“As state board of education officials walked through the hallways of KIPP Collegiate High School, they eyed the college logos painted on the school’s walls and words of encouragement taped to students’ lockers. They peered into quiet classrooms and listened to young students rattle off their college plans.
While the board usually visits schools before its meetings, the board’s visit on Thursday comes several months after it approved two new KIPP charter schools, overturning a decision from the Metro Nashville School Board.
“I’m really impressed that the board took the time to get a thorough peek at what’s to come,” said KIPP Executive Director Randy Dowell.
KIPP will open a new elementary and middle school in Antioch within the next three years. The elementary school will eventually serve grades K-4, and the middle school will serve grades 5-8.
College preparedness, a shared education goal throughout the state, dominated the tour.
Leading one tour group, Dowell says high school sophomores are preparing to take an AP world history test.
“AP exams are one of the best barometers of college preparedness,” he said.
Serving on a student panel, high school freshman Caleb Graham tells school officials his plans to spend two years at Belmont University before transferring to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
When asked about a long-term vision for KIPP Nashville, Dowell said the operator is focused on opening the two Antioch schools for now. But he said the school believes all Nashville students should have access to a college preparatory school.”
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