GASTON — Jessica Reid admits when she first started at KIPP Gaston College Preparatory, she didn’t want to be there.

“I felt like KIPP was just a waste of time,” she said.

Now a senior, Reid is not only proud of the education she has received, but also feels other students in the state should have access to a good education.

Reid and 77 members of the civics class at KIPP will be addressing the General Assembly in Raleigh at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday about their school’s success in narrowing the achievement gap in one of the most under-served rural regions of the state.

The presentation is open to the public and will take place in the North Carolina Legislative building auditorium, 16 West Jones Street in Raleigh. 

If Senate Bill 8 is approved, it would remove the 100-school cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state. It would also establish a Public Schools Charter School Commission and make it easier for charter schools to expand enrollments.  

The state Senate passed the bill, and it is now in the House.

“I feel like this is the greatest,” Reid said. “We feel every child in North Carolina should have the opportunity to have a quality education. It should be accessible to everyone.”

She added she gets emotional when she sees children not able to get a good education.

Senior Andrew Sanguillen said a lot of responsibility is being placed on them, but they are prepared and ready.

“Our influence could change whether they pass or not pass the bill,” he said.

Junior Rebeccah Batts is looking forward to telling her story and representing charter schools.

Batts came from another county to become a student at KIPP.

Her only regret is when she passed up an opportunity to attend the school in the fifth grade.

She joined the school for 10th grade.

“It’s been eye-opening,” she said. “I see how I was then and how I am now. I see how much I’ve grown.”

Founded in 2001 by Caleb Dolan and Tammi Sutton, KIPP Gaston College Preparatory was one of the first KIPP charter schools in the country. 

The school has more than 600 students in grades fifth through 12th and is one of the highest performing public schools in the state.

The first two graduating classes had 100 percent of the seniors accepted into at least one college or university.

Sutton said having the students speak will allow legislators to learn more about the experiences of actual charter school students.

“I am extremely proud of the students,” she said.

“They are not only advocating for charter schools, but also for educational opportunities for everyone.”

After their return, Sutton said they will keep tabs on how the bill is doing.

Batts said she hopes they can stress what has been instilled in them at KIPP.

“At KIPP, we are not only prepared to get into college, but also to graduate,” Batts said.

While in Raleigh, local students will tour the capital, have a criminal law discussion with an attorney and have dinner with legislators and members of the Wake County Board of Education.

(20) comments




Practical, the commitment students have at KIPP towards gaining the best education possible even if that means attending school til 5:00 is unlike anything seen in most public schools. These students no upfront they will have to make sacrifices, mainly in their social life, in order to be prepared for success in college and are more than willing to make these sacrifices. The teachers are energetic and excited about seeing ALL students succeed and actively teach students rather than sit behind their desk and assign "read and answer the questions at the end of the chapter" lessons. Another big part of the success of KIPP is that parents have to sign a contract (along with the student) stating they will be involved in their child's education and also that they are aware of the expectations of their child. Misbehavior is addressed quickly and severely. KIPP/GCP is a wonderful school.


Why cann't all schools be like Kipp?The answer lies in the laws of North Carolina.1. Charters are not held to the strict laws like the Public Schools.2. Sutton has all applicants take a "performance test" ensuring she only gets the cream of the crop students from the surrounding area. State laws require a lottery for admittance, so Kipp rigs their lottery with only high performing students.3. So who is going to educate the rest of the children????Don't ALL CHILDREN deserve an education?That should be your question PRACTICAL!


To answer your question, parents meet the expectations of KIPP without questioning anything. The expectations of KIPP are high, but when those same expectations are given in regular public schools, parents and students rebel. The same students that are performing well at KIPP performed well at their regular public school. The question should be why do parents worship a school that does the exact same thing as public schools? Parents will not buy a simple t-shirt in public school or even sign an agenda, but they will buy many shirts and sweaters at KiPP and sign contracts to attend KIPP. It is not the school, it is parents and students. KIPP teaches the same subjects, have the same teachers, but parents change when they get there. They follow rules, kids follow rules, they even agree to harsh punishments that public schools can't do.


Because KIPP does not have to deal with behavioral issues! They pick and choose students from public schools that want to excel and learn.


"Kipp Parent" is absolutely right. To "Truth": my child was selected in the lottery and I can tell you she was NOT a high performing student and never took any performance test. She had never made honor roll until just last quarter at GCP. One key is the amazing support system this school has. Expectations are set high and students are encouraged continuously to meet them. And YES all children should receive a high quality education which is why lifting the cap is what GCP wants.


