July 20th, 2009
In his 1997 book Rising Tide, which chronicles the great Mississippi River flood of 1927, author John Barry closes with a rumination on societal changes.
“A society does not change in sudden jumps,” Barry writes. “Rather, it moves in multiple small steps along a broad front. Most of these steps are parallel if not quite simultaneous; some advance farther than others, and some even move in an opposite direction. The movement rather resembles that of an amoeba, with one part of the body extending itself outward, then another, even while the main body stays back, until enough of the mass has shifted to move the entire body.”
So it is in the Delta of east Arkansas. There have been no sudden leaps forward following decades of economic decline-no giant automobile assembly plants, no ethanol boom, no discovery of oil. But thereare many talented people taking those “multiple small steps,” and their numbers appear to be increasing even as the region’s overall population declines.
July 16th, 2009
KIPP Delta’s expansion plans supported by Walton Foundation
KIPP announces that Maisie Wright, one of 17 KIPP Fisher Fellows for 2009-10, will open a new public charter school in the Arkansas Delta. The Fisher Fellowship, which prepares aspiring principals to open and run new KIPP schools, is a yearlong leadership-training program that begins this month with a summer Institute at New York University. KIPP Delta is also announcing an opportunity to three Delta communities to sponsor this new KIPP school.
April 29th, 2009
The Arkansas Public School Resource Center has announced that eight schools, including KIPP Delta College Prep in Helena, affiliated with the education organization were designated a “higher performing school” by the National Center for Educational Achievement.
March 31st, 2009
Dreams are what life is made of and the students at KIPP have seen one of them come true with the completion of the gymnasium. Several hundred friends and supporters of KIPP turned out Saturday afternoon for the ribbon cutting ceremony inside the spacious gymnasium that still has that freshly completed lacquer finish and glossy appearance.
March 15th, 2009
How do you start a profile of Scott Shirey, the founder and force behind the Delta College Prep charter school in the historic ruins of Helena, a once-hopping river town?
You could start with Shirey the teacher. Picture him in his small classroom of 11th-graders, their desks arranged in a loose circle, their attention on the day’s assignment, an interpretive look at Arc of Justice, a book about a civil-rights trial in 1920s Detroit by Kevin Boyle.
Delta College Prep is a member of the successful Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) charter system. The 11th-graders are on schedule to becoming the school’s first graduating class. Twelve of the 13 students in Shirey’s classroom are black, one is white, an only slightly skewed representation of the demographic breakdown of this Phillips County seat.