New Designs for School
New Designs for School

We’ve all had the experience of truly purposeful, authentic learning and know how valuable it is. Educators are taking the best of what we know about learning, student support, effective instruction, and interpersonal skill-building to completely reimagine schools so that students experience that kind of purposeful learning all day, every day.

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Primary Contact Name:
Ally Thurman
Award Date:
July 2013
Grant Type:
National Launch
Start Date:
Fall 2013
Startup Type:
New School

School: KIPP San Francisco College Preparatory
Grades Served: 9-12
Location: San Francisco, CA
Operator: KIPP Bay Area Schools
Operator Type: Charter
Setting: Urban
Students at Opening: 119
Students at Capacity: 500

Blended Model Type: Station Rotation

Key Features: College readiness and success, Teacher professional development

The Operator

KIPP San Francisco College Prep (KIPP-SF) is part of KIPP Bay Area Schools, a network of seven existing “no excuses” public charter schools located in the Bay Area. This is the first blended high school within the national KIPP Network. KIPP San Francisco College Prep is designed to prepare its population of 80% low-income students and over 95% students of color to attend and complete a college degree; the model uses personalized learning and technology to meet that goal. KIPP Bay Area Schools has fostered partnerships with the Khan Academy, Google, and others. The vision is to prepare students to be creators of the knowledge economy and engaged citizens in their communities. KIPP-SF expects that 90% of students will matriculate to a four-year college or university and 75% of them will complete their postsecondary education.

The Academic Model

Like at other KIPP schools, students are asked to plan and manage their learning experience, use data to set personal goals, and master content at their own pace. This school deliberately extends those aspects of ownership and high expectations to foster a college-going culture, identity, self-managing behaviors and success with rigorous college-level coursework.

  • All students are expected to take at least one AP exam. KIPP-SF expects that 80% of students will pass at least one AP Exam and enter college with earned credits (thus easing the transition to postsecondary education).
  • Teachers and students use interim assessments and End of Course Exams built around the Common Core State Standards and aligned to ACT College Readiness Standards and monitor progress on these assessments via a data dashboard.
  • Teachers and students use tech-enabled data and learning tools
  • Teachers and students employ flexible self-pacing strategies, groupings, and rotations to personalize the learning pace and experience. A variety of online adaptive content solutions and teacher-created and curated videos are also available to support teaching and learning (e.g., Achieve 3000, science modules, online coding courses).

The Organizational Model

With blended learning being new to many teachers, significant time is dedicated to teacher professional development. One full week of training is provided before the start of school and two 90-minute sessions are built into each month. Throughout the school year, teachers are supported in a community of practice that is focused on improving digital learning within the school. The community of practice at the school site is led by a new staffing role called the technology integration specialist and reflects the ongoing coordination and iterative process among teachers to develop their skills in short cycles that are responsive to student needs.

Time for teacher professional development is created initially through higher student-teacher ratios, yet the personalized, flexible and blended strategies also work to improve the student experience. The professional development and implementation of learning and assessment resources will be scaled into KIPP Bay Area Schools and support the broader adoption of blended learning by KIPP schools across the country.