In my 7-year involvement with Kipp.org as a founding board member, I was able to see firsthand the power of education on disadvantaged children who would’ve been lost to the streets, their talents and imaginations untapped, and therefore lost without help. During that time I helped them grow from 2 schools to 22 schools. And now it has grown to 183 schools.
KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) was founded with a focus on one theme: to help children. Since its founding in 1994 by Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin in a Houston classroom of 47 5th-graders, KIPP.org has aided in the development of education and valuable skills that enhance children’s ability to advance onto higher education.
As educators in Houston’s impoverished and crime-filled Third Ward, Mike and Dave witnessed the imperative need for children to have a path towards high-quality college prep instruction and high-quality mentorship — starting at the Pre-K level. With their determination, KIPP has continued to grow, and has proven itself pivotal to the communities it serves.
KIPP.org’s success stories have been growing in its 22 years with the highly effective utilization of KIPP.org’s Five Pillars: High Expectations, Choice and Commitment, More Time, Power to Lead, and Focus on Results.
THE FIVE PILLARS
- High Expectations: KIPP schools have clearly defined and measurable high expectations for academic achievement and conduct. Students, parents, teachers, and staff create and reinforce a culture of achievement and support through a range of formal and informal rewards and consequences for academic performance and behavior.
- Choice & Commitment: Students, their parents, and the faculty of each KIPP school choose to participate in the program. No one is assigned or forced to attend a KIPP school. Everyone must make and uphold a commitment to the school and to each other to put in the time and effort required to achieve success.
- More Time: KIPP schools know that there are no shortcuts when it comes to success in academics and life. With an extended school day, week, and year, students have more time in the classroom to acquire the academic knowledge and skills that will prepare them for competitive high schools and colleges, as well as more opportunities to engage in diverse extracurricular experiences.
- Power to Lead: The principals of KIPP schools are effective academic and organizational leaders who understand that great schools require great school leaders. They have control over their school budget and personnel. They are free to swiftly move dollars or make staffing changes, allowing them maximum effectiveness in helping students learn.
- Focus on Results: KIPP schools relentlessly focus on high student performance on standardized tests and other objective measures. Just as there are no shortcuts, there are no excuses. Students are expected to achieve a level of academic performance that will enable them to succeed at the nation’s best high schools and colleges.
Armed with these principles, KIPP.org devised plans to take these 5 Pillars national. With family, friends, and fellow teachers for support, the founders focus on recruiting teachers and students, developing excellent academic skills, and training potential leaders. In 2000, the KIPP Foundation was established to train, recruit, and develop candidates who would become leaders to run future KIPP schools. KIPP successfully open its first elementary and high schools which would become a Pre-K to 12 system. If space provides, KIPP enrolls all interested students, regardless of prior academic record or socioeconomic background. By providing a safe and structured learning environment, more classroom instruction, and committed teachers, KIPP schools have helped students make significant academic gains.
PRE-K To HIGH SCHOOL & BEYOND
Pre-K/Elementary Schools: KIPP pre-kindergarten/elementary schools begin with a pre-kindergarten or kindergarten class and add a grade each year until fourth grade. Currently, KIPP operates 71 elementary schools across the nation.
Middle Schools: KIPP middle school starts with a fifth grade through eighth grade. There are currently 90 KIPP middle schools around the country.
High Schools: KIPP high schools begin with ninth grade through twelfth grade high schools. KIPP has grown to reach 22 high schools serving communities around the country.
KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) now has 183 schools in 20 states with over 70,000 students, with almost 90 percent of students from low-income families. Across the U.S., more than 94 percent of KIPP middle school students have graduated high school, and more than 82 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to university.
KIPP.org was founded by teachers who wanted to make a difference and in turn have paved the way to educate and mentor countless children in the process.
Five Pillars from KIPP.org