Kipp School teacher Salome Mottajer escorts her students to the next classroom during summer school session at the school Friday July 14, 2006. The school in the Miller section of Gary is now managed by American Quality Schools, of Chicago, and renamed Lead College Preparatory Charter Schools. | File Photo~Sun-Times Media
NWI charters operated
Charter School of the Dunes, Gary
Discovery Charter School, Porter
East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy, East Chicago
LEAD College Preparatory Charter Schools, Gary
Thea Bowman Leadership Academy, Gary
Updated: November 2, 2011 7:19PM
GARY — KIPP will no longer operate a charter school here.
The school’s board of directors has retained American Quality Schools to serve as its educational management organization.
KIPP Lead College Prep Charter Schools has been in Gary since 2004.
It’s believed KIPP no longer wanted to operate the schools in Gary, said Vito Bianco, vice president of community and government relations at American Quality Schools, the new school manager.
Ball State University’s Office of Charter Schools has approved the change.
KIPP still operates schools in Indianapolis and Chicago. A KIPP representative couldn’t be reached for comment.
KIPP, or Knowledge is Power Program, had operated schools at 6060 Miller Ave. for grades 5-8 and at 601 N. Montgomery St. for grades 9-10. Bianco said those locations would remain.
Michelle Hassan is the new director of the schools, Bianco said.
He said AQS has a three-year contract with the charter’s board of directors. Board president Michael Suggs couldn’t be reached for comment.
“We want to put in definite reading and math programs, our schools generally achieve better,” Bianco said.
In Gary, AQS operates the Thea Bowman Leadership Academy and the Charter School of the Dunes.
Under KIPP, the school day stretched to 5 p.m. Bianco said AQS’s recommended school day is 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. About 300 children attend the schools. Bianco said busing would continue this year, as well.
The school rated average or at the “academic progress” level in the state’s accountability measurement last year.
Parent Audrey Bartholomew said she wasn’t sure why the school has changed operators.
She’s still pondering whether to send her ninth-grade son back to the school because it doesn’t offer a physical education class. “I’m not comfortable with him not having some form of P.E.,” she said.
She said she’d also like a more diverse environment for him, as well.