One problem in this area is that a child cannot receive equal quality education at some (not all) area schools. This fact has been recognized and addressed in a court of law by Judge Manning. BUT blame should not lie solely on the schools and teachers but also on the PARENTS. Let's face it some parents will not and don't care to change. I don't really see the 'school worshipping' just 100% mutual support for each other and pride. I agree it takes 'parents and students changing' but it also takes enforcing school rules/policies. The teachers make a difference and expect the change. And its a change for the better.


I have 2 daughters attending GCP/KIPP. Both have been in since 5th grade, one being in 10th and the other in 9th now. Neither of my children had to take a test to enter, they were put on the registration list and then when the time came for the students to be enrolled, they were involved in the lottery. I wasn't sure if my 2nd daughter would make it in. Her name was pulled 73rd out of 90 possibilities. So TRUTH, get your facts straight. They do not pick and choose who attends. Your child has just as much right and access to this school as any other child. The school is not perfect and has its issues just like any other school. The difference is how the issue is addressed and who is held responsible. The kids and the parents are just as responsible for their education as the teacher/school is.


In reply to the comments made by "Response" , which I have typed between quotes."The expectations of KIPP are high, but when those same expectations are given in regular public schools, parents and students rebel."As a parent with children that have been in regular public schools in this area, I can tell you this is NOT true. One of the reasons I enrolled my children in KIPP was due to disciplinary problems and the outright threatening environment my children were exposed to in regular public schools. The parents and students that rebel against disciplinary measures in regular public schools are the ones that tend to stay, not leave. "The question should be why do parents worship a school that does the exact same thing as public schools?"This reflects a very real ignorance about the KIPP school environment and curriculum. While my children attended regular public schools, they received very little instruction in history/social studies and science, while a vast amount of time was spent on the areas of reading and math. Also, writing skills were TOTALLY ignored. Currently, at KIPP, my children now receive a very thorough education in ALL subjects, providing them a much more well-rounded education. The teaching and learning standards in all subjects are much more rigorous at KIPP than in the regular public schools my children have attended.The comments from "Response" is a prime example of the result of the type of education received in "regular" public schools in this area - very little depth and factual understanding.


In response to the question posed by "PRACTICAL"."WHY CANT OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS MODEL THEMSELVES AFTER KIPP CHARTER SCHOOL??"You have to understand that most of the public school districts in this area receive a lot their funding based on student failure and low expectations (For starters, Google "Leandro vs. State of North Carolina" and "Title II education funding" ). Providing an education that raises the level of ability of students beyond this would result in the loss of much of this funding, which would in turn threaten the job security of many administrators and teachers. This creates a culture in the schools that directly and indirectly perpetuates student failure and low expectations. Basically, like the kids used to say "it's all about the Benjamins". It's NOT about this kids. If it were truly about the kids, the traditional public schools would try and learn from KIPP, and be honest about the real problems public schools face instead of constantly seeking more money to sustain a dysfunctional system.


Here is my response to the comments made by "Truth" that are typed in quotes :"1. Charters are not held to the strict laws like the Public Schools."This is true, which in turn begs the question, why don't public schools lobby the State legislature to reform the laws they must operate by, after all, they spend plenty of time and money lobbying other laws that do nothing to help children. For the answer to that question, see my response to "PRACTICAL", assuming it will be posted."2. Sutton has all applicants take a "performance test" ensuring she only gets the cream of the crop students from the surrounding area. State laws require a lottery for admittance, so Kipp rigs their lottery with only high performing students."NOT TRUE, my children were NEVER given a performance test for their admittance to KIPP, they were placed on the waiting list and admitted when their turn came, just like everyone else. "3. So who is going to educate the rest of the children????Don't ALL CHILDREN deserve an education?"YES - which is why my children go to KIPP, because they were NOT adequately educated in regular public schools. If the charter school cap is lifted, the parents that desire their children to receive the best possible education will have more opportunities to do so. This will result in the smaller class sizes in public schools that teachers claim is so important to effective teaching. So basically, KIPP is doing them a favor. What's the problem?Oh, wait, I know what it is - once again, for the real answer to the question PRACTICAL posed, see my response. Many people's response to KIPP is a classic "crabs in a barrel" syndrome, when someone in the community seeks to excel, many of the other "crabs" will seek to pull him or her down. My suggestion to the other "crabs" to game up, or get out of the way.


