Case Study: Culture at KIPP King Collegiate

With extended school days, rigorous academic standards, and a firm disciplinary code, expectations are high, but so is the commitment to help every student succeed in school, in college, and beyond.

With extended school days, rigorous academic standards, and a firm disciplinary code, expectations are high, but so is the commitment to help every student succeed in school, in college, and beyond.

Release Date: 8/25/11

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Case Study: Culture at KIPP King Collegiate (transcript)

Jason Singer: Culture at this school is not something that adults steward for kids. Culture at King is something kids do for all of us. Kate Belden is our assistant principal of student support. She facilitates culture in this building. And Kate's in charge of everything that leverages the critical thinking that our kids have developed, and focuses them on our virtues as kind of a filter.

Kate Belden: So the four virtues that we focus on here at our school are wisdom, justice, courage and humanity. In leadership we talk a lot about just how we can build and foster those virtues within the school. They watched a film last week, the movie 'Pay It Forward.' And so they're gonna be kinda using that film as a jumping off ground to discuss those concepts.

Gabriela: My name is Gabriela Ballesteros. I'm in eleventh grade. I'm a junior and I go to Kipp King Collegiate High School.

Kate Belden: So Gabi came to us from a traditional middle school, so a non Kipp middle school.

Gabriela: It was horrible. It was a lotta gangs and a lot of bad things and drugs and all that stuff. Like everywhere, you would just see it everywhere.

Kate Belden: In the ninth grade year, really struggled academically. She's also an English language learner.

Gabriela: When I first came here, it was totally different. I didn't expect it to be this way. It was like really strict.

Kate Belden: And this year has been, you know, really-- doing really well. She's stepping up in her leadership all the time.

Gabriela: -- the idea of 'Pay It Forward' is more powerful than him, because even when he chose to take on his--

Kate Belden: The last two years, she's really just started to own who she is as a person, who she can be as a leader, and I think that's been pretty transformative for her too.

Gabriela: I'm mostly proud of everything I've accomplished here. Like just all the hard work.

I have accomplished so much. I used to like just not care, but they say it'll be worth it, and now I realize that it is worth it.

Jason Singer: I think what makes these transformation predictable, I think what is kind of the foundation of what happens at King, is that every day that our kids walk through those double doors and come into the school, they know every adult they see throughout the day is someone who knows that they're capable of succeeding at the level of expectation that's held for them.

Kate Belden: I think that when every teacher believes truly that all the students in the building can and will learn, and they're devoted to doing that, day in and day out, not only is it more fun and more joyful to be in the building and to learn and to teach, but it works.

Gabriela: Well, going to college for me, it means a lot, 'cause I'll be the first one in my family to go. It'll mean a lot to my mom. She struggled so much with me, and just even for me, 'cause I know what I wanna do in life. But I just-- I don't know how to get there yet.

Kate Belden: I mean, I definitely see Gabi going to college. I think she would be-- I think Gabi would be a great teacher.

Gabriela: I wanna be a teacher.

It lightens up my heart how much they do for us, that I wanna do the same. Help people that are like me.


Video Credits


  • Zachary Fink


  • Mariko Nobori


  • Nick Francis

Associate Producer

  • Doug Keely


  • Hervé Cohen

Video Programming Producer

  • Amy Erin Borovoy

© 2011 | The George Lucas Educational Foundation | All Rights Reserved

Comments (4)

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Technology Coordinator

Thank you for responding! I

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Thank you for responding! I am currently not aware of charter schools with large populations that meet with your level of success. As these models are being promoted more frequently, I would welcome more studies, research and data on them versus public schools. However from my own experience and seeing success elsewhere, I tend to think that smaller schools capture success more easily. Again, thank you for taking the time.

I believe it is scalable

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CJMBS, thanks for asking a question that I suspect is on the minds of many who view this video and go through this package. I am the principal of KIPP King and I have to say that I believe this is scalable - not easy (nothing worth doing is), but definitely possible. This model is pervasive throughout our school and is built into the schedule as a school wide endeavor for an hour on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We currently do this to great success with 460 students and roughly 30 teachers which is our entire school. As with anything, it takes a deep, systemic commitment to extensive training and support as well as thoughtful hiring.

It is definitely an endeavor that gets easier as you succeed. Our students want this time. For the most part they love it. Our teachers work hard at it and when they do it quickly becomes their favorite part of the day as well.

There have been a number of times when we have asked the same question about scaling something beyond one classroom to the whole school. Just when I think X number is too large for any one thing I think of two things.

First, I think about how much stronger our students will be in the college classrooms they frequent and the power of influence they will have once we have provided them with the opportunity under consideration.

For some reason, I also always think about the closing ceremonies to the Bejing Olympics. As offbeat and crazy as that sounds, it was flawless, precise, high energy execution at a scale that still baffles me and inspires me to believe that anything is possible. You can pick your own vehicle for inspiration, but I think having one is important when you undertake a daunting challenge for which everyone has at least one excuse why you shouldn't do it.

Please know that our doors are always open to you and we love visitors. It is fun to see this in practice.

Managing Editor and Producer

Re: This appears to be a small class

Was this helpful?

CJMBS: That is an excellent question and I have reached out to KIPP for their response. Please stay tuned!

Technology Coordinator

This appears to be a small class

Was this helpful?

Has KIPP replicated this on a large scale? I'm at a building with 800 students and over 125 educational professions, there are another 25 support staff. I would like to know the largest population that such a program has been implemented and if strategies or methods will be shared.

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