The KIPP Delta Difference

Character Strengths

KIPP’s longstanding motto — “Work hard. Be nice.” — isn’t just a tagline. Since our founding, the development of character has been as important to us as the teaching of rigorous academic skills. Today we are especially focused on seven highly predictive strengths: zest, grit, self-control, optimism, gratitude, social intelligence, and curiosity. Learn more about why character counts and how you can dive deeper into character development on the KIPP Foundation website.



Approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated.

  • Actively participates
  • Shows enthusiasm
  • Invigorates others


Finishing what one starts; completing something despite obstacles; a combination of persistence and resilience.

  • Finishes whatever he or she begins
  • Tries very hard even after experiencing failure
  • Works independently with focus

Self Control

Regulating what one feels and does; being self-disciplined.

School Work
  • Comes to class prepared
  • Pays attention and resists distractions
  • Remembers and follows directions
  • Gets to work right away rather than procrastinating
  • Remains calm even when criticized or otherwise provoked
  • Allows others to speak without interruption
  • Is polite to adults and peers
  • Keeps temper in check


Expecting the best in the future and working to achieve it.

  • Gets over frustrations and setbacks quickly
  • Believes that effort will improve his or her future


Being aware of and thankful for opportunities that one has and for good things that happen.

  • Recognizes and shows appreciation for others
  • Recognizes and shows appreciation for his/her opportunities

Social Intelligence

Being aware of motives and feelings of other people and oneself; including the ability to reason within large and small groups.

  • Able to find solutions to conflicts with others
  • Demonstrates respect for feelings of others
  • Knows when and how to include others


Taking an interest in experience and learning new things for its own sake; finding things fascinating.

  • Is eager to explore new things
  • Asks and answers questions to deepen understanding
  • Actively listens to others