By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The annual Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools honored KIPP the Knowledge is Power Program, with $250,000 for helping students from low income and minority communities reach high levels of academic performance.

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KIPP was started 20 years ago by two Teach for America alums growing to 141 schools in 20 states and Washington, DC including Philadelphia and Camden, serving 50,000 students. The award focuses on urban schools that are closing the achievement gap between minority and low-income students and their white higher income peers.

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Twenty-one percent of the gap was closed in reading, math and science for black and Hispanic middle school students and more than 83% go on to higher education, encouraged with KIPP’s motto “Work hard. Be nice.”

Funding will support college trips, speaker series and scholarships and KIPP will share the prize money with the two other finalists, Achievement First and IDEA Public Schools.

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Read more at BroadPrize.org.