When Fordham-sponsored KIPP: Journey Academy first opened in fall 2008, community leaders and school faculty knew it would not be an easy task to get the inaugural class of “Kippsters” on the road to college. A majority of these students hailed from disadvantaged homes and previously attended low-performing schools where hard work and perseverance were far from the norm.  Their state tests results were poor and some of their parents even had a hard time believing that their children could ever succeed.

The odds were against these students, but failure was never an option for the teachers and staff at KIPP. When the inaugural class of fifth graders walked through the door only 33 percent of them passed the state reading test. Fast forward to 2011 and after just two years at KIPP 73 percent of those same students passed the seventh-grade reading test-- a gain of 40 percentage points.  After many years of hard work and going out into the community to personally invite families and parents to enroll their students in KIPP, the school’s staff and board of directors watched the first class of eighth graders graduate from KIPP earlier this month.

Sixty-four eighth graders graduated from KIPP and will matriculate to some of the area’s best high schools. Come this fall students will begin their next step toward college when the begin at high- performing schools such as Columbus Alternative, St. Charles Preparatory School, Metro High School, and Columbus School for the Girls. Congratulations to these Kippsters. They are truly an example that hard work and dedication pay off – they are not only a symbol of hope and progress for their families, but for the Linden Park community and anyone who believes that the odds are against them.

Read more about KIPP: Journey Academy’s graduation celebration in this Columbus Dispatch op-ed by Federal Court Judge and Chair of the school’s governing board, Algenon Marbley.

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