KIPP: 3D Academy, Houston

KIPP:3D Academy is a college preparatory middle school located in Northeast Houston, Texas, in the United States, serving fifth through eighth-grade students. It is a charter school within the Houston Independent School District. The Academy is a public middle open enrollment charter school associated with KIPP—a nationally renowned network of high achieving public schools.

This is how the KIPP: 3D Academy in Houston, Texas, in the United States, describes its mission of meeting the needs of its community and meeting market demand.

What is a Charter School?

The principle is simple. The term ‘charter school’ means that the state has granted a charter or contract to a group or an organization to run a school that uses state funding to offer innovative learning opportunities with greater flexibility than traditional public schools. A charter school pledges to demonstrate satisfactory scholastic achievement in exchange for freedom from some of the regulations that apply to traditional public schools. A charter school’s achievement standards are generally equal to or higher than state and local standards for public schools. A particular charter school may also set other goals, such as reducing the number of dropouts or increasing the number of students who go on to college.

Power to Lead

The principals of KIPP Schools are effective academic and organizational leaders who understand that great schools require great school leaders. They have control over their school budget and personnel. They are free to swiftly move dollars or make staffing changes, allowing them maximum effectiveness in helping students learn.

The Knowledge is Power Program

The Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) is a college preparatory, public middle school network that begins working proactively with its students when they enter as fifth-graders. KIPP’s mission is to prepare students with the academic and character skills necessary to achieve success in high school, college, and the competitive world beyond. To achieve this goal, the KIPP philosophy encourages its students and their families to embrace an intense academic commitment as the key to students’ future success. KIPP students are among the hardest-working in the country; by choosing to enroll in KIPP instead of their locally zoned school, they commit to an extended school day that lasts from 7:25 am to 5:00 pm every weekday, with four additional hours on Saturday and three full weeks during the summer.

KIPP: 3D Academy, Houston

Our school was founded in 2001 as a response to the need for a better alternative to the current schools in Houston’s Fifth Ward area. We have grown steadily over the past years and look to continue to serve our students and their families.

Families in the poorest areas of Houston, Texas are demanding a choice in their children’s schooling. Frequently searching for an alternative to their zoned public school, often unable to pay tuition for private schools, parents are, in ever increasing numbers, enrolling their children in charter schools. Responding to this demand for choice, 3D Academy has built an academically intensive college preparatory middle school located in one of Houston’s poorer neighborhoods.

The mission of 3D Academy is a simple, yet powerful: To provide students with the knowledge, critical thinking, and character skills required to prepare them for the rigors of competitive high schools, colleges, and the world beyond. The mission is not easily accomplished; the students of 3D Academy learn that there are no shortcuts to realize these goals.

The success of 3D Academy stems from the students’ and faculty’s united commitment to hard work and academic excellence. We provide a choice in academic programs by offering an accelerated instructional curriculum …

Our success is not because we chooses the best students; in fact, incoming fifth graders are admitted regardless of their test scores. The only admission requirement for the academy is their willingness to sign and uphold the 3D Academy Commitment to Excellence. This contract say that the students, parents, and teachers will do everything in their power to support the education of the student. It is through this joint commitment that children in one of the poorest areas in Houston will break the cycle of poverty endemic in their neighborhoods, and choose instead the productive and self-directed lifestyle of the well-educated. As new students experience each scholastic success borne of their own efforts, their expectations of failure will gradually be replaced by an emerging self-confidence and anticipation of the personal power of accomplishment. Therefore, not only does 3D Academy contend that its students will score higher on state tests than those from neighboring areas, but the school also envisions witnessing its initial class of students, in its entirety, enter competitive universities throughout the country in the year 2009.

We know that our urban public schools are located in high poverty areas are in crisis, that is why 3D addresses children at a typically chaotic time in their lives – the middle school years. This is often a time in which many of our poor, urban children replace academic fervor with involvement in destructive influences such as drugs, gangs, teenage pregnancy, violence, and crime. 3D Academy focuses on children at the young age of nine or ten and supports and encourages them through the turbulent years of early adolescence.

3D Academy is located in Houston’s Fifth Ward, a neighborhood in which less than 20% of its children attend college and where a significant number of students speak English as a second language. A substantial majority of the students are below the poverty level, with many of the students eligible for the federal free breakfast and lunch program. 3D Academy provides them with the opportunity to replace the stigma associated with these programs with a personal pride and passion for learning. Students recognize that, in order to avoid the traps of stereotypes placed upon their people and culture, they must value their time in school, using it as a vehicle to transform their knowledge into power over their own destiny.