It's National School Choice Week, which aims to give families a window into the wide array of school opportunities open to their kids, ranging from traditional public schools and charter schools to private schools and homeschooling.
Minnesota school choice leader Alvin Abraham is executive director of KIPP Minnesota, part of the nationwide KIPP network of charter schools. He spoke in a video from the U.S. Chamber Foundation this week about the strengths of the program.
"We exist to ensure that kids growing up in educationally underserved communities have access to high-quality education that puts them on a track to and through college," Abraham said in the video.
KIPP Minnesota launched in 2006 "to address the racial and economic achievement gaps in Twin Cities' public schools," according to KIPP Minnesota's website. KIPP Minnesota runs KIPP North Star Academy and North Star Primary, both in north Minneapolis.
The school uses data to understand where students are and pinpoint targeted goals, Abraham said in the video.
The school's 2015-2016 report mentioned that students outdid schoolwide growth goals for the fourth year in a row, at one and a half times higher than normal growth. That 2015-2016 report noted that North Star Academy was 96 percent students of color, and 92 percent of the students qualified for federal lunch help.
But there's still a gap between scores in KIPP performance and statewide scores. For example, the school's score in math performance in 2016 was nearly 35 percent proficient compared to the statewide nearly 60 percent proficient, according to data from the Minnesota Department of Education included in its school authorizer's report.
Many data pieces show that kids who aren't reading on grade level by third grade won't graduate from high school, Abraham said in the video. High expectations and early education are critical, he added.
"Demography doesn't define destiny," Abraham said in the video. "We need to continue to make sure that every kid, no matter where they live, has access to a really high-quality school."