994, and has grown to 109 schools serving over 32,000 students in 20 states and Washington, D.C.  Over 95 percent of students enrolled in KIPP schools are African American or Hispanic/Latino, and more than 80 percent qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meals program.  To date, over 85 percent of students who have graduated from KIPP middle schools have matriculated to college.  To learn more, visit www.kipp.org

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