In 2003, KIPP Philadelphia Charter School opened with 90 fifth graders and one promise: that we would do whatever it takes to help our students climb the mountain to college.
We continue to make—and keep—that promise. KIPP Philadelphia has grown to four schools which support 1,625 students: KIPP Philadelphia Elementary Academy (K-4), KIPP Philadelphia Charter School (5-8), KIPP West Philadelphia Preparatory (5-8), and KIPP DuBois Collegiate Academy (9-12). All of our students have been admitted through a random, open lottery.
Over fifty percent of our first class of fifth graders are persisting in or have graduated from college, and nationally, KIPP students graduate at a rate four times that of the national average for students from low-income communities.
KIPP Philadelphia Schools opened its doors with a single flagship middle school on July 14, 2003 under the direction of Marc Mannella and with support from a community coalition of parents and business leaders and a dedicated group of founding teachers. Since then, KIPP Philadelphia Schools has opened three additional schools in North and West Philadelphia and plans to expand to ten schools in these communities. Thanks to the tremendous effort of a supportive extended team and family, the impact of KIPP increases over time. The longer a student spends in a KIPP Philadelphia classroom, the greater the academic gains.
KIPP Philadelphia Schools is part of a nationwide network of public charter schools. This network started as a single classroom in 1994 when two teachers, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, launched a fifth grade public school program in Houston, Texas after completing their work with Teach For America. Their goal: do “whatever it takes” to help students develop their character and academic skills for college and life. They believed that high expectations coupled with creativity, rigor and sustained student, parent and teacher commitment could generate transformational results for kids in schools in underserved communities. Mike and Dave named their program KIPP – the Knowledge is Power Program.
In 1995, they decided to expand. Mike remained in Houston to lead KIPP Academy Middle School; Dave and his colleague Frank Corcoran established KIPP Academy in the South Bronx. Nineteen years later, KIPP has grown into a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. For more information on the KIPP network, visit http://www.kipp.org.