What other organizations can learn from the KIPP network's experiments in taking time for renewal.
KIPP Delta, the group overseeing the network's Arkansas schools, won a $200,000 grant from the national KIPP foundation earlier this year to develop an SMS (Short Message Service) application that will allow them to send information to high school students and alumni about the college admissions and financial aid process through texts.
As CEO of the Chicago Public Schools, and later as the U.S. Secretary of Education, I had the good fortune to visit dozens of gap-closing charter schools. I always came away from those visits - as I do when I visit any great public school - with both a sense of hope and a profound feeling of respect and gratitude for the school's educators and school leaders.
After five years in office, the plight of black and Latino men and boys has the president's attention. His new initiative hopes to build on the successes of programs like KIPP High School in the Bronx. This year, 100 percent of its seniors have applied to college.
Mr. de Blasio went to KIPP Infinity Middle School in West Harlem, part of a large charter network, to show the value of collaboration between charters and traditional public schools. His warm conversations with students and educators there contrasted with his clashes with charters in the past.
KIPP Delta students were featured in Essence magazine's "10 Things We're Talking About" article, thanks to their involvement with the Clinton Foundation initiative called No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project.
[TRANSCRIPT]: Children from poor families are less likely to go to university. And they're more likely to drop out when they get there. That's the achievement gap, and it's something that educators have long wrestled with. What else can you teach children at school that will help them get on in life?
KIPP, previously known as the Knowledge Is Power Program, has had more success than any other large educational organization in raising the achievement of low-income students, both nationally and in the District. But many good educators, burned by similarly hopeful stories in the past, have wondered whether KIPP were for real.
[Shareki Chaney, Rales Center, KIPP Baltimore]: ..."There are many ways we are making it happen at KIPP. We're engaging the parents at their level-whatever they may need, whenever they may need it. We're making them feel comfortable now that the health center is there."
[VIDEO] Tristan Fields helps Emilia and Min get ready at KIPP College Prep High in the Bronx...Students have been practicing for months, with sample tests meant to mirror the new SAT beginning in March.