KIPP/Plan II Honors Partnership (TC 126)
Work hard. Be nice.
KIPP is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools dedicated to preparing student in underserved communities for success in college and in life. There are currently 82 KIPP schools in 19 states and the District of Columbia serving more than 21,000 students.
KIPP builds a partnership among parents, students, and teachers that puts learning first. By providing outstanding educators, more time in school learning, and a strong culture of achievement, KIPP is helping all students climb the mountain to and through college.
Every day, KIPP students across the nation are proving that demographics do not define destiny. Eighty percent of our students are from low-income families and eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program, and 90 percent are African American or Latino. Nationally, more than 90 percent of KIPP middle school students have gone on to college-preparatory high schools, and over 85 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college.
The KIPP-Plan II Partnership History:
In the spring of 2007, seventeen Plan II students embarked on a partnership with KIPP (“Knowledge is Power Program”) Austin College Prep, a local middle school serving primarily low-income and minority students in Austin. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas facilitated matching each Plan II student with a “KIPPster” in an effort to form lasting bonds between mentor & mentee.
KIPP Austin was established to meet the needs and desires of the East Austin community where a lack of opportunity has traditionally impeded the path to college for the area's young people. KIPP strives to instill in its students a passion for academic success and an understanding that college is an attainable and valuable goal. Each Plan II mentor encourages this message through weekly trips to visit his/her mentee at KIPP and periodic group trips to the school.
Grant Thomas is a career educator whose major focus for the past 29 years has been on systematic strategies for youth empowerment and service. He started the original PAL (Peer Assistance and Leadership) Program in Austin ISD in 1980, and guided its growth into a national model peer-mentoring program that has been implemented by hundreds of school districts throughout Texas and the nation. In 1994 he established YouthLaunch, an Austin-based youth empowerment nonprofit, and served as its Executive Director for nine years. A former board member of the National Association of Peer Programs, he currently serves on the boards of both YouthLaunch and KIPP Austin. His educational background includes a B.A. from Princeton, magna cum laude (1967); an Ed. M. from Harvard (1974); and four years of graduate study in educational psychology at UT (1976-80).
The Course in Context: A Model Program for Civic Engagement at Plan II
While its primary focus is on the mentoring partnership with KIPP, the course is part of a broader effort known as Plan II Praxis, whose goal is the development of a multifaceted, model program for civic engagement and service at Plan II.
In the service of this goal, it is our hope and intent that Plan II's partnership with KIPP can serve as a model for the development of additional Plan II partnerships with other organizations, addressing other service-related issues, opportunities and needs. What develops in this process can serve as an inspiration and resource to the broader student community at Plan II and UT, and perhaps as a model to other colleges and universities as well.