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KIPP logo.svg
Founded1994; 26 years ago
FounderMike Feinberg
Dave Levin
FocusEducating students nationwide.
ServicesCharter schools
AffiliationsKIPP Foundation
Revenue (2016[1])
110,000 students
270 schools (2021)

The Knowledge is Power Program, commonly known as KIPP, is a network of free open-enrollment college-preparatory schools in low income communities throughout the United States. KIPP is America's largest network of charter schools.[3] The head offices are in San Francisco, Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C.[4]

KIPP was founded in 1994 by Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, two Teach For America corps members, influenced by Harriett Ball.[5][6] In 1995, they opened two KIPP middle schools, one in Houston and one in New York City.[5] Both schools were among the highest-performing schools in their communities by 1999.[5] KIPP was one of the charter school organizations to help produce the Relay Graduate School of Education for teacher training.[7]

KIPP began in 1994 after co-founders Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg completed their two-year commitment to Teach For America. A year later, they launched a program for fifth graders in a public school in inner-city Houston, Texas. Feinberg developed KIPP Academy Houston into a charter school, while Levin went on to establish KIPP Academy New York in the South Bronx.[8]

Operating principles[edit]

More than 95% of KIPP students are African American or Latino/Hispanic; more than 88% are eligible for the federally subsidized meal program.[9] Students are accepted regardless of prior academic record, conduct, or socioeconomic background. Eleven percent of students at KIPP Public Schools receive special education services and 17% are designated as English Language Learners (ELL).

KIPP Foundation[edit]

Doris and Donald Fisher, co-founders of Gap Inc., formed a partnership with Feinberg and Levin to replicate KIPP's success nationwide.[10] Established in 2000 with a $15 million grant from the Fishers, the nonprofit KIPP Foundation recruits, trains, and supports teachers in opening and leading high-performing college-preparatory public schools in educationally underserved communities.[5] The foundation helps secure facilities and operating contracts while training school leaders through a yearlong fellowship called "Fisher Fellows", which includes a program of coursework, residencies at other KIPP Schools, and support from KIPP staff.[11]

General information[edit]

KIPP Gulfton in Greater Sharpstown, Houston, Texas, serving Gulfton
KIPP teachers in 2017 Capital Pride parade

If there are more applicants than seats available, KIPP students are admitted through a lottery system.[12] After a student is selected from the lottery and the student decides that he or she would like to attend a KIPP school, a home visit is set up with a teacher or the principal of the school, who meets with the family and students to discuss expectations of all students, teachers and the parents in KIPP. Students, parents, and teachers are then all required to sign a KIPP commitment of excellence, agreeing to fulfill specific responsibilities, promising that they will do everything in their power to help the student succeed and go to college.[13]

As of the 2018–2019 school year, KIPP's national college completion rate for its alumni was 34 percent. This is comparable to the national average for all students and approximately three times the national average for students from low-income families (about 11 percent). Another 5 percent earned an associate degree.

For students who graduated from KIPP high schools, 43 percent earned a bachelor's degree and another 6 percent earned an associate degree.

Through the KIPP Forward program, counselors support students beyond high school graduation to prepare for college and later careers. They assist KIPP alumni in navigating social, academic and financial challenges. KIPP has partnered with other foundations and organizations to offer scholarships to alumni to defray the costs of college and provide mentorship and internship/job placement assistance.

KIPP has extended school days to offer extra-curricular activities, and some schools add three extra weeks of school in July. Most KIPP schools run from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.[14] Students spend that time in the classroom—up to 50 percent more time than in traditional public schools, depending on the region—and doing activities like sports, performing arts, and visual arts. Many of the activities KIPP offers might otherwise be inaccessible to students because of cost or scheduling issues. Because of this, the extended day offers students and families opportunities they might not get elsewhere.

