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The History of KIPP

KIPP began in 1994 with a powerful idea: to create a classroom that helped children develop the knowledge, skills, character, and habits necessary to succeed in college and build a better tomorrow for their communities. Founders Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin began by redefining what was possible for a classroom of public school students in Houston. The following year, they opened two KIPP middle schools, one in Houston and one in New York City. By 1999, these original KIPP charter schools were among the highest-performing schools in their respective communities.

In 2000, Mike and Dave formed a partnership with Doris and Donald Fisher, co-founders of Gap Inc., to train leaders to replicate the success of the original KIPP middle schools. As KIPP opened new schools in more cities, expanding from middle schools to elementary and high schools, our network began helping transform futures for thousands of children and families in underserved communities. Today, the KIPP network serves 58,000 students in 162 schools in 20 states (plus D.C.) across the country.

Celebrating 20 Years

2014 is an important milestone for KIPP: our 20th anniversary. This anniversary gives us the opportunity to celebrate all KIPPsters—big and little, past, present, and future—who are such an integral part of our story and our success. KIPP’s history tells the story of going beyond what others thought was possible; it’s the story of the joy of learning—working hard, staying positive, being grateful, kind, and curious, and persevering toward a goal that all children deserve: the opportunity to attend and graduate from college, and to lead lives filled with choice and promise.

Our 20th anniversary is also an opportunity to celebrate what comes next, beyond the first 20 years. KIPP is part of a tremendous movement that is changing the face of education. As we look to the future, we will see our first primary school KIPPsters starting college in 2018 and beginning to graduate in 2022. We will see the first KIPP schools being led by KIPP alumni. We will see KIPP serving 100,000-plus children. Our 20th anniversary is an opportunity to celebrate this impact and our intention to create an impact beyond the walls of KIPP schools—so that all children have access to a world-class education that prepares them for a life full of opportunity.  

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KIPP catches attention when featured on 60 Minutes in 2000: