Written by Steve Osborne, corps member at KIPP: Aspire Academy
City Year’s presence and partnership works well at KIPP because both cultures have similar practices and themes. Their raffle tickets are just like City Year’s Swag Tags during Basic Training Academy. The self-accountability they instill in the student is similar to our goal in obtaining “Starfish Stories.” Our partnership, then, is a strengthening of those practices. The KIPP corps for this year has created initiatives that take mark cards, for example, into account. One of our favorites is the City Year Student of the Week, which awards a highly improved student with wearing the coveted Red Vest.
Of course, City Year is not KIPP’s only partner in education. KIPP: Aspire Academy (along with KIPP: Camino, KIPP: Un Mundo, and KIPP: University Prep in San Antonio) exists mainly because of the support it gets from non-public funds. The schools receive less public funds than a traditional public school, but are able to maintain their operations through the generous support of various foundations, corporations, and organizations.
The San Antonio Food Bank, for example, provides snacks and other food items to KIPP students. A great number of corporations, along with their affiliated foundations, have made generous contributions to the schools as well. Former Spurs players George Gervin and David Robinson have contributed to the schools, among many other individual donors. In fact, the KIPP San Antonio website allows anyone to make a private donation to the schools. In this sense, KIPP operates just as a non-profit like City Year operates: through the contributions of any and all entities, no matter how big or small.
KIPP is, indeed, a school that has an amazing structure and culture. However, it must be stressed that the teachers and City Year corps members at the school must work hard each day to mold these kids into the successful people we see in them. We strive to make them responsible, successful and civic-minded adults on a daily basis, and our hard work is what makes the structure and culture work.
Marshmallows and mark cards alone don’t matter without the care and practices of supportive corps members, teachers and administration.