I am happy to see this post from edReformer about KIPP Empower Academy‘s stellar results from its blended-learning pilot. In the white paper titled The Rise of K-12 blended learning, we profiled the Empower Academy as one of 40 emerging blended-learning operators. KIPP opened the school in the fall of 2010, so at the time of publication of our report, the program was still too new to offer substantial results. Now having completed year one, the Empower Academy reports that 96 percent of its students are proficient at or above grade level in reading, compared to only 9 percent at the beginning of the year.

How did they do it? Here is the description of the Empower Academy program that we published in our report:

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, Learning.com, 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 20:1.  Through its blended-learning model, KIPP Empower is able to increase this ratio by 8 students and eliminate one classroom, resulting in additional revenue of $140,000 and reduced expenses of $100,000.

Congratulations KIPP LA!


  • Heather Staker
    Heather Staker

    Heather Staker is an adjunct fellow at the Christensen Institute, specializing in K–12 student-centered teaching and blended learning. She is the co-author of "Blended" and "The Blended Workbook." She is the founder and president of Ready to Blend, and has authored six BloomBoard micro-credentials for the “Foundations of Blended Learning” educator micro-endorsement.