Our Academic Approach

Elementary School

Our elementary schools are places where curiosity is contagious, reading is sacred, and character is paramount. Each day, we make learning come alive for students through an intensive academic program that places children in the driver’s seat of their education, and empowers them to become lifelong learners. Stop any student in our hallways and ask them what they’re reading–then prepare yourself for a long conversation–they’ll probably list several books!

KIPP NJ elementary schools implement highly-rated curriculum literacy programs to help support reading engagement and growth. In grades K-2, we offer Magnetic Reading Foundations, an early literacy program that earned perfect scores on EdReports. For students in grades 3-4 who would benefit from building foundational literacy skills, KIPP NJ has implemented a program called Phonics for Reading. These approaches emphasize the joy of reading through read-alouds, hands-on activities, songs, and asking big questions to help bring the text to life. To track student reading proficiency and growth, we use iReady ELA and mCLASS DIBELS literacy assessments. Students participate in several independent and guided reading sessions each day and also have frequent opportunities to select books from classroom or school libraries.

Our math curriculum is centered around real-world problem-solving. Through the tough problems they tackle and the culture of collaboration in the classroom, our kids fall in love with the study of mathematics. We reject “I do, we do, you do” teaching where students imitate the teacher’s approach to a problem. Instead, our lessons require kids to use what they know to attack a new problem that is one step beyond what they have ever done, but still possible for kids to tackle with hard work. Our math curriculum utilizes the Illustrative Math program, which empowers students to progressively build on what they know about math to infer solutions to problems and represent their thinking in multiple ways.

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Middle School

Our middle schoolers enjoy a challenging and immersive academic program that prepares them for success in both high school and college. The curriculum encourages students to think critically, develop claims, and debate ideas, and to always support opinions with evidence. Middle school students also have access to extracurricular opportunities that help them develop confidence, creativity, and independence.

In English Language Arts classes, we use a balance of close reading, guided reading, and independent reading to build student mastery of fiction and nonfiction texts. The KIPP Wheatley literacy curriculum presents students with texts that provide meaningful exposure to important periods in history, as well as contemporary works that are must-reads for kids today. As a result, our middle school students gain insight into important social justice issues by grappling with texts that highlight issues of race, class, and power in our society. Students are encouraged to challenge each other’s thinking and participate in constructive debate.

We also encourage middle schoolers to build upon their math and science knowledge. In math courses, students balance skill mastery with deep conceptual understanding of math. We urge students to explain their reasoning, debate different approaches, and describe how they arrived at an answer. In science, we utilize cross-cutting concepts to help kids recognize patterns, explain phenomena, and see the infinite connectedness of our world. Our Amplify Science curriculum melds technology with hands-on components, building on kids’ natural curiosity about the world around them.

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High School

KIPP New Jersey’s high school programming is dedicated to fulfilling our promise to students to support them to college, career and beyond. From day one, students are challenged inside and outside the classroom, from a large roster of Advanced Placement and honors classes, to varsity athletics and a variety of clubs for different student interests. Our KIPP Forward counselors are there every step of the way to ensure that students reach their post-graduation potential.

Whether it’s honing the writing skills that help them critically examine complex texts, or learning about managing personal finance in a Financial Literacy class, every student is encouraged to forge real-life connections with classroom learning.

Our high schools offer students a wide range of programming, from career academies to honors academics, from exposure to innovative post-secondary opportunities to traditional college prep coursework, we ensure that all of our students are matched to a pathway that helps them meet their full potential and their personal aspirations. All of our high schools have strong extra-curricular programming and athletics, as well as strong community partnership that allow students to experience future careers first-hand. One hallmark of our high school program is our approach to dual enrollment. When students take a dual enrollment course, they have the opportunity to earn college credit from prestigious universities like Howard and Brown, credit they can take with them to any college. Colleges who review our students’ applications know that KIPP NJ high school students have received a well-rounded, rigorous education.

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At KIPP NJ, we believe that developing our students as people is as important as their academic growth. Our school values form the basis of our approach to character education, and we include families in the conversations about these values and how to embody them in our daily lives. Each week, schools gather as a community to celebrate progress, engage in group goal-setting, and establish an intention for the week. We believe in the importance of teamwork and refer to our classes as teams. Each of our schools has traditions and events that support this idea and foster a spirit of teamwork across the building.