KIPP Bridge Charter School

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The challenge: How to successfully narrow the achievement gap in African American student populations

KIPP Bridge Charter School (KIPP Bridge) opened in 2002 as an Oakland Unified School District New Small Autonomous School before it converted to a charter in 2007. It is now part of the KIPP Bay Area Schools, a network of five middle schools and two high schools that is committed to educating students in low-income communities for college and beyond.

In 2009-10, they served 304 students, 70% being African American, and 100% eligible for the Free and Reduced Priced Lunch program.

The solution: By promoting citizenship and diversity, a school has successfully engaged and motivated African American students

The mission of KIPP Bridge Charter School is to develop the academic knowledge, skills, and character traits necessary for students to achieve success in the finest high schools and colleges, and the competitive world beyond. The vision of KIPP Bridge Charter School is to provide all students with an outstanding education that emphasizes critical thinking, reading, and writing. This education, along with the promotion of excellent citizenship and the appreciation of diversity, will develop college-bound community leaders.

The school emphasizes a commitment to excellence through parent, student, and teacher partnerships, and rigorous standards-based content. Beyond academics, KIPP Bridge focuses on character development for its students, developing social skills that will ensure their academic success in subsequent schools and beyond. The school has an extended day and numerous after-school activities, including homework clubs and intervention programs. KIPP Bridge also has firm behavior and academic expectations that are coupled with numerous opportunities for rewards through trips and other incentives.

The results: African American students outperform their public school counterparts

Since converting to a charter in 2007, KIPP Bridge has been one of the fastest improving schools statewide, gaining 103 API points over two years. Further, API scores for African American students increased by 92 points from 2007 to 2010; KIPP Bridge students outscored African American middle school students in the district by 197 points in 2010. During the same period, the school increased its African American proficiency rates by more than 20% in ELA and 30% in math. KIPP Bridge graduates attend rigorous college-preparatory public high schools, like KIPP King Collegiate, and prestigious private schools such as the College Preparatory School, the Athenian School, Bishop O'Dowd, Bentley, and others. KIPP Bridge was one of two recipients of the California Charter Schools Association's "School of the Year" award in 2011.

These results are highlighted in CCSA's Chartering and Choice as an Achievement Gap-Closing Reform: The Success of California Charter Schools in Promoting African American Achievement, which shows that, overall, charter schools in California are effectively accelerating the performance of African American public school students, and are earning higher Academic Performance Index (API) scores and proficiency rates statewide, in many urban districts and across all subjects when compared with traditional public schools. In addition, African American students are enrolling at higher rates in charter schools than traditional schools at all grade levels, in some cases at close to twice the rate, and are experiencing better outcomes.

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