Submitted by Marcia Aaron, Executive Director, KIPP LA
Note: The information in this profile represents SY2011-12 unless otherwise indicated.
To see KIPP Empower Academy’s SY2010-11 profile, click here

School/organization overview

Name KIPP Empower Academy
Type Charter School
Locale Urban
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
First year of operation SY2010-11
Grades served K-1
Enrollment 230
% FRL 90%
% Black or Hispanic 94%
Per-pupil funding $6,572

School/organization background

History and context
KIPP LA Schools operates five college-preparatory charter schools serving elementary and middle school students in East and South Los Angeles. Its first two schools, KIPP Los Angeles College Prep and KIPP Academy of Opportunity, opened in the summer of 2003.

The mission of KIPP LA is to teach the academic skills, foster the intellectual habits, and cultivate the character traits needed for students to thrive in high school, college, and life.

In the fall of 2010, KIPP LA opened KIPP Empower Academy (KIPP Empower) serving kindergarten students (ultimately grades K–4) in South Los Angeles. KIPP Empower is the first school in the KIPP network to use a blended-school model. This decision to innovate on the traditional KIPP model was in reaction to cuts in already low public funding as a result of California’s budget crisis. In total, KIPP Empower lost $200,000 of planned public funding at the time.

Blended-learning program

Name N/A
Focus General
Year launched 2010-11
Outside investments/grants $366,667
Enrollment 230
Blended grades K-1
Blended subjects Math, English Language Arts, History/Social Studies, Science
Content DreamBox, iStation, Compass Learning,
SIS PowerSchool
Independent LMS Custom platform built by Education Elements and Agilix
Independent gradebook None
Independent assessment  STEP Literacy Assessment, MAP (NWEA), SAT-10
Professional development None

Program model

Program model: Station Rotation

Model description
Students rotate among individualized online-learning, teacher-led instruction, and collaborative activities and stations within each classroom.

Program description

Student experience
Inside the classroom, KIPP Empower Academy’s small group instructional model stems from the recognition that different students arrive to class each day with a range of abilities, backgrounds, and learning styles. A student arriving at KIPP Empower experiences an extended school day from 7:45AM to 4:15PM. For KIPP Empower’s four core subject areas – reading, writing, math, and science – students rotate in small, ability-based groups among instructional modalities in the classroom. Students generally receive instruction in groups of 14 or less, and reading is taught in groups of 6-10. Most rotations include student time on computers, which are purposefully located in the classroom to reduce transition time and promote a more integrated learning experience. Each rotation also varies across grades, groups, and subjects as teachers differentiate group size and instruction based on the level of each group. Through small group instruction, teachers gain a greater window into each student’s experience and can target more specific content to each student’s needs. Teachers notice and can adjust when students speed ahead, and when students struggle they can more quickly offer assistance.

Academic results remained very strong for KIPP Empower Academy in 2011-12. On the SAT-10 97% of kinder students were in the top two quartiles in reading with 91% in the top quartile (75th percentile). In math, 98% were in the 50th percentile and 91% in the 75th percentile. In first grade reading 96% and 79% were in the 50th and 75th percentile, respectively. In first grade math 97% and 87% were in the 50th and 75th percentiles, respectively. On the MAP test, in reading 74% of kinder students and 86% of first grade students were in the 50th percentile and 58% and 46% were in the 75th percentile. In math, 77% of kinder students and 83% of first grade students were in the 50th percentile and 49% of kinder and 35% of first grade students were in the 75th percentile.

We continue to believe that blended learning will help KIPP Empower Academy become sustainable when it reaches full enrollment in 2015. Our cost per student fell 33% in year two compared with year one due in part to a doubling of the number of students and lower investment in blended learning infrastructure. We believe that the cost per student will fall approximately 19% in 2013 as we make prudent cuts to staffing and increase our student/teacher ratio.

Contact information

Name: Marcia Aaron
Title: Executive Director, KIPP LA


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