NEW YORK, NY–TUESDAY, JANUARY 30, 2007–The KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Foundation announced today an effort to strengthen leadership development, sustainability, and educational quality in the KIPP network of schools with the support of The Atlantic Philanthropies. With this additional support, KIPP will be able to continue to focus on delivering on the promise of a high-quality educational experience for our students and developing the tools to measure progress towards this goal. The Atlantic Philanthropies has committed $14.6 million over five years to the KIPP Foundation to support this effort.
"As KIPP grows across the country, our focus is always on enhancing the quality of instruction that we deliver to our students," explains KIPP CEO Richard Barth. "We are thrilled that after an examination of our work, The Atlantic Philanthropies will support our effort for continuous improvement and the strengthening of the leadership at our schools."
Two teachers, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, founded KIPP in 1994 in Houston, Texas, after completing their commitment to Teach For America. In 2000, Feinberg and Levin partnered with Doris and Donald Fisher, founders of Gap, Inc., to replicate the success of KIPP. Started with a $15 million investment by the Fishers, the KIPP Foundation recruits, trains, and supports school leaders to open and operate high quality public schools nationwide. Since 2000, KIPP has grown from two schools to a national network of 52 schools in 16 states and Washington, DC, serving more than 12,000 students. Over 95 percent of students enrolled in KIPP schools are African American or Hispanic and more than 80 percent qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meal program.
Studies demonstrate that through its efforts, KIPP has helped improve student achievement levels for low income and minority kids. In 2005, a report by the Educational Policy Institute (EPI) found that students in KIPP schools made "large and significant gains" in mathematics and reading as compared to students in traditional urban schools. A 2006 study by SRI International found that students at the five San Francisco Bay Area KIPP schools scored significantly higher on standardized tests than students at comparable neighborhood public schools. Both studies recommended that KIPP engage in a multi-year, longitudinal study to further assess the effect of KIPP on student achievement. KIPP plans to commission a comprehensive study with Atlantic´s support.
"KIPP has grown from a classroom serving 50 students to a network of schools serving over 12,000 students across the country," explains KIPP co-founder Dave Levin. "With this generous support from The Atlantic Philanthropies, we will have greater opportunity to deeply reflect on the areas where we can improve and the capacity to implement these ´lessons learned´ across the entire KIPP network."
The grant will support three of KIPP´s core operating initiatives. First, it will allow KIPP to focus on leadership by strengthening its principal recruitment and training program and developing leadership at the KIPP Foundation. The KIPP Foundation trains leaders through the year-long KIPP School Leadership Program (KSLP). The KSLP includes a six-week course at Stanford University run in partnership with the Stanford Educational Leadership Institute, residencies at KIPP schools, and support from KIPP staff.
Second, the grant will support the central administrative systems to ensure KIPP´s long-term sustainability. KIPP hopes to double the size of the network from 50 to 100 schools and triple the number of students served in the next five years. This grant will allow the KIPP Foundation to make the necessary investments in leadership and administrative systems to ensure that, as the network grows, the focus always remains on the quality of education that KIPP schools offer to students. This focus will allow KIPP to stay centered on its mission of preparing students for success in high school, college, and the competitive world beyond.
Third, the grant will allow KIPP to improve its internal quality control and ultimately strengthen the consistency of teaching and learning across KIPP network schools. Specific funds from the grant will allow KIPP to contract with a third-party evaluator to scientifically study and assess the KIPP middle school model through a longitudinal study. In addition, funds from The Atlantic Philanthropies will allow the KIPP Foundation to improve the inspection process for each school that happens during a school´s first and second year of operation.
"KIPP is one of the most promising models in public education today. KIPP has demonstrated that it helps students achieve beyond expectation and ensures that underserved students gain access to high-quality educational opportunities," explains Charles Roussel, Director for the Disadvantaged Children and Youth Programme at The Atlantic Philanthropies. "We believe that it is critical that children are provided with the academic preparation needed to succeed in top quality high schools and ultimately college. We are privileged to support KIPP´s effort to strengthen its leadership and sustainability. We are confident that KIPP has and will continue to make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of students over the next five years."
KIPP has grown from two original schools to a national network of 52 public schools in 16 states and the District of Columbia. KIPP schools have been widely recognized for putting underserved students on the path to college. Nationally, 80 percent of KIPP alumni have matriculated to college. For more information, visit: www.kipp.org.
About The Atlantic Philanthropies
The Atlantic Philanthropies are dedicated to bringing about lasting changes in the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people. Atlantic focuses on four critical social problems: Ageing, Disadvantaged Children & Youth, Population Health, and Reconciliation & Human Rights. Programmes funded by Atlantic operate in Australia, Bermuda, Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, South Africa, the United States and Viet Nam. For more information, visit www.atlanticphilanthropies.org.