School leader Charles Ware was excited to welcome KIPP High School students this August to their new 54,304 square-foot campus home at the historic John G. Whittier School in Camden. With a new building and new leader, our high school mission remains the same: helping students become the innovators, leaders, and influencers of tomorrow, by teaching them to design, build and experiment today.

Whittier School opened in 1910 as a “separate but equal school, “to educate Camden’s growing Black population. Over 100 years later, the school closed during the 2014-15 school year due to deteriorating conditions. The building reopened as KIPP Whittier in the summer of 2017 after a $22 million renovation. 

Then in 2021 construction began on a new addition to make space for the growing KIPP High School. The new building annex has dozens of classrooms, a new cafeteria, a fully-equipped kitchen, cutting-edge science labs, and more. The school also has a life skills apartment, which is a simulated learning environment where students with more severe learning needs learn independent living skills they may not usually receive.

“I think often what you find in schools is that the space is not reflective of what we are asking of our students. We’re asking them to be held to a really high bar and then the building doesn’t reflect that,” said Ware. “This building is absolutely stunning, brand new in every way,” he said. 

Additional upgrades to the existing Whittier building included a complete rehabilitation, with an overhaul of plumbing, electrical systems, HVAC, and security, as well as the addition of restrooms, a new gymnasium with lockers, and an art room.

KHS first opened in 2020 with 9th grade and will eventually grow to educate students in grades 9-12 from KIPP Hatch and Lanning Square middle schools, along with new-to-KIPP students from other Camden schools.  KHS offers a large roster of Advanced placement and honors classes as well as varsity athletics and a variety of clubs for different student interests. Mr. Ware is the new school leader starting the 2022-23 academic year.

Though this is his first year at KIPP Cooper Norcross High School, the father of two and die-hard Houston Texans fan is no newbie.

We welcomed Charles Ware as principal of KIPP High School this August!

Ware joined KIPP from TECH Freire Charter High School in Philadelphia, less than 10 miles from Camden. During his time as Principal at TECH, he headlined multiple initiatives leading academic growth, student and family engagement, and the implementation of a robust response to intervention program (RTI). TECH eventually received a five-year charter renewal with “no stipulations,” one of only three schools in the city cohort with that honor.

Prior to TECH, Ware grew and developed his skills leading other KIPP Charter Schools. He was Assistant Principal of Special Education at KIPP Academy of Arts & Letters in Austin, Texas, and Assistant Principal of Instruction at KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy in Philadelphia, PA.

“KIPP is a place that values relationships more than any other place that I have ever seen,” said Ware.

“We are a place that, through it all, values our students and maybe more importantly we value what happens to them and the type of person they’re going to be when they leave us after 12 years.”

Ware believes the role of school extends beyond creating productive citizens, it expands further to ensure we develop the minds of children to become self-aware and globally concerned humans. He is excited to bring his passion for implementing diversity, equity, and inclusion practices, his solid instructional foundation, and his passion for working in urban schools to the students, staff, and families of KIPP High School.

“We are going to mold the changemakers of our future,” says Ware. “Our students will leave us and be the ones who go out and make this country everything it can be and everything it was promised to be at its inception.”\

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