During the school year, KIPP students can earn trips such as visits to colleges and ice-skating. At the end of the school year, the students can attend an end of the school year field trip. For example, KIPP Academy Middle School in Houston, Texas, sends sixth graders to Utah and eighth graders to Washington, D.C., while fifth and seventh graders take a smaller trip within Texas.[citation needed]


State Associated city (# of schools as of 8/18) District name
AR Helena (6) KIPP Delta

(Blytheville, Forrest City, and Helena)

  • KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy(2009);PK-4
  • KIPP Delta College Preparatory School(2002);6-8
  • KIPP Delta Collegiate High School(2006);9-12
  • KIPP Blytheville College Preparatory School(2010);4-6
  • KIPP Blytheville Collegiate High School(2014);7-12
  • KIPP Forrest City College Preparatory(2015);5-7
CA Los Angeles (15) KIPP SoCal Schools (formerly KIPP LA)

Serves students in the greater Los Angeles area including Los Angeles, Huntington Park, South Gate, and Compton

Bay Area (15) KIPP Northern California Public Schools

Serves students in Oakland, Redwood City, San Francisco, San Jose, San Lorenzo, and East Palo Alto

San Diego (1) KIPP SoCal Schools (formerly KIPP Adelante)
  • KIPP Adelante College Preparatory School(2003);5-8
CO Denver (5) KIPP Colorado Schools
  • KIPP Northeast Elementary School(2015);PK-3
  • KIPP Sunshine Peak Elementary School; PK-K
  • KIPP Northeast Denver Middle School(2011);5-8
  • KIPP Sunshine Peak Academy(2002);5-8
  • KIPP Denver Collegiate High School(2009);9-12
  • KIPP Northeast Denver Leadership Academy(2015);9-11
DC Washington (16) KIPP DC

School total includes 5 preschool programs

FL Jacksonville (3) KIPP Jacksonville Public Schools
  • KIPP Voice Elementary School(2012);K-4
  • KIPP Bessie Coleman Academy (2015);K-8 (formerly KIPP Jacksonville Elementary School)
  • KIPP Impact Middle School(2010);K-2,6-8
  • KIPP Bold City High School (2021); 9-10
GA Atlanta (10) KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools
IL Chicago (6) KIPP Chicago Public Schools
  • KIPP Ascend Primary(2010) ; K-4
  • KIPP Ascend Middle School; 5-8
  • KIPP Bloom College Prep; 5-8
  • KIPP Academy Chicago; 5-8
  • KIPP One Primary; K-1
  • KIPP One Academy(2016); 5-7
IN Indianapolis (2) KIPP Indy Public Schools
  • KIPP Indy Unite Elementary School(2014);K-4
  • KIPP Indy College Prep Middle School(2004);6-8
LA New Orleans (11) KIPP New Orleans Schools
  • KIPP Believe College Prep(2006); 5-8
  • KIPP Believe Primary(2011); K-4
  • KIPP Central City Academy(2007); 5-8
  • KIPP Central City Primary(2008); K-4
  • KIPP East Community Primary(2014); K-3
  • KIPP Leadership Academy(2010); 5-8
  • KIPP Leadership Primary(2011); K-4
  • KIPP Morial Middle School(2006); 5-8
  • KIPP Morial Primary School(2006); K-4
  • KIPP Renaissance High School(2010); 9-12
  • KIPP Booker T. Washington High School(2016); 9-11
MD Baltimore (2) KIPP Baltimore Public Schools
  • KIPP Harmony Academy; K-4
  • KIPP Ujima Village Academy(2002); 5-8
MA Lynn (3) Boston (2) KIPP Massachusetts

