COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ)—A partnership between the University of Maryland and one city school is designed to put students on the fast track to college.

Gigi Barnett explains the school has already helped many others get to and through the university.

Math at KIPP Harmony Academy charter school in Northwest Baltimore is fast, and it works. The curriculum works so well that the University of Maryland College Park is partnering with the preparatory school.

By the time these kids get to college in 2022, the university will have a dozen slots slated for KIPP students.

“They’ve given our children an incredible opportunity, and it also pushes us to rise to the challenge,” said Natalie Walter, KIPP Harmony principal.

Principal Walter says it’s a challenge for teachers to get students to Maryland. That’s because all KIPP students at more than 100 schools nationwide can vie for the 12 spots.

Students at KIPP Harmony enter kindergarten learning about the year they graduate and which university they’d like to attend.

“The University of Maryland just has so much to offer. I wouldn’t really like to go somewhere too far away,” said Courtney Marshall, a student at KIPP Harmony.

In addition to the partnership, there is also a scholarship available for KIPP students at the University of Maryland. But they have to be approved for that as well.

Some parents say this is an opportunity that they cannot afford to overlook.

“To have a school that’s offering them an automatic spot based on their grades and academic scores, that’s wonderful for me as a parent. That’s such a big help,” Aisha MacCray said.

MacCray has five children in KIPP schools. She says at least three of them want to go to Maryland, and the price tag is adding up.

“For the University of Maryland to show that they have faith in our students and our KIPPsters and they believe that our KIPPsters can come to them prepared, allows us to talk to other universities and potentially set up similar partnerships,” Walter said.

This fall, four KIPP students—three from Baltimore and one from Washington, D.C.—are headed to Maryland. Three of them received a full ride on the KIPP scholarship, which was created by 1969 Maryland alum Charles Daggs.

The KIPP School says it will track its students who get into Maryland and offer resources to make sure they graduate from the university.


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