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KIPP Principal Training Rooted in ‘Real-World’ Practice

Posted on January 21, 2015 // KIPP Aspire Academy, KIPP Camino Academy, KIPP Esperanza, KIPP Un Mundo, KIPP University Prep,

KIPP, or the Knowledge Is Power Program, is known for its size—162 schools and 59,000 students nationally and growing—as well as its track record of getting solid test scores out of underprivileged urban and rural schoolchildren.

But a lesser-known, equally distinctive feature of the network is its principal-training programs. With the same focus and intensity that KIPP applies to expanding its schools and improving achievement, it has developed a comprehensive leadership-training program that has become sought after by other charter networks and regular school districts.

On a recent morning, a principal and teacher at Rise Academy—a KIPP charter school named for a Maya Angelou poem in this New Jersey city—are discussing the academic performance and personal struggles of a student. During the conversation, Principal David Branson pulls up a series of metrics on a large computer monitor mounted on the wall by his desk. Hovering his mouse over a set of numbers, he asks the teacher, “How concerned are we about this?” referring to metrics tracking grades, homework completion, and discipline…

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