Minnesota Viking Stephen Weatherly Supports KIPP Literacy Program

Viking Stephen Weatherly with the KIPP Legacy Academy staff.

Viking Stephen Weatherly with the KIPP Legacy Academy staff.

On August 22, KIPP Minnesota hosted Back To School Night for its new school, KIPP Legacy Academy, opening this fall to fourth, fifth, and sixth graders. As part of his partnership with KIPP Minnesota, Stephen Weatherly, defensive end for the Vikings, attended Back To School Night to meet incoming students and discuss the importance of creating an incentivized literacy program. 

This year, KIPP Minnesota hopes to implement an incentivized literacy program to encourage and ensure that our students meet appropriate literacy benchmarks. We know from our middle school data that reading proficiency is much harder to accelerate than math and science proficiency, so we are devoting significant time, staffing, and resources to make sure more students become fluent readers during their first years of primary school. Our long-term goal is to for students to become proficient readers by the end of third grade.

Stephen Weatherly with NAZ President & CEO Sondra Samuels

Stephen Weatherly with NAZ President & CEO Sondra Samuels

“At one point, I was three grade levels behind. It wasn’t until I fell in love with reading that I caught up. I ended up going to Vanderbilt. I saw a need for an incentive based reading program to help kids get back on track. Speaking with my agent and local community leaders, I’m so thankful that this is now a real thing,” said Stephen.

In collaboration with Stephen Weatherly, KIPP Minnesota will accelerate literacy outcomes for over 500 students in North Minneapolis through incentives, targeted materials, and regular inspiration and encouragement.

When asked about the power of partnership and collaboration, Sondra Samuels, President and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone, said, “Children and families don’t come in pieces. Schools can’t do it alone. It takes all of us to create a pathway from womb to work and cradle to career.”

About KIPP 

KIPP Minnesota is a network of college-preparatory public schools whose mission is to establish and operate high performing public schools in the Twin Cities that confront educational inequity by delivering academic excellence and cultivating leadership skills to ensure all students succeed in college and life.

About Stephen Weatherly

Stephen Weatherly is a Defensive End for the Minnesota Vikings. Since being selected by the Vikings in the 2016 NFL draft, Weatherly has sought to make a difference in the community. He has partnered with the One Love Foundation and is excited about this upcoming partnership with KIPP Minnesota.

About Northside Achievement Zone

Our mission is to end generational poverty and build a culture of achievement in North Minneapolis where all low-income children of color graduate from high school college- and career-ready. We accomplish this through collaboration with parents, community organizations, and schools.


If you would like to support youth literacy in North Minneapolis, click here to get involved.




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