What DCPS can Learn from KIPP Charters


Recently, KIPP charter schools announced that they are working with colleges across the nation to help recruit KIPP graduates. The Washington Post reports that, “KIPP will promote the 20 colleges among its 39,000 students nationwide, and in exchange, the colleges will identify and recruit top KIPP students, help those who have financial need and ensure those who enroll stay on track to graduate.” DC universities such as Georgetown University and Trinity University pledged to identify top recruits from KIPP charters in DC. These students will have merits of academic achievement with expressed financial need, help universities diversify socio-economically, and the university help support these students to complete their bachelor’s degree.
Programs like these offer successful charter schools more of a competitive advantage for parents looking to optimize school-choice. While all charter schools may not be as successful of a brand as KIPP, there are some takeaway points to the culture of college readiness and aptitude that District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) can learn from. Many, as the Washington Post also reports in the article, claim that KIPP benefits from having more invested parents. Realistically, KIPP has policies that demand parental involvement and attentiveness. Arguably, increasing parental engagement and community involvement in DCPS could be easily replicated.
There is much published evidence to suggest a positive relationship between increasing parental involvement and achieving better school outcomes. There are published guidelines for schools to promote parental involvement policies.
Given the research, maybe DCPS should start ranking or assessing schools based on community involvement. DCPS has several new staff members that seem interested in incorporating greater parental involvement to improve DCPS schools. Efforts of increasing family engagement within schools is seem unmeasured and largely undocumented on both the DCPS and Office of the State Superintendent of Education's website.  
As the KIPP charters show, parental involvement is one aspect of school success. Parents are excited about their children’s learning at KIPP because the charter provides students quality education with outcomes of measurable educational attainment. The charter’s environment of success and academic achievement is reflected in parental involvement and later student educational attainment. KIPP’s policies regarding parental involvement are something DCPS needs to take notes on.


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