KIPP students begin school year by visiting NSU

Image of seventh graders at NSU TahlequahSeventh graders from Tulsa's Knowledge is Power Program visited Northeastern State University and took part in several courses and workshops, designed to educate the students and highlight possible career opportunities for the future.

On Aug. 23, Northeastern State University students and faculty offered presentations and activities to 7th-graders from Tulsa's Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP).

KIPP is a specialized charter school, part of Tulsa Public Schools and based on an educational program created by Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin.

“Feinberg and Levin are two men who were determined to become the very best teachers they could for the low-income, at-risk students with whom they worked,” said Christee Jenlink, dean of Northeastern State University-Broken Arrow. “Out of that determination came a new model for teaching and learning that they deemed ‘KIPP.’”

Each grade at the KIPP College Preparatory Academy visits a higher education institution on the first day of school. The KIPP 7th-graders visited NSU's Tahlequah campus. NSU has hosted them the past four years.

“NSU is about ‘making place matter,’ and one of the places that matters the most in our society is the P-12 educational system,” said Jenlink. “We have to take an active role in collaboration with our common school partners to ensure that all students have excellent educational opportunities and that includes higher educational opportunities. Helping the KIPP students is an investment in the future.”

During their NSU visit, KIPP students took part in different courses and workshops. Thomas Salmon, faculty advisor for JNSU- NSU's Japanese student association, sent JNSU volunteers to demonstrate calligraphy for the KIPP students.

“This experience helps open the eyes of the KIPP students to a larger world and to cultures outside their own,” said Salmon. “This benefits NSU as a recruiting tool. Hopefully in a few years some of these students will want to study at NSU and make their own contributions to the NSU community.”

Andrew Vassar, associate professor of humanities, also helped teach Japanese Calligraphy. Vassar said he believes in KIPP and programs like it.

“The 'KIPPsters' gave me a shirt last year and I have been faithfully devoted to opening the school year this way for four years running now,” said Vassar.

Mike Wilds, professor of criminal justice, taught a forensic anthropology course. KIPP students were shown bones from crime scenes and how they indicate gender.

“The kids love seeing what NSU has to offer," said Wilds. "It positions them for success in college. As for NSU, it allows us to see what our future students expect and how we might fulfill those expectations.”

Bringing KIPP students to NSU and opening their eyes to career opportunities show NSU students how they can help their communities.

“We cannot simply sit back and wait for other people to help the generations that will follow,” said Jenlink. “We lead by reaching back and grabbing the hands of young people, bringing them to us, so side by side we make our communities great places to live and work. We make place matter.”

Published: 9/29/2010 3:53:21 PM

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