KIPP’s Path to College

KIPP Drumline at Tulsa Area United Way campaign kickoff. KIPP's path to college is discussed in an episode of the Live United podcast.

In the latest episode of Tulsa Area United Way’s weekly “Live United” podcast, “KIPP’s Path to College,” our guest is Darius Kirk, who serves as executive director of KIPP Tulsa Public Charter Schools, which is a proud TAUW partner agency.

Listen to the episode now at or wherever you enjoy podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Together with families and communities, KIPP Tulsa identifies Tulsa Public Schools students who are least likely to earn a college degree. Then its caring staff provides students the college preparatory education and support required to earn one. And so that means offering reading and math intervention and homework support. It also means extracurricular activities, including athletics, robotics, and, of course, the renowned KIPP Tulsa Drum Line. The “Live United” episode actually features audio of the drum line in action at TAUW’s 2021 campaign kickoff event in early October.

In addition, KIPP is providing robust support for social, emotional learning and an identity-affirming and culturally relevant learning environment for the more than 90% of students who identify as Black or Latinx.

During the “Live United” episode, Darius told the story of a KIPP student named Joseph.

“He was in the inaugural class of KIPP in 2005,” Darius said. “He struggled so much, but he was still determined to stay in, even though he was struggling.”

Last year, Darius received a surprise call from Joseph, who he hadn’t heard from in years.

Joseph told Darius on the phone, “I just graduated from college, and because of the impact that you made on my life, I want to give back as a KIPP teacher.
You didn’t give up on me. You pushed me. And I want to do that for others.”

After telling Joseph’s story, Darius said, “That, to me, is a story that I will carry for the rest of my life.”

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