KIPP St. Louis’s network of public charter schools is continuing to expand with the opening of a new high school, the first in the network, on Aug. 14.
The milestone was celebrated during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Aug. 15 which was attended by a wide variety of supporters and elected officials.
“I could not be more excited about this day,” said KIPP St. Louis Executive Director Kelly Garrett. “We know that when KIPP opens up a school our students, our alumni and other students in the region increases in their rate of high school completion. We see increases in their rate of college attendance, and we see massive increases in college completion.”
“This is a place where children are loved and we are so glad to be able to extend that from elementary school to high school,” said KIPP Board of Directors Secretary June Fowler. “A strong education system is important to the greater community. We retain talent in this community.”
The new school, co-led by Nicole Niewald and Tanesia Simmons, will start with a 9th grade class of 120 students and eventually grow to serve 720 students in 9th through 12th grade.
Niewald, a St. Louis native, is joining the KIPP St. Louis network after a leading the KIPP New York City College Prep High School to be ranked the #2 high school in New York state. Under her leadership, the school developed an academic program that included 16 different AP courses.
Simmons, also a St. Louis native, served as Dean of Operations for the Nobel Network of Charter Schools where her school has ranked in the top three Chicago public schools for the past five years.
KIPP is also celebrating the success of their founding class, the class of 2017. KIPP students, KIPPsters, attended 15 local high schools after graduating from KIPP and over 90 percent graduated from high school on time. Collectively the 65 graduates received more than $2.5 million in financial aid and will be attending over 20 different colleges and universities this fall.
KIPP now operates five elementary, middle and high schools in St. Louis including KIPP Wisdom Academy, KIPP Victory Academy, KIPP Triumph Academy, KIPP Inspire Academy and now KIPP St. Louis High School.
The network provides free education to 1,600 students.