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Courier-Post: Rowan to offer spots for students with Camden academy partnership

Editor’s Note: The following article originally ran in the Courier-Post on December 11, 2013.

Rowan to offer spots for students with Camden academy partnership

Written by Phil Dunn/Courier-Post
Dec. 11, 2013

Future students of the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy already have a leg up on the competition, thanks to a new partnership with Rowan University.

According to the agreement between Rowan and TEAM Schools, KIPP’s network of charter schools in New Jersey, the university will recruit and accept six to 10 KIPP students per year. The college will also provide academic resources for students.

The partnership also extends to the six schools KIPP operates in Newark.

“Rowan has a long history of working with Camden’s public and charter schools,” said Rowan President Ali Houshmand. “KIPP provides an added dimension to the educational opportunities in the city.”

TEAM Schools plans to open the KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy in Camden next school year. It will be the first “renaissance school” in the state. The organization is in the final stages of finding a temporary home for the new school until a permanent facility is built in Camden.

Authorized by the 2013 state Urban Hope Act, renaissance schools are charter-type schools run by nonprofit entities in partnership with local districts.

The KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy is an alliance of George Norcross’ family foundation, Cooper University Hospital’s charitable foundation and KIPP.

The plan is to accommodate about 3,000 students in the Lanning Square neighborhood, which adjoins Cooper University Hospital’s new medical school.

The school will start with pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students, and more grade levels will be added each year.

Rowan spokesman Joe Cardona said the agreement is a “first of its kind” for Rowan, even though the university has been involved in education in the city for decades. He said the college would act as a mentor to KIPP students, giving them access to resources that will have them thinking about college while enrolled in high school.

“At the end of the day it is about the success of the students,” Cardona said. “They may not end up at Rowan, but that’s OK because it gets students in the mindset that college is an option.”

KIPP students will have access to Rowan’s academic resources on the Camden and Glassboro campuses and Cooper Medical School. However, no extra financial aid will be provided through the program, and students who apply must still meet Rowan’s admission standards.

TEAM Schools founder and Executive Director Ryan Hill said the partnership with Rowan could help generations of students from underserved communities expand educational opportunities and earn college degrees.

“Rowan has been building programs for years that not only help students make the transition to college academically, socially, and financially, but support them through graduation,” Hill said.

KIPP also has partnerships with Rutgers-Camden and Montclair State University.