Editorial: KIPP proven effective as school choice in north Tulsa

KIPP Tulsa students smiling at the camera

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The Tulsa Public School Board has approved expanding a successful charter middle school through 12th grade, showing that a thoughtful approach and partnership with school choice can be beneficial for everyone involved.

KIPP Tulsa opened in 2005 with TPS as its sponsor. Its mission is to educate students in underserved and economically challenged communities. Locating in a building adjacent to Booker T. Washington High School, it is part of the San Francisco-based Knowledge is Power Program, which operates charter schools through the U.S.

Since then, it has earned a reputation for high academic standards, with 88 percent of its graduates entering competitive college preparatory and career magnet high schools, including Booker T. Washington, Edison, Rogers and private high schools.

Its students on average grow about 1.4 grade levels a year in reading and 1.15 grade levels in math, which compares to or is higher than neighboring schools. Of all its graduates, 77 percent have entered college.

The school serves about 330 middle school students. The plan approved Monday will expand KIPP a grade a year, until it has about 480 students by the 2021-2022 school year.

The program will be available to any TPS student, but attendance lottery preference will go to those in north Tulsa.

The curriculum will offer an Advanced Placement approach.

Despite rumors to the contrary, KIPP officials have consistently stated they have no interest in taking over any TPS schools. The new high school will be housed in the Edurec Youth and Family Fun Center, 5424 N. Madison Ave.

The KIPP Tulsa University Prep High School wants to make it possible for students to stay in their neighborhoods and get a quality education. It’s estimated about 1,000 students living in the north Tulsa school boundaries transfer to other schools.

A vibrant community needs strong schools, and a KIPP high school will add to the quality education choices in north Tulsa.