In a response to unknown and truth:KIPP does not pick and choose students. Anyone can go to KIPP, anyone can do well at KIPP, and the students who aren't the best seek out and get help from some of the best, most caring teachers in the world. We don't excel because we are automatically the best; we excel because we work hard and put in the effort required to excel. So please, before you go knocking on a place that I know and love dearly, do a little more research, and actually know what you're talking about. No one likes blatant ignorance.


I cannot help but wonder sometimes when I read some of the comments that have been made about GCP/KIPP whether those that have are making the comments have ever had a child attend the school. The comment from TRUTH could not be farther from the truth.Tammi Sutton doesn't do anything to ensure that she gets only the "Cream of the Crop". Over the years I have watched my kids work their butts off for their education! The have gotten on the bus before 6am and gotten home after 6pm. As a parent I have gone through this with them every step of the way. Why? Because I cannot send my children to county schools that are so bad that they have been taken over by the state of North Carolina. My children and all the others in Halifax County deserve better than that! When I took my son to GCP 8 years ago I was a desperate Mom who wanted him to get a quality education and I am happy to say that he did! He is now a student at NC State University, and I give so much credit to the staff at KIPP who pushed my child to excel.To UNKNOWN:I have 2 children who have attended KIPP, and have been a part of the PRIDE family now for 8 years. Our kids are normal kids and yes we DO have behavioral issues! The difference is how they are dealt with, which is very swiftly and directly. Kids will be kids and they will make mistakes, but the bar is set high for expectations. Do they always meet those expectations? No, but they continue to strive to do their best every day.I am a very proud parent of James Brantley, who commented above. I had no idea that he had when I started reading this article and comments online. It is very rewarding as a parent to know that even now that he has gone on to college he still spends part of every break with his family at KIPP. Our KIPP/GCP family is not perfect but it is a great one!


Wow! It's amazing to see that two years after I've been away in college, ADULTS still are seeking excuses as to why hard and commitment ACTUALLY PAYS OFF!! 10 years ago people were still whining that we were only the "cream of the crop" and that's why we did so well. NEWS FLASH PEOPLE!!! We did so well and continue to do so well because we worked our butts off and had great teachers and administration that pushed us to work even harder! I am a rising junior at both UNC Chapel Hill and Duke University and I can tell you that people worldwide support KIPP! Have I ever been suspended from KIPP? Yes. Have I been on bench at GCP? Yes. Did I make Honor Roll and Principal’s List every quarter? No. Have I ever been called out and had my wrongdoings discussed in front of the entire school? Plenty of times. Have I ever wanted to leave KIPP? Sure. But I didn’t. Have I not liked a teacher at some point and time? Definitely, but I can honestly say that I love each and every one of them to this day. Because of all of that, I am attending school on a half a million dollar scholarship that I EARNED; that KIPP helped me EARN! My benefactor contributes to various foundations all over the world and when speaking at a scholar dinner, guess what his first topic of discussion was? KIPP GASTON COLLEGE PREP!! As a multi-millionaire who is a former hedge fund manager whose work wasn't exactly in education, even he knew that what was going on in the peanut fields of Gaston was SUCCESS. There are students at both of my colleges dying to work for and be a part of KIPP and asking me questions about it every day. I cherish where I am from and will always will. In a few years, I hope to be back making an impact. I hope that by then, ADULTS will stop doubting members of the area’s future because they are performing well. Just because some of you know the very LEAST about hard work and commitment and therefore have not gotten beyond tasting success that lies in the area, doesn’t mean you should down kids who are trying to and who will because EVERY kid at KIPP WILL! You want EVERY kid in the area to as well? Then WAKE UP and put some hard work in to get great results out because until then, you’re just going to keep make excuses and KIPP kids will forever look like “the cream of the crop”. While being seen as such may be favorable to some of you, to us KIPPsters it is more favorable to see ALL kids of our area be called the “cream of the crop”.


KIPP has helped mein many ways and KIPP does not give a performance test. We work hard everyday from 8-5 if your child did not get into KIPP that is because of a random lottery not because your child is not smart enough for this school. I was diagnosed with a learning disablity in Warren County schools but when I got to KIPP I had A's and B's. What makes this school successful is the teachers. They work harder than any other teacher in this state in my opinion. They give in 120% and hold us to a high bar because they know what we are capable of. It is not magic we do not take the best kids or anything else. These are all rumors. You must have never visited our school or have actually seen what we do on a daily bases. Before you make judement or assumptions or even excuses as Victoria said earlier. Talk to the students and the teachers of this school. Even the parents they know the truth.


