KCAL9 gets a look inside the highest ranked charter school in LAUSDBySerene Branson
By the year 2020, the Los Angeles Unified School District hopes to expand to 20 campuses similar to that of the highest-ranking charter school in the district, KIPP Empower Academy.
On Wednesday, students at the tuition-free, college-preparatory school celebrated their new facility on Figueroa Street in the heart of South Los Angeles.
I was told that good things did not come out of my neighborhood, and Ive been trying to prove them wrong my whole life, said Sacramento mayor and former NBA player Kevin Johnson, who visited the campus.
The district says the school, part of the national KIPP network, is ranked highest in the district and 10th in the state.
To myself, growing up in an inner-city school, we didnt have that. We didnt have like our rooms named after colleges or what you were going to graduate. Its just that we came to school, Melody Moore, a parent, told KCAL9s Serene Branson.
Moore was hired as a school employee four years ago after being laid off.
I want to be a college professor to teach kids in college, said Moores daughter, Ashandi Moten.
At the school, the focus is on empowering students minds, body and spirit.
Rooms are named after the teachers college, and scholars as theyre called are categorized not by grade but by college-graduation date.
School leaders say, on average, less than 5 percent of South L.A. students finish college.
But at KIPP, over 75 percent of our alumni are persisting in college right now, and were looking to see that number grow as we continue to expand, said Neela Parasnis, a school leader.