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KIPP Charlotte

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

You all know I’m a huge fan of KIPP Charlotte, right?  It’s a public charter school that’s part of a network of 82 KIPP schools across the country.  The goal: to close the achievement gap that exists in our underserved communities, to send these students to college, and for the students to then change the world.  It’s no small feat but it’s the attitude, that this is totally do-able, that is revolutionary!

I’m a volunteer and board member of KIPP Charlotte.  And today we had our first big community fundraiser.  We only get 75% of our funding from state and federal aid; the rest we have to raise.  The money goes towards a higher salary for our teachers, because they teach from 7:30 until 5 and every other Saturday.  It funds field trips for our students to visit college campuses.  It pays for books and supplies.  And it helps to cover our infrastructure costs.

Today’s breakfast was a big deal.  We have a $600,000 fundraising goal needed just to finish the year.

This morning we heard from Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP, a KIPP Gaston graduate who’s in college now, and Kahari, a current student of KIPP Charlotte.  They were all so inspiring.  But the big surprise came from Larry Polsky, from the Levine Foundation, when he announced the gift of $300,000.  That money is critical for our small school that has enormous dreams for our students.

I met Larry when he came to KIPP Charlotte for a recent site visit.  I’m such a fan of the school I must have talked his ear off that day.  I told him about many of the school’s attributes, including that at KIPP Charlotte, it’s cool to be smart.  To my surprise, during his speech about why the Levine Foundation was giving such a generous donation, he made, “it’s cool to be smart” his theme.

Friends, visit a KIPP school!  It’ll be a wise move on your part because, like me, the experience will forever change what you know to be possible in education.