New York Kindergarten Students Are ‘Members’ of Class of 2035

At the school, even very young students are encouraged to think about going to college.

“Each classroom at our school is named for a college, and we were so excited because our kindergarten classroom was Dartmouth,” says Jehanna Axelrod ’17, who co-teaches the kindergarteners at KIPP Washington Heights Elementary School, a charter school in New York.

Designating the classroom “Dartmouth” this past school year was part of the school’s program to get even very young students thinking about college as something that will be a part of their future, Axelrod says.

“At KIPP, we believe that every child will make it to and through college, and this mission begins in kindergarten,” she says. “Our students ... are members of the Class of 2035, and Dartmouth College at Washington Heights Elementary is the first step on their educational journeys.”

As a Dartmouth alumna, the choice this past year was especially gratifying for Axelrod. “Dartmouth is one of the most meaningful places for me,” she says. “It impacted and shaped me in so many ways, and I want to be able to share that love with my students who are in the Class of 2035.”

KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) is a nonprofit group of 242 college-preparatory, tuition-free public charter schools across the U.S. that educate early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school students.