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What Is KIPP?

“KIPP” stands for the Knowledge Is Power Program. It is a non-profit network of charter schools that support low-income students on their entire educational journey. 

To learn about the origins and benefits of KIPP, read more below! 

What does KIPP do? 

KIPP’s network of 270+ college-preparatory public charter schools educates elementary, middle, and high school students in low-income areas. To define the organization, we think their own mission statement best describes who and what they are:

Mission statement

“Together with families and communities, we create joyful, academically excellent schools that prepare students with the skills and confidence to pursue the paths they choose—college, career, and beyond—so they can lead fulfilling lives and build a more just world.”

How KIPP started

KIPP was founded in1994 in Houston, Texas by two fifth-grade public elementary teachers with 47 students. A few years later, the KIPP Academy Middle School in the South Bronx opened. Fast forward to today, and the organization operates nearly 300 charter schools in operation across the United States. 

Also see: Charter schools vs. Public schools: What you need to know

Who qualifies for KIPP?

In short, all K-12 students can attend schools in the KIPP network! As long as they live within an enrollment area, each and every student is eligible. 

How can a child enroll in a KIPP public school? 

KIPP schools are public charter schools, which means that they are open to all students who live within the enrollment area. All enrollment occurs at the local level. Therefore, it is best to contact the school you’re interested in directly to learn exactly what their enrollment process is. Due to high demand, blind lottery systems are typically utilized to prevent over-enrollment. There is no guarantee that the school will have a seat for you or your child, so be sure to have alternative educational plans.  

Do KIPP schools have admissions requirements?

There are absolutely no admissions requirements. KIPP schools are open to all students without any kind of entrance testing. English Language Learners (ELL) and students with special education needs are welcome to apply. In fact, 18% of enrolled students are ELL, and 12% receive special education services.

Related: Charter schools vs. Private schools: What you need to know

How long is a typical KIPP school day? 

KIPP schools allow more time for academics and extracurriculars in the supervision of their schools. Therefore, their schools usually have longer school days. The typical hours of a KIPP school are 7:30am until 4:00pm. 

In addition, KIPP offers summer school. This allows the schools to offer art, music, and other extracurriculars without reducing the amount of time focused on academics during the typical school months. 

Don’t miss: Top middle school scholarships

Are KIPP teachers specially certified? 

Because certification requirements for public charter school teachers vary by state, each KIPP school follows the regulations of the particular state they are located in. 

Many schools in the organization tend to look for teachers who have at least two years of experience teaching. However, some offer programs specifically for new teachers. 

How are KIPP schools funded? 

KIPP schools are primarily funded by local and state funding. This is because KIPP schools are public charter schools that utilize public funds such as tax dollars. In addition, KIPP raises additional funding from local donors and foundations. 

What does KIPP’s curriculum look like? 

KIPP schools use a rigorous and Common Core standards-based curriculum. The curriculum leads to college preparatory courses that allow students to succeed in college and beyond. While the core subjects are all taught, KIPP offers more in-depth information on their literacy and math programs as shown below. 

Literacy Curriculum

Literacy is taught through the Wheatley Curriculum in grades K-8. The Wheatley program involves close reading and language study, promotes independent reading, and requires daily writing. The program strives to use books that teach the history of marginalized people in their reading curriculum. 

Math Curriculum 

KIPP utilizes Eureka Math, a program that aligns college ready standards to the K-12 educational journey. Eureka Math presents math to students in a user-friendly way that connects them to what they are learning. Students logically work through math steps to gradually master mathematical concepts. 

Frequently asked questions

Is there an application fee to apply to KIPP schools?

There are no application fees to apply for enrollment at any schools in the KIPP network.

Do KIPP schools offer extracurricular activities? 

Yes, they do, and there is more of a focus on extracurriculars through summer enrichment programs. Schools in the KIPP network offer a wide range of extracurriculars, including sports, performing arts, STEM, visual arts, and a variety of clubs.

Are KIPP schools public schools? 

Charter schools are public schools, so yes, they are considered public. Just like public schools, KIPP schools are free and open to all students who live in a particular community. In addition, all charter schools follow the same local laws as any public school.