KIPP has a regular lottery like all others. It is an insult to say it is loaded. "Performance test"? What are you talking about "truth"? I am a KIPP student and I had to apply just like everyone else. I never had to take a test. For the lottery, all KIPP asks for is a name and grade. They do not require nor ask for test scores or previous grades. As an ex student of a traditional public school I can say from exprience that KIPP does not pick the cream of the crop. I am not an honor roll student, and I never have been. However, KIPP is helping me pass my classes and actually learn and master the material. The great thing is I actually want to become an honor roll student and that is not a mindset that I had in my old school. KIPP seaks the students in need of inspiration and acedemic help. thats what it stand for: Knowledge Is Power Program. Its purpose is to help at risk students and not only get them to college, but get them through college. And THAT, my fellow readers is the TRUTH and should be the soul purpose of ALL education in EVERY school...not just KIPP. And I ask a favor of those who are against my school. If you are going to speak against it, please, educate yourself on the actual truth of KIPP. Come to my school, sit in our classes, watch us, ask any student any question you want! 320 Pleasant Hill drive, Gaston NC is the adress in case you dont know how to get there. Thank you in advanced


To the person who listed his/her name as TruthI have to say that you are wrong about all of your claims.1. Charters are not held to the strict laws like the Public Schools.Charter schools are Public Schools therefore they are held to the same standards of the State. All students are required to take EOC's and take the subjects necessary to graduate. This statement seemed like an accusatory statement saying that charter schools can get away with under-performance which is blatantly false and ignorant because the state will shut down charter schools for reasons such as one stated above or bankruptcy before they would even consider shutting down a traditional public school. Charter schools like KIPP receive only 80% of school funding from the state. Charters have to pay for their own facilities, transportation, and food. Knowing this, it seems like the state doesn't even support its charter schools that much which is ironic because charter schools have had great success in the few years of their existence in NC. The top 5 EOC scores in US History and Civics and Economics last year came from charter schools and yes, KIPP Pride High School class of 2011 and 2012 respectively made KIPP part of the top 5. I guess the only thing we don't adhere to where traditional public schools do is the school schedule, which runs from 8am to 5pm. "performance test"Sir or Maam please tell me when you or anyone you know had to take one when they went to KIPP. Charter schools are required by law to allow application and acceptance from anyone regardless of race, socio-economic status, or educational background. To not do so is discriminatory. All charters are required to hold a lottery when the number of applicants exceed the capacity of the school to accept these students therefore everyone has an equal chance of being accepted to the school. These "performance tests" that you claim have to be taken are in all actuality "placement tests" where the school tries to figure out what grade level a student should be placed in, and take note of this, once they have been accepted to the school through RANDOMIZED SELECTION...therefore your claim is both false and misleading. so who will educate your children?KIPP wants as many students as it can legally teach. It is continually expanding and in 2012 it will open its elementary school. People like you who spew out misleading poison to ruin the school's name are ruining the chance for KIPP to educate OUR CHILDREN. The fact that a senior like me knows more about state law regarding charter schools than you is proof of what kind of education KIPP gives to its what is practical?Next time, do your research before coming up with an opinion or a claim. That's both basic and PRACTICAL.It is truly ironic that the name listed was truth when everything contained in the post was actually FALSE.One truth out of context can prove very dangerous. –Gregory Phillips


It is "funny" that the only thing many people can say about my school is negative. It is apparent that people do not like to see others succeed, especially if they are in your on community. That sound backwards does it not? Instead of speaking on things you obviously do not know anything about, how about making a suggestion on how to improve the schools in NC. Conversations should not be about how one school is better than the other, but instead on what is working in the better school; in this case KIPP:.If you are so concerned with other low performing schools, stop complaining and do something about it. It angers me that grown ups are less mature than teenagers.


aw naw. dnt be talkin bullish bout KIPP when u KNO we do betta den all yall other skools. we learn 2 success and 2 success 4 college so we can be have future for life. i luv ma skool 2 death!!1


To answer your question Practical in my very own opinion, I think it's because at KIPP we stay in school until 5 monday- thursday and until 2 on friday. So by all of this being said we have more time in the classroom and at KIPP every second is learning. For example in all of my classes I have 1hr 15mins and at Public schools they only have 45min classes so we can see that just 30mins can make a difference on not just an education but really anything.

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