Serves students in Lynn and Boston

  • KIPP Academy Lynn Elementary School(2015);K-3
  • KIPP Academy Lynn Middle School(2004);5-8
  • KIPP Academy Lynn Collegiate High School (2011);9-12
  • KIPP Academy Boston Elementary School(2014);K-4
  • KIPP Academy Boston Middle School(2012);5-8
MN Minneapolis (2) KIPP Minnesota Public Schools
  • KIPP North Star Primary(2016); K-2
  • KIPP North Star Academy(2008); 5-8
MO Kansas City (1) KIPP Endeavour
  • KIPP Endeavour Academy(2007); 5-8
St. Louis (5) KIPP St Louis Public Schools
  • KIPP Victory Academy Elementary School; K-4
  • KIPP Wisdom Academy Elementary School(2015); K-3
  • KIPP Inspire Academy Middle School(2009); 5-8
  • KIPP Triumph Academy Middle School(2015); 5-7
  • KIPP St. Louis High School(2017); 9-10
NJ Newark (8) KIPP NJ
  • KIPP Spark Academy(2009); K-4
  • KIPP Thrive Academy(2012); K-4
  • KIPP Seek Academy(2013); K-4
  • KIPP Life Academy(2014); K-4
  • KIPP Team Academy(2002); 5-8
  • KIPP Rise Academy(2006); 4-8
  • KIPP Bold Academy(2015); 5-7
  • KIPP Newark Collegiate Academy(2007); 9-12
NY Albany (2) KIPP Tech Valley
  • KIPP Tech Valley(2005); 5-8
  • KIPP Tech VALLEY Primary School(2016); K-1
New York City (13) KIPP NYC
  • KIPP Academy Elementary School(2009); K-4
  • KIPP AMP Elementary School(2013); K-4
  • KIPP Infinity Elementary School(2010); K-4
  • KIPP Infinity Middle School(2005); 5-8
  • KIPP STAR Harlem College Prep Elementary School(2014); K-4
  • KIPP STAR Harlem Middle School(2003); 5-8
  • KIPP Washington Heights Elementary School(2011); K-3
  • KIPP Washington Heights Middle School(2012); 4-8
  • KIPP NYC College Prep High School(2009); 9-12
  • KIPP Freedom Elementary School(2018); K-2
  • KIPP Freedom Middle School(2018); 5-8
  • KIPP AMP Middle School(2005); 5-8
NC Charlotte (2) KIPP Charlotte Public Schools
  • KIPP Change Academy(2016); K, 1, 4, 5
  • KIPP Academy Charlotte(2007); 6-8
Gaston (6) KIPP ENC (Eastern North Carolina)

