Note: The information in this profile represents SY2010-11 unless otherwise indicated.

School/organization overview

Name KIPP Empower Academy
Type Charter school
Locale Urban
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
First year of operation
Grades served K
Enrollment 115
% FRL 92% (KIPP LA)
% Black or Hispanic 99% (KIPP LA)
Per-pupil funding $7,095 (KIPP LA)

Blended-learning program

Name N/A
Focus General
Year launched SY2010-11
Outside investments/grants $30,000
Enrollment 115
Blended grades
Blended subjects
Math, English Language Arts, History/Social Studies, Science
Content iStation, Compass Learning,, StudyIsland
SIS PowerSchool
Independent LMS Custom platform built by Education Elements and Agilix
Independent gradebook None
Independent assessment STEP Literacy Assessment, MAP (NWEA)
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 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 model
At KIPP Empower, blended learning occurs within the core academic classroom. In its first year, the school has four classes, each serving 28 or 29 students. Each classroom is equipped with 15 computers. Throughout the day the teacher rotates students among the computers, small-group instruction, and individualized instruction. During teacher-led instruction, group size is under 14 students per group for reading, math, writing, and science. Students on the computer use iStation, Compass Learning,, Study Island, and other adaptive learning programs. KIPP Empower’s leaders believe that this adaptive-technology approach, coupled with enhanced individualized attention from the classroom teacher, will result in academic results equal to or greater than those of the traditional KIPP model.

KIPP Empower is working with Anthony Kim of EdElements to develop a learning platform that will enable the following: (1) single sign-on capability for students and teachers; (2) efficient administration of online learning; and (3) actionable reporting of online learning data that can be used by teachers to inform future individualization.

Traditional KIPP LA elementary schools have student-to-teacher ratios of 20-to-1. Through its blended-learning model, KIPP Empower is able to increase this ratio by eight students and eliminate one classroom, resulting in additional revenue of $140,000 and reduced expenses of $100,000.

Notable results
KIPP Empower is in its first year of operations, but has begun to experience promising results. At the start of the school year, only 9 percent of students tested as proficient or advanced on the STEP Literacy Assessment. Halfway through the year, 78 percent scored proficient or advanced. KIPP LA will make future results available as the program continues.

On the horizon
By 2012, KIPP LA plans to increase from five to seven schools and from 1,300 to 1,750 students served. After this phase of growth, the organization plans to open seven additional schools to reach a total of 14 schools servings 6,000 students.


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