KIPP Academy Middle School is the original KIPP middle school founded in Houston. Its roots go back to 1994, when Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin first began KIPP in Garcia Elementary in Houston, Texas. As the founding school, KIPP Academy Middle School tries to stay true to KIPP's two basic rules: be nice and work hard.
For almost two decades, we've been getting better and better at teaching students how to be good people - how to "be nice." We focus on appreciation, patience, humility, and several other character traits, because it's not enough to simply help kids get smarter. We want our kids to make a positive difference in the world, and in order to do that, they need to be generous, thoughtful, courageous, and nice.
With a long track record of teaching kids to be nice, we have recently been doubling down on our efforts to help make sure our kids work hard. In fact, KIPP Academy has been implementing new systems and curricula to make sure that kids are not only learning to work hard, but also to make sure that their hard work prepares them to be successful in high school and college. This has included a stronger emphasis on differentiated reading instruction, cross-curricular writing initiatives, more science and engineering projects, a more rigorous math program, and a wider offering of Spanish classes to put students on track to take AP Spanish and Literature in high school. At the start of the 2012-13 school year, all teachers at KIPP Academy began using a standards based grading approach that includes differentiated assessments. We believe strongly in what John Dewey said a century ago: "If we teach today as we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow."