Posted by Steven Levin on February 25, 2016 at 7:03 PM
On February 23, teachers, students and families from KIPP Raíces Academy, a charter school in East Los Angeles, gathered to celebrate the school being named a 2015 National Blue Ribbon School award by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).
KIPP Raíces Academy was the only school in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and one of only 33 schools in California to receive a 2015 Blue Ribbon award. The East Los Angeles elementary school was chosen as an “Exemplary High Performing School” based on its achievement on state assessments.
“KIPP Raíces Academy has shown what is possible for public education in East LA,” said LAUSD school board member Mónica García. “It is clear that this community of dedicated educators and students has raised the bar, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be here today to celebrate this very bright spot in our community.”
KIPP Raíces Academy, founded in 2008, currently serves 545 students in grades K-4 — 85 percent of who are from low-income families and 96 percent of who are Latino. In 2015, KIPP Raíces students exceeded the averages for both the district and the state on the state assessment exam, with 82 percent of the school’s students meeting or exceeding the standards in math and 78 percent meeting or exceeding the standards in English Language Arts.
“It’s such an honor and a privilege to celebrate KIPP Raíces Academy being named a Blue Ribbon School,” said Amber Young Medina, who founded KIPP Raíces Academy in 2008 and served as the school’s principal until 2014. “I am beyond thrilled that the students and teachers at KIPP Raíces have been recognized for all of their hard work.”
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors schools that achieve very high learning standards or are making notable achievements in closing the achievement gap. KIPP Raíces Academy was one of only 285 public schools in the country to receive the 2015 award.
“This award is a testament to what can happen in East LA when a public school is seen as a joyful place, where learning is celebrated and possibilities are endless,” said current KIPP Raíces Academy school leader Chelsea Zegarski. “I am so proud of our students, families, and staff for the work that they do every day to make this vision a reality.”
KIPP Raíces is a part of KIPP LA, a network of six middle schools and seven elementary schools serving over 6,000 students and alumni throughout South and East Los Angeles. Ninety-one percent of KIPP LA students are eligible for the federal free or reduced price meals program, and 99 percent are African American or Latino. Nearly 95 percent of students who finished 8th grade at KIPP LA have graduated from high school, and more than 75 percent of college-aged alumni are persisting in college.
KIPP is a national network of college-preparatory, public charter schools serving nearly 70,000 students in 183 KIPP schools. Nationwide, KIPP students complete college at a rate that is above the national average for all students and four times higher than students of similar economic backgrounds.