What is KIPP?

KIPP schools are tuition-free, public charter schools open to all students. KIPP schools are united by a common mission, a commitment to excellence, and a belief that if we help children develop the academic and character strengths they need for college and choice filled lives, they will be able to build a better tomorrow for themselves, for their communities, for us all. Charter schools are tuition-free public schools and enrollment is open to all students. They are independently operated schools that run with more flexibility than traditional public schools in exchange for increased accountability.


KIPP Minnesota Mission

To create and sustain a respected, influential, and inspiring network of public schools that battles educational inequity by helping students develop the knowledge, skills, character strengths, and habits to succeed in college and the competitive world beyond.

KIPP’s Beginnings

KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program, www.KIPP.org ) was founded in 1994 by Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin in a classroom in Houston. The following year, they opened the first two KIPP middle schools (one in Houston and one in New York City), which quickly became two of the highest-performing public charter schools in their respective communities. In 2000, Doris and Donald Fisher, co-founders of Gap, Inc., partnered with Mike and Dave to create the KIPP Foundation, to train leaders and replicate the success of the original KIPP middle schools.

KIPP Minnesota History

KIPP Minnesota was founded in 2006 to address the racial and economic achievement gaps in Twin Cities’ public schools. A broad coalition of local business and philanthropic leaders brought the highly regarded KIPP charter school model here to create a new public school solution to launch students from low-income communities toward success and self-sufficiency. KIPP Minnesota’s first school, KIPP North Star Academy (formerly KIPP Stand Academy), opened in 2008 in downtown Minneapolis. In the summer of 2014 we moved into a vacant Minneapolis public school building on the far north side to allow expansion of our middle school and the addition of an elementary school in fall 2016.


What is a Charter School?

The “charter” that establishes each school is a contract detailing the school’s mission, program, performance goals, and methods of assessment. Every public charter school has an authorizer which, subject to state law, may be a district school board, university, Mayor’s office, or non-profit organization.  Authorizers are responsible for holding charter schools accountable for compliance with their operating agreements or “charters.”

Like all public schools, charter schools are:

  • Tuition-free and part of the free public school system
  • Held to state and federal academic standards
  • Open to all students, including those with disabilities
  • Funded primarily through a combination of federal, state, and local tax dollars
  • Not affiliated with or restricted to a particular religious group

All KIPP schools are public charter schools. And yet, not all public charter schools are like KIPP. KIPP is a non-profit network of 209 college-preparatory, public charter schools educating early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school students.