KIPP launches collaborative with Memphis charters to improve literacy results

ByCaroline Bauman
Educators sitting in a classroom during a presentation

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When a school adopts a new curriculum, one of the most time-consuming tasks for teachers is figuring out how to bring those new ideas into their classrooms.

This is especially true for charter schools with smaller staffs who are often starting from scratch in designing a curriculum aligned to state standards, said Monique Cincore, principal at Aspire East Academy in Memphis.

The KIPP Foundation, a national charter organization, is giving away its English curriculum, KIPP Wheatley, for free to help lighten other charters’ loads. And for the first time, KIPP has established a  “charter collaborative,” sharing its curriculum and training for it with four Memphis charter organizations with the goal of helping local teachers and leaders figure out how to bring the curriculum into their classrooms.

“The charter world can be so siloed,” said Daniel Sonnier, the director of KIPP Wheatley Achievement, who helped run the first Memphis collaborative session in early October. “Everyone is doing their own thing. But now we have this shared curriculum, and we can learn from one another.”

Eleven elementary and middle schools from four different charter organizations in Memphis adopted the KIPP Wheatley curriculum last year, with Memphis Business Academy joining this year. Starting last week, 23 educators from the schools will meet monthly to try out ideas and receive feedback from KIPP Wheatley experts. KIPP led a two-day session with the educators at the Memphis Education Fund, which donated the space.

“We tend to work within our own buildings, and there’s not as much opportunity like this to practice and hear from other schools,” Cincore said. “Having this curriculum as a starting point cuts through a lot of heavy lifting, and helps me focus on this question: ‘How do I lessen teachers’ loads?’ ”

The participating schools are:

Aspire Public Schools 

  • Aspire Coleman Elementary
  • Aspire Coleman Middle
  • Aspire Hanley Elementary
  • Aspire East Academy

Freedom Preparatory Academy 

  • Freedom Preparatory Academy – Westwood
  • Freedom Preparatory Academy – Whitehaven

Memphis Business Academy 

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