Serves students in Gaston, Halifax, and Durham

  • KIPP Halifax College Preparatory Primary School(2017); K
  • KIPP GCP Pride High School(2005); 9-12
  • KIPP GCP Middle School, home of the Lions(2001); 5-8
  • KIPP GCP Primary School(2012); K-4
  • KIPP Halifax College Preparatory(2014); 5-8
  • KIPP Durham College Preparatory(2015); 5-7
OH Columbus (2) KIPP Columbus
  • KIPP Columbus Middle School(2008); 5-8
  • KIPP Columbus Elementary School(2014); 2-4
  • Kipp Columbus Primary(2016); K-1
  • Kipp Columbus High(2016); 9-12
OK Oklahoma City (2) KIPP Oklahoma City
  • KIPP OKC South Community Prep(2017); 4-5
  • KIPP REACH College Prep(2002); 5-8
Tulsa (2) KIPP Tulsa
  • KIPP Tulsa College Preparatory School(2005); 5-8
  • KIPP Tulsa University High School(2018); 9
PA Philadelphia (5) KIPP Philadelphia Schools
  • KIPP Philadelphia Elementary Academy(2010); K-4
  • KIPP West Philadelphia Elementary School(2016); K-2
  • KIPP Philadelphia Preparatory Academy(2003); 5-8
  • KIPP West Philadelphia Preparatory Charter School(2009); 5-8
  • KIPP DuBios Collegiate Academy(2010); 9-12
  • KIPP North Philadelphia Academy(2018) K-1
TN Memphis (7) KIPP Memphis Schools
  • KIPP Memphis Collegiate Elementary School(2012); K-4
  • KIPP Memphis Academy Elementary School(2013); K-4
  • KIPP Memphis Preparatory School(2015); K-3
  • KIPP Memphis Collegiate Middle School(2002); 5-8
  • KIPP Memphis Academy Middle School(2012); 5-8
  • KIPP Memphis Preparatory Middle School(2013); 5-8
  • *KIPP Memphis Collegiate High School(2011); 9-12
Nashville (5) KIPP Nashville Schools
  • KIPP Kirkpatrick Elementary School(2015); K-3
  • KIPP Nashville Academy(2005); 5-8
  • KIPP Nashville College Prep(2013); 5-8
  • KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School(2014); 9-12
  • KIPP Nashville College Prep Elementary School(2017); K-1
TX Austin (10) KIPP Texas
  • KIPP Austin Comunidad(2010); K-4
  • KIPP Austin Connections(2011); K-4
  • KIPP Austin Obras(2013); K-4
  • KIPP Austin Leadership Elementary School(2013); K-4
  • KIPP Austin College Prep(2002); 5-8
  • KIPP Austin Academy of Arts & Letters(2009); 5-8
  • KIPP Austin Beacon Prep(2012); 5-8
  • KIPP Austin Vista Middle School(2012); 5-8
  • KIPP Austin Collegiate(2008); 9-12
  • *KIPP Austin Brave High School(2016); 9-11
Dallas (6) KIPP Texas
  • KIPP TRUTH Academy(2003); 5-8
  • KIPP Truth Elementary School(2015); K-3
  • KIPP Pleasant Grove Primary(2016); K-2
  • KIPP Destiny Middle School(2015); 6-8
  • KIPP Destiny Elementary School(2013); K-4
  • *KIPP Pleasant Middle School(2017); 5-7
Houston (29) KIPP Texas
  • KIPP SHINE Preparatory School(2004); PK-4
  • KIPP DREAM Preparatory School(2006); PK-4
  • KIPP SHARP College Preparatory School, home of the Kangaroos(2008); PK-4
  • KIPP ZENITH Academy(2009); PK-4
  • KIPP Explore Academy(2009); PK-4
  • KIPP Legacy Preparatory School, home of the Trailblazers(2010); PK-4
  • KIPP PEACE Elementary School(2011); PK-4
  • KIPP CONNECT Primary School(2014); PK-4
  • KIPP Unity Primary School(2015); K-3
  • KIPP Climb Academy(2016); K-2
  • KIPP NEXUS Primary, home of the Bobcats(2017); K-1
  • KIPP Academy Middle School, home of the Bulldogs(1994); 5-8
  • KIPP 3D Academy, home of the Tigers(2001); 5-8
  • KIPP Spirit College Prep, home of the Stallions(2006); 5-8
  • KIPP Liberation College Preparatory Middle School, home of the Eagles(2006)
  • KIPP Sharpstown College Preparatory Middle School, home of the Phoenix(2007); 5-8
  • KIPP Polaris Academy For Boys, home of the Panthers(2007); 5-8
  • KIPP Intrepid Preparatory School, home of the Lions(2008); 5-8
  • KIPP Voyage Academy For Girls(2009); 5-8
  • KIPP Courage College Prep, home of the Lions(2012); 5-8
  • KIPP CONNECT Middle School(2014); 5-8
  • KIPP Academy West Middle School(2015); 5-8
  • KIPP Prime College Preparatory School(2016); 5-7
  • KIPP NEXUS Middle School(2017); 5-6
  • KIPP Houston High School, home of the Kerberos(2004); 9-12
  • KIPP Sunnyside High School, home of the Senators(2010); 9-12
  • KIPP Generations Collegeiate, home of the Jaguars(2011); 9-12
  • KIPP Northeast College Preparatory School, home of the Navigators(2013); 9-12
  • KIPP CONNECT High School(2018);9th grade
San Antonio (6) KIPP Texas
  • KIPP Aspire Academy(2003); 5-8
  • KIPP Camino Academy(2010); 5-8
  • KIPP Esperanza Dual Language Academy(2014); K-4
  • KIPP Poder Academy(2015); 5-8
  • KIPP University Prep(2009); 9-12
  • KIPP Un Mundo Dual Language Academy(2012); K-4


  • Some schools may be physically located on the same campus but are differentiated as Primary or Middle schools

Peer group[edit]

KIPP and similar operators of multiple charter schools are known as charter management organizations (CMOs). KIPP is the largest, with 270 schools.[16] Another non-profit CMO, Imagine Schools, has 55.

