i282600889606714205._szw1280h1280_I collect quotations the way some people collect stamps. I purchase magnets, signs, and books filled with wise and witty sayings and then use them to inspire and motivate. I suspect that I knew that I was meant to be a Big KIPPster as soon as I saw some of my all time favorite quotes donning the walls of the buildings of KIPP Charter Schools on my first visit to the original southwest campus. My time in the KIPP world was brief in the grand scheme of things but just long enough to change me forever. It was in many ways the penultimate thrill of my career in education. I was mostly taken by the earnestness of the people representing the three pillars of the KIPP world, namely the parents, the teachers, and the students. When I recently heard the following words, “Learn to live above your circumstances.” I immediately thought of my days at KIPP Houston High School and the wonderful people that I had encountered there. Mostly I remembered the students, a group of young people eager to do the hard work necessary to defy their circumstances even on days when it seemed impossible. This past weekend I was lucky enough to be with three of them who had indeed excelled and changed the trajectory of their lives through their own hard work and the support of extraordinary adults. Continue reading “Rise”