Friends Who Work Hard Together, Stay Together

Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On December 15th, KIPP Denver Collegiate Seniors and best friends Jesus and Rodrigo received a double dose of good news: both received offers of admission to the college of their dreams: Duke University.

Earlier this year, Jesus and Rodrigo participated in the Duke Preview Program, an all-expenses-paid, four-day visit to Duke University, complete with interviews with admissions counselors. During their visit, the pair of KIPPsters sat in on lectures, attended a football game, and explored the city of Durham, North Carolina. 

After they returned to Colorado, they received a notification from the school informing them they were KIPP pre-review finalists, meaning they could expect to be offered admission to the school.

“We were the most nervous about that letter,” Rodrigo said. “It came on a day when we had a soccer game, so we were just waiting before the game to see if we were going to be accepted or not. We were most excited then because that was basically the in.” 

Jesus and Rodrigo first met when they entered 5th grade at KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy, and by 6th grade, their friendship had taken off. When a representative from Duke presented to their KIPP Through College class their Sophomore year at KIPP Denver Collegiate High School, the two students set their sights on it as their dream college. 

As part of KIPP’s mission to support students in their search for the college that's the best fit, the KIPP Through College team provides students with KIPP’s College Match—a set of four factors that help students select the postsecondary option that’s best for them. The program helps students build lists of schools based on a number of factors to help maximize the student’s ability and desire to persist through and graduate from college. 

“Since we started this process, we told ourselves, we’re both going to go,” Rodrigo said. 

They’re happy to have each other as supporters and friends as they prepare to embark on their collegiate journey thousands of miles from home. 

Despite the distance from Denver, Jesus felt at home at Duke as soon as he stepped foot on campus. 

“I’ve always been in small schools,” Jesus said. “I’m excited for something big like Duke, to have more people around me.”  

Both students will be the first in their families to go to college. They hope that students will see that having a goal and a plan are the first steps to achieving their dreams. 

“I don’t think that it was about sacrifices,” said Rodrigo. “It was about doing the best we can—that was our mentality the whole time. We didn’t think we had to give anything up.”

“I always tell my little brother, ‘If you are meeting your expectations on a daily basis, you’re probably not reaching high enough,” said Jesus. “‘So, reach for the highest goals you can and you should be on a good path.’”

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KIPP Colorado Alumnus Joins KIPPster Policy Fellowship

Posted Monday, December 18, 2017

KIPP Colorado alumnus and current Colorado State University student, Brandon Gonzalez, will join a cohort of KIPPsters for an internship on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC this summer as part of the third annual KIPPster Federal Policy Fellowship Program. Through this program, he will gain invaluable first-hand knowledge of the inner-workings of our nation’s government. 

The opportunity is part of KIPP’s mission to prepare students for success through college and in the competitive world beyond. This means doing more than simply preparing students for the academic demands of college. Instead, our nationally-recognized KIPP Through College team supports alumni during their entire college career, for up to six years, helping students find meaningful programs and experiences that truly prepare them for success in whatever path they choose after completing college. 

Brandon wants to be engaged in the policy arena because he wants to see a path towards citizenship for undocumented immigrants. “There are thousands of others like myself who would take advantage of the privilege to vote and excercise their right and vote for more progressive pieces of legislation," he said. 

In addition to giving him resume-boosting work experience, Brandon’s internship will help provide real-world context for his current studies in college. 

Brandon, and All KIPPster Federal Policy Fellows, will receive financial resources to help cover the cost of living and business expenses, including housing at George Washington University, public transportation assistance, business attire, a bi-monthly paycheck, and field lessons. 

To learn more about the KIPPster Federal Policy Fellowship Program, click here.

 

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Team and Family Profile: KSPA School Leader, Michael Kreger

Posted Thursday, November 30, 2017

For the 2017-18 school year, KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy welcomed Michael Kreger as its new school leader. Mr. Kreger has been part of the KIPP Colorado Team & Family for five years, first as an 8th grade reading teacher at KSPA, then as the founding assistant principal at KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy. Ascending to the school leader role at KSPA brings Mr. Kreger right back to where he wants to be. 

