KIPP began in 1994 when two teachers, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, launched a fifth-grade public school program in inner city Houston, after completing their commitment to Teach For America. In 1995, Feinberg remained in Houston to lead KIPP Academy Middle School, and Levin returned home to New York City to establish KIPP Academy in the South Bronx. These two original KIPP academies have grown into a network of schools that are transforming the lives of students in underserved communities and redefining the notion of what is possible in public education.
In 2000, Doris and Don Fisher, co-founders of Gap Inc., formed a partnership with Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin to replicate the success of the original KIPP academies, establishing the KIPP Foundation. Since its founding, the KIPP Foundation has recruited, selected and trained more than 100 outstanding school leaders to open new KIPP schools; rigorously focused on quality even as the network rapidly expanded; and supported innovation that has leveraged the scale of the network. KIPP serves more than 41,000 students in 125 schools spread across 20 states and the District of Columbia.
In 2007, a committee of dedicated business leaders, frustrated with the lack of excellent educational alternatives for low-income students, sought to bring a network of high-performing schools to our region. Their plan was to bring KIPP to St.Louis. At the same time Washington University in St. Louis was interested in supporting the establishment of a high-performing public charter school in the city. In 2009, KIPP Inspire Academy opened with the first class of fifth graders in the former Catholic school at St. Francis de Sales Church in the city of St. Louis.
Today, KIPP Inspire has expanded to include grades five through eight, with 320 students. In 2014, KIPP St. Louis will open a second school, KIPP Victory Academy Elementary School.