Knowledge is Power
KIPP Chicago Schools are modeled after the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), which was founded in 1994 by Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin. Upon completing their commitment with Teach for America, Feinberg and Levin launched KIPP as a 5th grade program at Garcia Elementary School on the north side of Houston, Texas. Their students' academic success and interest in learning inspired Feinberg and Levin to expand the program beyond one classroom. The following year, KIPP Academy opened in Houston and Levin founded KIPP Academy in the South Bronx, New York. Today, both are recognized nationally as outstanding schools. Thanks to the support of Doris & Don Fisher (co-founders of the GAP clothing stores), the Walton Family Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other education reform advocates, KIPP now has a network of 99 schools.
The 5 Pillars
Five basic principles form the “pillars” that are responsible for the success of students at KIPP Schools. They are:
Choice + Commitment: The students, parents, and faculty of KIPP Chicago Schools have made a choice to be a part of our schools. Everyone signs a Commitment to Excellence agreement at the start of the school year, and everyone is required to put in the time and effort that is necessary to achieve success.
High Expectations: KIPP Chicago Schools has clearly-defined and measurable high expectations for academic achievement and conduct. When it comes to effort and behavior, there are no excuses. Students are expected to realize a level of academic performance that will enable them to succeed at the nation's best high schools and colleges.
More Time: Students attending KIPP Chicago Schools have an extended school day, attend one Saturday school session per month, and attend class for three weeks in the summer. More time enables them to acquire superior academic skills as well as broaden their horizons with extra-curricular experiences.
Focus on Results: Test data is used regularly to guide individual student instruction with a focus on results. At KIPP schools nationwide, student performance on tests and other objective measures consistently outpace district averages. Nearly 80% of KIPP alumni across the nation are in college.
Power to Lead: The KIPP Chicago Schools leadership team has the power to lead an effective organization, retaining control over all school budget and personnel decisions. This freedom allows for maximum flexibility and effectiveness in improving student achievement. The KIPP Chicago Schools staff understands what it takes to build and sustain high performing schools, and has the desire, discipline, and dedication to see its mission put into action.