KIPP, a network of public charter schools with three schools in Jacksonville, announced Friday, during a kick-off event, a new partnership with Florida A&M University (FAMU) in an effort to increase college completion rates for KIPP alumni from educationally underserved communities.
FAMU leaders, including Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Rodner Wright and Kelvin Lawson, chairman of FAMU’s Board of Trustees and a Jacksonville resident, joined KIPP Jacksonville leaders, students, and staff Friday at the KIPP Impact Middle School campus to celebrate the signing. The FAMU partnership is KIPP’s third college partnership in the state of Florida, joining Florida State College at Jacksonville and the University of North Florida. Prior to the event, FAMU and local alumni held a high school recruitment fair on Thursday night and signed 89 new scholars.
“At FAMU, we truly believe that the youth are our future and we are proud to partner with KIPP to help cultivate these dynamic students not only into future Rattlers but more importantly successful graduates,” said Wright, who addressed KIPP students during a Friday event announcing the MOU. “We are confident that this partnership will also yield positive opportunities for our current students preparing to teach the next generation of scholars as education professionals.”
Lawson added, “We believe we are standing in front of some of the best and brightest students. We believe in FAMU’s proven track record and the power of KIPP working together to produce more highly skilled students and helping to make their dreams come true.”
As a KIPP college partner, FAMU is committing to developing programs and support structures to address the college persistence challenges students from underserved communities often face on their path to earning college degrees. FAMU and KIPP will work together to develop systems and processes to assist KIPP students with FAMU’s college application and recruitment process, including assistance with financial aid paperwork and scholarship identification; pre-enrollment outreach to ensure a smooth transition to college; and the promotion and enrollment in pre-college opportunities. In addition to the myriad of benefits now being offered to KIPP Jacksonville students, the KIPP Jacksonville campus will be a resource for enhancing FAMU’s teacher preparation program and provide career opportunities for FAMU students studying education.
“We are honored to partner with FAMU, a historic institution that like KIPP, values diversity in thought, perspective, and culture,” said Dr. Jennifer Brown, KIPP Jacksonville executive director. “At KIPP, we are dedicated to supporting students on their path to and through college, and this FAMU partnership will open new doors of opportunity for our students, ensuring they have the tools and resources they need to thrive.”
Founded in 2010, KIPP Jacksonville educates 1,080 students across three public charter schools in Jacksonville. Ninety-eight percent of KIPP Jacksonville’s students are African American or Latino. KIPP Impact Middle School, which received a B grade last year, has consistently ranked among the highest performing middle schools in Northwest Jacksonville.
KIPP Jacksonville is part of the national network of 209 schools in 20 states and Washington, D.C. educating 87,000 students in Pre-K through 12th grade. Nationwide, 38 percent of KIPP students who completed eighth grade or started ninth grade with KIPP have gone on to graduate from a four-year college or university.
KIPP’s national college completion rate is above the national average for all students (36 percent), and approximately four times the national average for students from low-income families (about nine percent). FAMU joins a growing list of more than 90 KIPP college partners, including Brown University, Duke University, Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania and Spelman College. A complete list of KIPP’s college partners can be found at KIPP.org.