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CDT in the News


March 15, 2018 | CDT News

Growing Greatness

Buoyed by CDT support for a $16.6 million building renovation, an innovative partnership between the Camden public schools and KIPP New Jersey is improving the Garden State’s education landscape.

Clearly defined and high expectations for academic achievement. Fostering character strengths that are essential for student success and well-being. Investing in great teachers.

Those are three of the key educational model priorities CDT looks for in determining potential partnership opportunities with high-quality charter school systems such as KIPP, which is why CDT is proudly supporting KIPP New Jersey’s (“KIPP NJ”) expansion beyond its historic home base of Newark into the South Jersey City of Camden.

CDT, in partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (“LISC”), is providing permanent financing of $16.6 million through the CDFI Bond Fund to facilitate the development of KIPP NJ’s second Camden middle school. KIPP NJ is part of the “Knowledge Is Power Program,” a nationally regarded nonprofit network of free college-preparatory public charter schools.

The CDT-LISC collaboration will provide funding for the substantial rehabilitation of the 52,700-square-foot J.G. Whittier School building. The century-old structure is owned by the Camden City School District and operated by KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy as a middle school. The building serves grades 5 through 8 with a capacity of 436 students and will now be known as KIPP Whittier Middle School. The project will also finance the new construction of a gym/cafeteria, resulting in total square footage of 65,300. 

CDT and LISC will each provide up to $8.32 million in financing for a total of up to $16.64 million in senior loan permanent financing. The loan is expected to close in summer 2018. The project team secured construction financing from Goldman Sachs Bank predicated on the forward commitment from CDT and LISC.

As New Jersey’s first renaissance school operator, KIPP Cooper Norcross Academy was established in Camden under the state’s Urban Hope Act, which created a pilot program to provide students in three struggling school districts – Camden, Newark and Trenton – access to new, quality public schools in their communities. The Academy was created in partnership with KIPP, one of the most renowned, national networks of free, open-enrollment, college preparatory public charter schools; The Cooper Foundation, the charitable arm of Cooper University Health Care, and the Norcross Foundation.

The KIPP Lanning Square 110,000 square-foot campus opened in 2015 and provides guaranteed enrollment for students in grades K through 8 who live in the Lanning Square and Cooper Plaza neighborhoods in its two schools: KIPP Lanning Square Primary (grades K-4) and KIPP Lanning Square Middle (grades 5-8). The network opened its second middle school, KIPP Whittier, in August 2016 and will soon grow to include another elementary school and a high school.

About KIPP NJ:

  • Approximately 77 percent of KIPP New Jersey’s eighth-grade student graduates go on to college.
  • Records show 93 percent of students stay with KIPP New Jersey from year to year. The 7 percent who leave is due mostly to moving outside the district or to another state, reflecting KIPP’s belief that a school with great test scores but high student attrition is not a “healthy” school.
  • KIPP New Jersey’s talent retention model has resulted in 84 percent of its teachers returning from year to year.
  • KIPP New Jersey’s high school sends more African-American students to college than any other high school in the city of Newark.
  • More than 88 percent of KIPP New Jersey students currently qualify for free or reduced meals. 
  • KNJ is affiliated with the KIPP national network, which includes 183 schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia that serve 70,000 students. Nationally, more than 82 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college.

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