Ladarius Long is checking out the new eighth grade area at KIPP Endeavor Academy, the East Side charter school he has attended for the last two years.
“We’re looking real good today,” he says approvingly. “We’ve got more room. We’ve got tables, lockers – ” Ladarius points to the one he wants “ – but anyway, I just like the setup now.”
One of KIPP’s philosophies is more learning time, so students start earlier and end later than their peers in other schools. Last Thursday, teachers welcomed students and their families back to a building that had been extensively renovated over the summer. Classes resumed Monday.
“The colors are different. All the walls were like a brick brown. The tiles are different. The school actually has more life,” says elementary music teacher Julian Goff. “You can see it on the kids’ faces. They’re just like, ‘Whoa.’”
Director of Development Haley Bowman was ready to say goodbye to the “sad, dusty pink” color the entire school was painted.
“The building that we have been located in throughout our history was originally a community college, so it was never meant to serve middle or elementary school KIPPsters,” says Bowman. “But we have a motto that we say here at KIPP: 'find a way or make one.'”
Most metro area school districts resume school next week.
Elle Moxley covers Missouri schools and politics for KCUR. You can reach her on Twitter @ellemoxley.