KIPP LA Schools

If it were a district, KIPP LA would be the highest performing in Los Angeles County serving a majority of students from low-income communities. For nearly a decade, KIPP LA’s schools have been proving what is possible in raising student achievement in traditionally underserved low-income communities. In 2011-12, KIPP LA’s weighted average Academic Performance Index (API) score was 892 (800 is the statewide goal), compared to 700 in the neighboring schools of South and East Los Angeles. KIPP LA Prep, in Boyle Heights, is the highest-performing middle school in Los Angeles Unified School District for the second year in a row with an API of 924. Similarly, KIPP Raíces Academy, in East LA, outperforms 98 percent of elementary schools in California with an API of 961. According to the national norm-referenced SAT-10 test, 96 percent of KIPP LA’s kindergarteners and 94 percent of our first graders scored at or above the national average in English language arts. Finally, 96 percent of KIPP LA alumni are attending high-performing, college-prep high schools, and nearly 85 percent are currently enrolled in college.


1 Submitted Idea

  • 2013 Grants Challenge

    KIPP Through College

    At KIPP LA Schools (KIPP LA), we believe that the real achievement gap is not the differences in test scores or high school graduation rates between our richest and poorest communities. Rather, we see the true achievement gap as the difference in college graduation rates among these populations. High-income students graduate college at ten times the rate of low-income students - 80% versus 8% on average. At KIPP LA, we are committed to supporting both our current students and our alumni on their journey to and through college. We seek to create and build partnerships that will support our students as they transition from our schools at the end of 8th grade to high-performing high schools and on to selective colleges.

    KIPP LA's KIPP Through College (KTC) program does just that by providing one-on-one support to our alumni as they enter high school, apply to college, and make their way through higher education and the workforce. KTC team members ensure that KIPP LA's 8th graders matriculate to a high-performing college preparatory high school that will prepare them for success in college. KTC's high school placement coordinators travel among our middle school sites to support our existing 360 7th and 8th grade students. Our students receive personalized assistance with high school selection and applications, financial aid and scholarships, and the high school transition process. In 2012, KIPP LA placed 96% of our 8th grade students in college-preparatory charter, magnet, independent day, parochial, and boarding schools.

    From there, KTC stays with our students throughout high school, providing help with coursework selection, college planning services, and individual and family counseling. As our alumni approach high school graduation, KTC staff support them as they identify and apply to colleges, seek financial aid, and prepare to enter the college environment. Once our alumni are in college, KTC college retention advisors provide the necessary support services to see our alumni through college graduation. This includes making site visits whenever possible, sending care packages, providing academic support, helping students secure study abroad opportunities, and assisting with the community college and university transfer process if necessary.

    KTC also strives to prepare our students for their future careers and instill an understanding of and excitement for these goals. This preparation may include a range of mentoring-based activities, such as summer internships, work study programs, resume writing, and interview workshops with career mentors, organizations and community allies.

    In addition to personalized services, KTC hosts an annual high school fair for our students, gathering representatives from Los Angeles' highest performing high schools to answer enrollment questions. KTC also hosts a "Mocktail Party" for our alumni, providing an opportunity to practice networking and share their future ambitions with career professionals. Further, the KTC team leads college visits for our alumni to competitive schools across the country, and operates a 12th Grade Application Bootcamp that provides intensive support with college applications. Finally, KTC provides college scholarships to students with high academic potential, a strong record of community service, and demonstrated financial need. KIPP LA believes that this unique program serves as a model for others working to help students from underserved communities earn college degrees and lead fulfilling lives.

    The KTC team is comprised of a director, three college access advisors, one college retention advisor, and two high school placement coordinators. Each KTC team member has a deep commitment to helping underserved students succeed in high school, college, and the competitive world beyond. Now in its third year, KTC has established a proven track record of success in preparing KIPP LA alumni for their journey to and through college.

    Currently, KTC serves approximately 740 KIPP LA alumni, of which 520 are in high school and 220 are persisting in college. Our alumni are spread across 140 high schools that KTC staff have deemed to provide a rigorous and college-preparatory education. Additionally, nearly 85% of our oldest alumni cohorts, the Classes of 2011 and 2012, are enrolled in 81 colleges and universities across the country. Next year, KTC will serve 910 alumni, including 540 high school students and 370 college students.

    With the unwavering support of KIPP LA’s KTC program, 84% of our alumni are persisting in college, whereas in South and East Los Angeles, only 4% of students graduate college. As KTC continues to serve more KIPP LA alumni, we anticipate that we will increase the number of college graduates in these neighborhoods by 50%. In the long term, this will mean dramatic increases in academic attainment in some of Los Angeles’ most underserved communities.