The mission of KIPP Bay Area Schools is to operate high-achieving public schools in educationally underserved communities, developing in our students the knowledge, skills and character essential to thrive in college, shape their futures, and positively impact the world.

There are currently 11 KIPP schools in the Bay Area: 1 elementary school, 7 middle schools, and 3 high schools. In these schools, over 3,800 students are being prepared for success in college and the competitive world beyond. These tuition-free, college-preparatory schools are located in the underserved neighborhoods of Oakland, San Francisco, San Lorenzo, San Jose, and Redwood City.

Our Unifying Beliefs

We believe demography does not define destiny.

We believe with high expectations and no excuses, all students will successfully climb the mountain to college.

We believe closing the achievement gap begins with this generation of KIPP Bay Area Schools students.

We believe, together, we are revolutionizing public education in the Bay Area.

The Five Pillars

KIPP schools share a core set of operating principles known as the Five Pillars:

1. High Expectations

KIPP schools have clearly defined and measurable high expectations for academic achievement and conduct that make no excuses based on the students’ backgrounds. Students, parents, teachers, and staff create and reinforce a culture of achievement and support through a range of formal and informal rewards and consequences for academic performance and behavior.

2. Choice & Commitment

Students, their parents, and the faculty of each KIPP school choose to participate in the program. No one is assigned or forced to attend a KIPP school. Everyone must make and uphold a commitment to the school and to each other to put in the time and effort required to achieve success.

3. More Time

KIPP schools know that there are no shortcuts when it comes to success in academics and life. With an extended school day, week, and year, students have more time in the classroom to acquire the academic knowledge and skills that will prepare them for competitive high schools and colleges, as well as more opportunities to engage in diverse extracurricular experiences.

4. Power to Lead

The principals of KIPP schools are effective academic and organizational leaders who understand that great schools require great school leaders. They have control over their school budget and personnel. They are free to swiftly move dollars or make staffing changes, allowing them maximum effectiveness in helping students learn.

5. Focus on Results

KIPP schools relentlessly focus on high student performance on standardized tests and other objective measures. Just as there are no shortcuts, there are no excuses. Students are expected to achieve a level of academic performance that will enable them to succeed at the nation’s best high schools and colleges.


In 1994, KIPP began with a powerful idea: to create a classroom that helped children develop the knowledge, skills, character, and habits necessary to succeed in college and build a better tomorrow for their communities. Founders Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin began by redefining what was possible for a classroom of public school students in Houston. The following year, they opened two KIPP middle schools, one in Houston and one in New York City. By 1999, these original KIPP charter schools were among the highest-performing schools in their respective communities. In 2000, Mike and Dave formed a partnership with Doris and Donald Fisher, co-founders of Gap Inc., to train leaders to replicate the success of the original KIPP middle schools. As KIPP opened new schools in more cities, expanding from middle schools to elementary and high schools, our network began helping transform futures for thousands of children and families in underserved communities. Today, the KIPP network serves 58,000 students in 162 schools in 20 states (plus D.C.) across the country.

In 2000, Doris and Don Fisher, co-founders of Gap Inc., formed a unique partnership with Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, the founders of the original KIPP academies, to replicate the schools’ success through the non-profit KIPP Foundation. The KIPP Foundation focuses its efforts on recruiting, training, and supporting outstanding leaders to open new, locally run KIPP schools in high-need communities. The KIPP Foundation does not manage KIPP schools, but is responsible for supporting and monitoring school quality across the network.