My friend Tom works in a KIPP school in downtown New Orleans with Teach For America. Here are a few shots from my visit:

My first reaction was that the KIPP model seems to focus quite a bit on competition and getting into college (note that Tom works in a KIPP Middle School with 5th to 8th graders). But according to Tom, this focus is what leads KIPP schools to actually see results from their students, most of whom come from underserved communities and often don’t know that college is even an option.

And what the pictures fail to show is the sense of community and desire to learn and succeed that KIPP schools cultivate. Maybe that’s why the KIPP model seems to graduate more students and send more students to college than other schools in underserved areas.

But is it sustainable? The KIPP school day runs from 7:30am to 5pm. Teachers work even longer hours. The biggest challenge now seems to be finding good teachers without burning them out.