KIPP Navigate College Prep: Why Was it a Struggle to Bring a High Quality High School to San Jose?

I learned about KIPP eight years ago when my elementary school had just opened and my daughter had the opportunity to start first grade at a Rocketship School.

My elementary school brought some resources for parents and students about some options for middle schools in East Side San Jose but at that time I thought to myself, “Why should I think about middle school now when my daughter is only in first grade?” I quickly realized that we didn’t really have many high quality options for middle schools to choose from.

Now my daughter is a rising 8th grader at KIPP Heritage Academy, and as I am thinking about high school next year, I know there are not many high quality high schools to choose from either. KIPP San Jose Collegiate is one of the high schools with the highest performance, and it focuses on preparing our students for the future. The problem was that KIPP San Jose Collegiate was not large enough to accommodate all of the students matriculating from the three KIPP middle schools in the area, so as KIPP parents and leaders, we decided to submit a petition for one more high school in East San Jose so that we could educate all of our rising freshman, this school is now KIPP Navigate College Prep.

Sadly, even with parents advocating for the new school and hearing our testimonies about why we NEEDED KIPP Navigate, the school board denied the petition, partially due to board members’ concerns about the district budget.

The school district sadly denied our petition for concerns about the budget that would be spent to open a new school and according to them we do not need other high schools because “we have enough options” and the Superintendent was very clear when he said “enough is enough.” We knew that we had to keep fighting for the future of our children, so we appealed to the county of Santa Clara.

Once again our hearing was late at night. My daughter gave her testimony at 11:00 PM on a school night.

It wasn’t convenient, but we were there, advocating in front of the Santa Clara County School Board of Education, because we knew how important this was. Unfortunately, we were thwarted again and forced to appeal at the state level.

Many parents, including me, missed work and risked losing our jobs in order to advocate for our children’s education, but we had to to bring our high school for our students! We were finally approved by the state in March 2018, and KIPP Navigate is set to open this month.

The struggle continues to find a facility closer to our families in the Eastside community. The district has offered us a place, which unfortunately is far from our communities, a place where it is very difficult for families to take their students. I will continue working together with school leaders to fight for a permanent home for KIPP Navigate in the near future.

KIPP Navigate will open its doors in August 2018 and will serve 9th graders, then it will add a grade level every year until founding a 9th-12th grade school. There is still time to submit an application online or in person. For more information visit KIPP Navigate’s website or call (408) 335-8276 to speak to Ms. Herrera or Ms. Heredia who are part of the Operations Team and are always happy to help. What makes KIPP different? At KIPP, the whole team and family believes that ALL students can learn and achieve at high levels if given the opportunity. I’m excited to see KIPP Navigate do just that!

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Eva Heredia

Eva Heredia

Eva is a parent leader at Rocketship Discovery Prep and at KIPP Heritage Academy in East Side San Jose. She currently lives in San Jose California with her two beautiful daughters and her husband. She was born in Mexico City in 1976 but also considers Oaxaca as her home because of her mother.

She began her leadership at Rocketship Discovery Prep over four years ago. She learned that there was so much more that she could do as a parent beyond volunteering in her children’s classroom. Eva became fully aware of the political involvement a parent must act on.

She has the experience and extensive knowledge about public officials, school board members, and school administrators who play an important role in public education in East Side San Jose. She supported the opening of Kipp Navigate at a State level, by advocating for quality schools alongside other parents in 2018. She then became a founding parent at Kipp Navigate. Besides being a champion for high-quality education and choice, she also helped build the Wooster Neighborhood Association in her community. She is the voice for her children, students, and her community. She is a huge supporter of parent engagement, choice, and access to higher education. In addition, Eva also attended an Adult High School and graduated from Independence High School in 2019.

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