PHILADELPHIA, SEPT. 3, 2009 — State Sen. Anthony H. Williams today joined community leaders at a ceremony celebrating the opening of a new charter school in West Philadelphia.

KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) West Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School, an open enrollment public charter school for children in grades 5 to 8 located at 5900 Baltimore Ave., opened its doors today.

“KIPP Philadelphia is proving that, with hard work, great teachers, and a strong partnership between family, school and community, the students can reach the same high standards as students anywhere in the state,” Williams said. “I hope we can learn from KIPP and help more schools provide an excellent learning environment where all students can succeed.”

Joining Williams at the event were Rep. Ron G. Waters (D-Phila.), Philadelphia Education Secretary Lori Shorr, KIPP Philadelphia Schools CEO Marc Mannella, City Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell and Pat Evans, president and founder of SOCCA, the non-profit organization housed at Turner that provides many different programs for the community.

The new site is the second KIPP middle school to open in the city, and is housed in the former Turner Middle School building, which is leased from the School District of Philadelphia.

The new school will feature an extended school day and year, with students in class from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, two Saturdays a month and mandatory summer school.

“The students at KIPP will have to work hard, but I know they’ll succeed,” Williams said. “In addition to their curriculum, they’ll have a strong support system that will challenge them to do their very best. I look forward to watching the students blossom in this new school.”

KIPP Philadelphia Schools is part of the national KIPP network of 82 schools in nearly 19 states serving over 20,000 students. Nationally, 80 percent of KIPP students are low-income, and 90 percent are African American or Latino. More than 90 percent of KIPP middle school students have gone on to college-preparatory high schools, and more than 80 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college.