Carmen Ward’s son Paul is currently a junior at KIPP High School and has been at KIPP since the 5th grade.
Paul was diagnosed with Autism at the age of 5. He left private school and entered the St. Louis public school system in the 1st grade. Paul went to several elementary schools but had challenges at each school because he was in a self-contained classroom. He began to mimic the behavior of his peers and began to regress.
Then Carmen became aware of charter schools. Paul ended up at KIPP Academy in the 2013-14 school year. When Paul arrived he was performing below his age level and didn’t have a suitable IEP to meet his educational, social and emotional goals. KIPP advocated for Paul, pushed Paul, encouraged Paul, nurtured his gifts and found resources deep within him that he didn’t know existed nor did Carmen.
Today Paul is a founding junior at KIPP high school. He has one special friend and a strong family support system at KIPP. His reading has improved beyond Carmen’s expectations and she is seeing drastic improvements in his basic mathematic retention.
Carmen has become a major advocate for reimagining education in Missouri, testifying before multiple committees in Jefferson City, rallying members of her community in north St. Louis, and putting a face on the benefits of charter schools in statewide media.