by George J Elbaum
KIPP King Collegiate High School is a public charter high school opened in 2007, named after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and dedicated to getting students from low-income communities to and through college. Its stated mission is therefore “… to prepare students to live inspired and ethical lives by developing within them extraordinary academic skills, a life-long passion for learning, and the resolve to change their own lives and the world around them through acts of excellence, justice, humanity, and courage.” Its current enrollment of 620 students shows its diverse demographics: 49% Latino, 27% Asian/Pacific Islander, 15% African American, and 9% Other. Of these, 62% qualify for federal free or reduced-price meals.
Overcoming its challenges, KIPP King Collegiate produces an outstanding academic record for its students: English test scores 59% above state average, Math test scores 42% above state average, 4-year graduation of 92% vs 82% state average, and 87% of its students meet UC/CSU entrance requirements vs. 43% state average. That is very impressive!
As part of the World History course Holocaust and Human Behavior, teacher Nora Gannon organized my visit and presentation to her 10th graders and prepared them for it with an impressive hand-out: a 5-page “Holocaust Survivor Visit Preparation” which included a full page of specific and excellent guidance for the students; a short bio on me with an explanation of “Hidden Children”; a map of Jewish ghettos which the Nazis established in Europe; a map of Nazi extermination camps; a map of the Warsaw ghetto; photos from the Warsaw ghetto; and a whole page of possible questions the students might want to ask me. That is truly an excellent preparation! Jack Weinstein of Facing History and Ourselves arranged my visit to KIPP King Collegiate and gave an excellent introduction to my presentation.