KIPP Bridge Academy Gives Students a Path to College Graduation

June 9, 2016

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KIPP Bridge Academy is on a mission: to give students a path to graduate college. Founded in 2002 in the heart of West Oakland, this college-prep charter school has served 5th through 8th graders in traditionally underserved communities since 2002. In August, KIPP Bridge will expand to serve transitional kindergarten through 8th grade. The reason for the expansion ties directly to their mission, which is to start students on the path to college as early as possible.

KIPP Through College
KIPP Bridge currently outperforms many schools in Oakland Unified with respect to state averages. KIPP Bay Area Schools has an 85 percent college matriculation rate, and 95 percent of its students will graduate high school. This is accomplished through rigorous academics and character development at schools, as well as the KIPP Through College (KTC) program, a broader approach that aims to eliminate the opportunity gap between students from high- and low-income communities.

Through high school transition support, one-on-one college counseling, alumni advising for former KIPP students in college, and career readiness services, KIPP students go on to matriculate and graduate from high school and college, ready to begin their careers. KTC partners with more than 50 public and private universities nationwide, including 11 universities in California.

Ultimately, the vision of the KIPP Through College program is that all students have the access, skills and resources necessary to navigate to and through college into self-sufficient adulthood.

Instilling Pride and Confidence
"When you walk out of these doors, you are going to have pride about who you are," said Lolita Jackson, Principal of KIPP Bridge. Jackson has led KIPP Bridge since 2009 and is constantly motivating the students to reach their full potential. She notes that many students come to the school below grade level (sometimes by as much as two or three grades). Yet after their time at the school, they are performing at or above grade level.

KIPP teaches students about character development and helps guide them to make good choices. Through social and emotion support, teachers and staff help students become empowered to talk about how they feel or handling tough situations on their own.

Financial Literacy
In addition to academics, KIPP Bridge has honest conversations with students about money since financial literacy is key to being successful in college and beyond. Students are taught how much college costs and the importance of saving for education and life expenses. Teachers help students look at schools based on financial aid versus rankings and the look of a brochure. They want them to choose schools they can afford to get them off to the best possible start.

Maintaining KIPP Connections
Students are not forgotten when they graduate from KIPP. Every eighth grader is tracked throughout their high school career and is offered access to a team that works with students and helps them apply for school, picking classes, and completing financial aid.

All of these traits add up, and are the reason KIPP Bridge earned a California Distinguished School Award. The school was also a recipient of the Hart Vision School of the Year Award.