“There are other teachers and staff here that are so highly qualified,” Kreger said. “The fact that I get to be their leader is super humbling to me. The same with our families; our families are so amazing that I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.” 

Mr. Kreger has a unique background, having worked in both Far Northeast Denver and Southwest Denver. To him, the KIPP Team & Family is about leveraging relationships across Denver to learn from each other and share school protocols and models. 

With his father working in the Navy, Mr. Kreger attended at least 10 different schools during his K-12 education, giving him a sense of the many factors that can help foster a love of learning and student achievement. 

“I went to some really great schools and also to some schools where I really struggled,” he said, “that’s something that shapes the way I look at things when creating policies and building a school that seeks to create an environment where students can be successful.”

Mr. Kreger’s priorities this year are to strengthen community and family engagement by helping to build KIPP Sunshine Peak’s Family Association. He also hopes KSPA can host community-run events once every trimester. 

“If we can get that right this year, we will be rooted in greatness,” Mr. Kreger said. 

Additionally, KSPA engages students beyond the classroom with enrichment programs offering everything from drones to guitar to screen printing. Mr. Kreger sees these programs as a tool not only to honor diversity and the shared experience of the students, but also to help students be successful and creative in overcoming challenges in and out of the classroom. 

To Mr. Kreger the ideal vision for KSPA is an equitable, inclusive, joyful space with high results, which he believes can be driven by everyone at KSPA—not just the school leader. 

Mr. Kreger maintains finds his own joy factor by making sure he has plenty of time to spend with students. He monitors 5th grade lunch each day and tries to spend as much time in classrooms as he can. 

“I’ve never had a job that feels so rewarding,” he said. 

 

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KIPPsters Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Our KIPP Team and Family celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with civil rights activist and feminist, Dolores Huerta! KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy 7th and 8th grade students attended a screening of Dolores the movie with their social studies teachers and members of our Advocacy and Community Engagement team. 

They also participated in a Q&A with her and asked her a question about what kind of sacrifices she made in raising her children and fighting for social change. Dolores Huerta cofounded the first farm workers union with Cesar Chavez and defied traditional female roles of her time. The movie tells the story of her commitment to social justice as an activist, a feminist and the mother of 11 children. 

Other KIPP schools also hosted Hispanic Heritage Month activities and events. KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy held the first meeting of its Latino Student Union and hosted a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration complete with a Ballet Folklórico performance by KIPPsters. The Latino Student Union will continue meeting throughout the year.

 

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Far Northeast Denver Campuses Celebrate New Facilities

Posted Wednesday, October 18, 2017

In September, KIPP Colorado schools in Far Northeast Denver celebrated their new campuses. 

KIPP Northeast Elementary and KIPP Northeast Denver Middle School celebrated the official opening of their new shared campus by hosting a BBQ and ribbon cutting ceremony for the KIPP Colorado Team and Family and members of the community. 

KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy and Strive Prep Academy, which both sit on the Regis Groff campus, honored the legacy of the late Regis Groff with his son Peter Groff and members of the Groff family.

Student Ambassadors led the Groff family on a tour of the campus, and Peter Groff gave a speech about the importance of education to his family. At the end of the ceremony, architects of the building presented the photos of the mural of Regis Groff. 

Regis Groff was an educator at Denver Public Schools, a politician and a civil servant.  In 1976, he was elected to his first full term in the Colorado State Senate and was the second African-American State Senator in Colorado history. Like his father, Peter Groff has had a notable career in politics. Peter served as the 47th President of the Colorado State Senate. He was the first African-American in Colorado to hold that position and the third African-American to ascend to the post in the nation’s history. He was also previously the director of the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U.S. Department of Education during the first term of President Barack Obama.

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