Some for-profit rivals have shied away from managing any brick-and-mortar schools and offer online curricula and other services. These companies, including Stride, Inc. and EdisonLearning, are known as education management organizations (EMOs). Stride was the largest in the US in 2011–2012.[17]

Outside comments[edit]

In June 2010, Mathematica Inc. produced the first findings[18] from a multi-year evaluation of KIPP: "Using a matched comparison group design, results show that for the vast majority of KIPP schools in the evaluation, impacts on students' state assessment scores in math and reading are positive, statistically significant, and educationally substantial."

A February 2007 strategy paper[19] for the Brookings Institution think tank commented favorably on the accomplishment of KIPP.

At the vanguard of experimentation with educational methods and techniques are charter schools: public schools that operate outside the normal governance structure of the public school system. In recent years, charter schools such as the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) and Achievement First have upended the way Americans think about educating disadvantaged children, eliminating the sense of impossibility and hopelessness and suggesting a set of highly promising methods.

A research report published in March 2005 by the Economic Policy Institute in book form as The Charter School Dust-Up: Examining the Evidence on Enrollment and Achievement,[20] however, described the degree to which KIPP's admission process selects for likely high achievers:

KIPP students, as a group, enter KIPP with substantially higher achievement than the typical achievement of schools from which they came. ... [T]eachers told us either that they referred students who were more able than their peers, or that the most motivated and educationally sophisticated parents were those likely to take the initiative to pull children out of the public school and enroll in KIPP at the end of fourth grade. Today, KIPP Schools have added Pre-K through 12th grade schools. A clear pattern to emerge from these interviews was that almost always it was students with unusually supportive parents or intact families who were referred to KIPP and completed the enrollment process.

The authors of The Charter School Dust-Up said that KIPP's admission process self-screens for students who are motivated, compliant, and come from similarly motivated, compliant and supportive families. The 2010 Mathematica Policy Research study found that KIPP schools had a "lower concentration of special education and limited English proficiency students than the public schools from which they draw".[21]

Some KIPP schools show high rates of attrition, especially for those students entering the schools with the lowest test scores. A 2008 study by SRI International found that while KIPP fifth-grade students who enter with below-average scores significantly outperform peers in public schools by the end of year one, "60 percent of students who entered fifth grade at four Bay Area KIPP schools in 2003–04 left before completing eighth grade",[22] although research on attrition at one KIPP school in Massachusetts differs.[23] The SRI report also discusses student mobility due to changing economic situations for student's families, but does not directly link this factor into student attrition. Figures for schools in all states are not readily available.

While KIPP's goal is that 75% of KIPP students graduate from college, a report they released in April 2011 stated that the college graduation rate for students who completed the first middle school program in 1999 and 2000 was about 33%.[24][25][26] The report states that 95% of the students completed high school, 89% of the students went to college, and 33% of the students earned a degree. For comparison, for students in a similar economic background to that which KIPP draws from. only 70% complete high school, 41% go to college, and 8% earn a four-year degree.[27] Overall in the United States 83% of students complete high school, 62% enroll in college, and 31% complete a four-year degree.[27]

For the overall graduation rate for students entering college in the United States one study found a 56% result (Pathways to Prosperity Study),[28] and another study found 54% graduated (American Dream 2.0 Report).[29]

KIPP's goal of a 75% college graduation rate is close to the 82% college graduation rate for students coming from the highest income quartile.[30]

Jay Mathews, writing for The Washington Post, was encouraged by the results from the KIPP report, although he pointed out that the sample size was only 200 students, and that after graduating from the KIPP middle school the students were no longer attending a KIPP school.[24] Both Matthews and Kay S. Hymowitz writing for City Journal found the 75% goal to be ambitious.

