KIPP CEO reacts to SRC's vote to partly expand school

In his message to staff and supporters, Marc Manella, CEO of KIPP Philadelphia Charter School, reacts to the SRC's decision to approve in part the school's expansion. The school can rest a little easier, he says, but there's still more work to be done.

Last night, the School Reform Commission voted to grant part of KIPP's request to expands its grades to the 9th grad. 

Last night, only 4 of the 22 charter modification requests were voted on. It was explained that our proposal was voted on because we had taken the bold step to enroll students in our grade K and 9, and therefore the District couldn't wait any longer to make the decision on the rest of our request.

The other requests will not be voted on until April. And they only intend to vote on the proposals that come from schools whose test scores are in the top 20% of the city. We will request that the School District grant us the final grades for both Academies.

Still, there are many charter schools this morning that are not celebrating, and many parents and educators that feel disenfranchised and left in the cold.

Yet we were able to sleep easy last night, and we are celebrating today for one reason: the power of belief.

Yes, our national brand and our local record mattered. But those things would not have helped if not for Mr. Speicher and Mr. Bass believing that, despite not getting final word until June 16th of last year, they could still open high-quality schools, schools that were as good as our children deserved.

Their belief alone would have been for naught if not for the fact every single staff member at each of those schools believed, and stayed with us despite no assurances that these schools would open at all. And this belief alone would have also been inconsequential if not for the fact that every single parent of all 180 students at KPEA and KDCA believed.

They entrust us with the single most important thing in their life every day, and despite being told there was no guarantee for next year, (not to metion the parents at the elementary school who were told August 3 they would have to take their child clear across the town just to attend) they still enrolled their children, and helped in the fight to ensure their child would be KIPPsters for years to come.

Collectively, these incredibly courageous and inspirational people took a leap of faith. And last night, that leap of faith was rewarded.


(The original message was edited.)