Richard Barth was made Chief Executive Officer of the KIPP Foundation in December 2005. Over the past years, he has overseen the significant growth of the network from 45 to 141 schools and dramatically expanded KIPP's leadership development programs.
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KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program), was founded in 1994 in Houston, TX, by teachers Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin after they completed their two-year commitment to Teach For America. Feinberg and Levin started KIPP with a single class of fifth graders in a district classroom. The following year, Feinberg and Levin founded two KIPP Academy Middle Schools, in Houston and the Bronx. In 2000, Feinberg and Levin partnered with Don and Doris Fisher, Founders of the Gap, Inc., to create the KIPP Foundation and expand KIPP’s successful school model to communities nationwide. As of 2013, there are 141 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia, serving over 50,000 students in grades PreK-12.
The mission of the KIPP Foundation is to build a network of public charter schools that prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and character strengths necessary to succeed in college and the competitive world beyond. KIPP schools are free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools serving students from underserved backgrounds. Ninety-five percent of KIPP’s students are African-American or Latino, and 86% are eligible for federal free and reduced price meals.
In a 2013 report by independent research firm Mathematica, students at KIPP middle schools showed positive and substantial achievement gains across all grade levels and subjects. KIPP students are graduating from college at a greater rate than the national average, and four times the rate for students from the nation’s lowest-income communities. KIPP schools are locally run by independent boards of directors, with the support of the KIPP Foundation. At both the national and regional level, KIPP schools are collectively aligned around a common mission and share many longer-range targets for growth and performance.
The KIPP Foundation conducts quality assurance, fosters sharing and innovation through the Healthy Schools & Regions Initiative, provides professional development for teachers and school staff, and assists with a variety of administrative functions. At the core of the KIPP model are highly effective school leaders, who undergo an intensive, year-long Fellowship Programme that includes intensive coursework in a university setting, residencies at other KIPP schools, and support from experienced KIPP staff. In 2012, KIPP Co-Dounder Mike Feinberg and Aaron Brenner launched the One World Network of Schools, a global network of schools inspired by the KIPP model.