A report published in April 2011 projects that KIPP students who graduate from college will increase from over 6,000 in 2014, to over 7,500 in 2015, to about 10,500 in 2016.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "KIPP Inc. Form 990 2016". ProPublica. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Work hard. Be nice. - KIPP Public Charter Schools".
  3. ^ "Do charter schools work? Time for a test". The Economist. June 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  4. ^ "KIPP Foundation Offices." KIPP Foundation. Retrieved on July 17, 2011. "San Francisco, CA (Head office) KIPP Foundation 135 Main Street, Suite 1700 San Francisco, CA 94105"
  5. ^ a b c d "KIPP Charter Schools History - KIPP Public Charter Schools".
  6. ^ "Remembering Pioneering Educator Harriett Ball". All Things Considered. February 14, 2011. Retrieved 2014-05-16.
  7. ^ Elizabeth Green (2011-02-14). "A new graduate school of education, Relay, to open next fall". Chalkbeat. Retrieved 2004-09-15.
  8. ^ Mathews, Jay. Work hard. Be nice. Algonquin Books. 2009.
  9. ^ "National Report Card - KIPP Public Charter Schools".
  10. ^ Writer, ANDREA EGER World Staff. "KIPP schools co-founder sees growth potential". Tulsa World. Retrieved 2021-01-21.
  11. ^ "KIPP Leadership - Development for all levels of leaders at KIPP".
  12. ^ Lavon, Roy. "Real Justice in the Age of Obama". Princeton University Press. NJ. 2009.
  13. ^ Ravitch, Diane "The death and life of the great American School system" NY New York. 2010
  14. ^ "The underworked American: Children are exceptions to the country's work ethic". The Economist. June 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-21.
  15. ^ "KIPP Regions | KIPP regional organizations across the country".
  16. ^ "Why nation's biggest charter network dumped its slogan, 'Work hard. Be nice.'". Washington Post. Retrieved 20 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Charter School Operators". In Perspective. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  18. ^ "Student Characteristics and Achievement in 22 KIPP Middle Schools" Archived 2013-05-31 at the Wayback Machine, Mathematica Policy Research Archived 2010-08-13 at the Wayback Machine, June 2010
  19. ^ "An Education Strategy to Promote Opportunity, Prosperity, and Growth" (PDF). Archived from the original on November 1, 2007. Retrieved 2013-08-17.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link), Brookings Institution, February 2007
  20. ^ The Charter School Dust-Up: Examining the evidence on enrollment and achievement, Teachers College Press, March 2005
  21. ^ "Student Characteristics and Achievement in 22 KIPP Middle Schools" (PDF). Mathematica Policy Research. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-05-31. Retrieved 2010-08-13.
  22. ^ "New Study Finds San Francisco Bay Area KIPP Students Outperform Peers" (Press release). SRI International. 2008-09-16. Retrieved 2013-07-10.
  23. ^ Angrist, J. D.; Dynarski, S. M.; Kane, T. J.; Pathak, P. A.; Walters, C. R. (2012). "Who Benefits from KIPP?" (PDF). Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. 31 (4): 837–860. doi:10.1002/pam.21647. hdl:1721.1/73139. S2CID 376193.
  24. ^ a b Jay Mathews (29 April 2011). "KIPP criticizes its college graduation record". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  25. ^ "College Completion Report". KIPP Public Charter Schools | Knowledge Is Power Program. KIPP: Knowledge is Power Program. Retrieved 2013-03-18. April 2011
  26. ^ Kay S. Hymowitz (June 28, 2011). "Still No Sign of Superman". Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  27. ^ a b "College Completion Report". KIPP Public Charter Schools | Knowledge Is Power Program. KIPP: Knowledge is Power Program. Retrieved 2013-03-18. April 2011, (see page 9 of the report (page 11 of the issued document))
  28. ^ Carlozo, Lou (27 March 2012). "Why college students stop short of a degree". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  29. ^ Joy Resmovits (24 January 2013). "College Dropout Crisis Revealed In 'American Dream 2.0' Report". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  30. ^ "College Completion Report". KIPP Public Charter Schools | Knowledge Is Power Program. KIPP: Knowledge is Power Program. Retrieved 2013-03-19. April 2011, (see page 7 of the report (page 9 of the issuu document))
  31. ^ "College Completion Report". KIPP Public Charter Schools | Knowledge Is Power Program. KIPP: Knowledge is Power Program. Retrieved 2013-03-19. April 2011, (see page 19 of the report (page 21 of the issuu document))

External links[edit]