Frequently Asked Questions
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Are KIPP LA schools public schools?
Yes, KIPP LA schools are public charter schools. They receive public funding and are held accountable for academic results and financial practices, like traditional public schools. However, public charter schools operate with freedom from many of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools.
What is a charter school?
Charter schools are publicly funded, independently operated schools that are allowed to operate with more autonomy than traditional public schools in exchange for increased accountability. Some charter schools are stand-alone institutions, while others operate as part of larger school networks. Most charter schools in Los Angeles, including all of KIPP LA's schools, are authorized by the Los Angeles Unified School District. Authorizers are responsible for holding charter schools accountable for compliance with their operating agreements (“charters”).
Like all public schools, charter schools are:
- Tuition-free and open-enrollment
- Non-sectarian and non-discriminatory
- Funded primarily through a combination of federal, state and local tax dollars
- Held to state and federal academic standards
Do you plan to open any high schools?
KIPP LA currently has no plans to open a KIPP high school. We believe that the landscape of quality, rigorous, college-preparatory high schools in Los Angeles, as well as across the state and country, is diverse enough to support all our students’ needs. KIPP LA schools work tirelessly beginning in fifth grade to expose our students to their high school options. If students and parents work hard too, every KIPPster should be fully prepared to gain acceptance to a top college-preparatory high school, whether public or private.
What grades does KIPP LA serve?
KIPP LA schools serve students in grades TK-8. However, because KIPP schools open one grade level at a time, some of our schools have not yet reached full enrollment. Please see the Enrollment FAQ section for more detailed information on which grades our schools currently serve.
Why does KIPP start middle school in the fifth grade?
At KIPP, we believe that fifth grade is a critical turning point in a child’s education. By fifth grade, most students in the public schools in our communities have already fallen behind – but with high expectations, hard work, and more time in the classroom, they can still catch up and be put on the path to college.
While KIPP LA is proud of the strong results our middle schools have produced, we have learned that the schools surmount serious challenges in their efforts to bring students up to grade level when fifth graders enroll performing at a second or third grade level. In the last few years, it has become clear that most KIPP LA students would benefit from entering KIPP in elementary school. For this reason, we have opened four elementary KIPP LA schools, with plans to open more over the next five years.
Does KIPP LA receive public funding?
As public charter schools, KIPP LA receives funds from federal, state, and local government. State funding represents the majority of our public funding, and unfortunately, per-pupil funding in California ranks towards the bottom among the 50 states and Washington, DC. As a result, public funding typically covers approximately 75 percent of our budget. In order to provide our students the well-rounded, college-preparatory education they deserve, we must raise funds from private sources to fill the gap.
How can I enroll my child in a KIPP LA school?
To enroll your child in KIPP LA’s middle schools or elementary school, you must fill out an interest form and submit it to the school you wish to enroll in during the school's interest period. If a school receives interest forms from more students than it has space for, a lottery will be held in late winter or spring. KIPP LA schools do not have any admissions requirements; our schools accept students regardless of prior academic record, conduct, or socioeconomic background. To learn more about enrolling your child in a KIPP LA school, please click here.
Are there admissions requirements at KIPP LA?
There is no application or selection process to enroll at KIPP LA. Any student can attend a KIPP LA school, as long as there is space available at their grade level.
If a school receives more interest forms than it has available spaces, a random lottery is held to determine admission. Lotteries are typically held in the late winter or early spring (please see the enrollment section for details on specific schools). All students who apply after the date of the lottery are accepted or added to the waitlist on a first-come, first-serve basis, regardless of socioeconomic background or academic record.
For a child to enroll in kindergarten at a KIPP LA elementary school, by what date do they need to turn five years old?
Like all public schools in California, students must turn five years old by a specific date in order to enroll in kindergarten at KIPP LA's elementary schools in a given year. For the 2016-17 school year and each school year thereafter, the date is September 1. For example, if you would like to enroll your child in kindergarten at a KIPP LA elementary school for the 2016-17 school year, your child must turn five years old on or before September 1, 2016.
You didn't answer my question!
If you have additional questions about enrollment, please see the enrollment FAQ page, as it goes into further detail about the enrollment process at KIPP LA.
What is the experience and background of a typical KIPP LA teacher?
KIPP LA's teachers are a diverse group, including experienced teachers who have worked in schools serving underserved students, new teachers who are just beginning their careers and career changers who are entering the classroom after succeeding in another profession.
What makes teaching at KIPP LA unique?
KIPP’s longstanding motto—“Work hard. Be nice.”—isn’t just a tagline. Since the beginning, we’ve believed in a balanced approach to education: hard work and a strong academic curriculum balanced with the development of the character strengths needed to succeed in college and in life. While each KIPP LA school looks a bit different, all KIPP LA schools follow a set of Five Pillars, the core beliefs all KIPP LA teachers share and that guide the day to day interactions of our teachers and students.
Because of these beliefs and our pillar of “More Time,” KIPP LA teachers work an extended school day and year to make more time in the day for rich learning experiences, character instruction, and field lessons. This extra time allows KIPP LA teachers to focus on what’s most important: students. KIPP LA also puts a high priority on collaboration and professional development, and the extended school day gives KIPP LA teachers time for common lesson planning and sharing ideas. Specific teacher schedules vary by region, and view examples from several KIPP LA schools.
To compensate for the additional time they work during the year, KIPP LA teachers typically receive a salary that is higher than they would receive in traditional public schools. Through our Emerging Leaders program and the national KIPP School Leadership Programs, we develop leaders through our multi-tiered leadership development. We know that the work of educators is incredibly complex and challenging, and we approach professional development of educators with the utmost intentionality.
While each KIPP LA school is unique, all are united in a common mission: to get all KIPP LA students to and through college.
What professional development is available to KIPP teachers?
KIPP LA values teachers as professionals and all of our teachers have access to various professional development opportunities to continue improving their craft. We host two network-wide professional development days per year, and teachers have ample opportunity to share strategies and best practices with teachers at their same grade-level and subject from across the organization.
Through ongoing content area workshops during the school year and online collaboration and communities provided through KIPP Share, our network wide sharing platform, teachers can share lesson plans with colleagues across the hall or across the country and gain new skills to improve their classroom practice.
What are the requirements for teaching at a KIPP school?
KIPP LA is always looking for excellent teachers. The primary requirement for teaching at a KIPP LA school is a belief in a very simple concept: that we will do whatever it takes to help each and every student develop the character and academic skills necessary for them to lead self-sufficient, successful, and happy lives.
KIPP LA schools comply with all applicable state and federal laws, and state certification requirements. While many KIPP LA schools look for candidates with at least two years of prior teaching experience, several also have programs designed specifically for those new to teaching. Learn more.
How can teachers apply to teach at KIPP?
Potential teachers can apply to work in a KIPP LA school by visiting the Careers section of our website and following the instructions in the job posting.
What is the role of the KIPP Foundation?
The KIPP Foundation recruits, trains, and supports leaders to open locally-managed KIPP schools. The KIPP Foundation supports excellence, growth, and sustainability across the network, as well as leads network-wide efforts to innovate and share best practices. The KIPP Foundation also provides a variety of supports and services such as legal services, real estate, technology, finance, governance, operations, communications, marketing, and development.
What is an Academic Performance Index (API) score?
The Academic Performance Index (API) is a key measurement California uses to assess public schools’ academic performance. A school’s API score is calculated based on how its students perform on state standardized tests. The API scale ranges from 200 to 1000. California's established target is 800.