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Knowledge From the Field

San Francisco Bay Area KIPP Schools: A Study of Early Implementation and Achievement: Final Report

Published: September 2008

Publisher(s): SRI International

Author(s): Woodworth, Katrina R.; Jane L. David; Roneeta Guha; Alejandra Lopez-Torkos; Haiwen Wang

Funder(s): William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

View Report (140 pages; 4.13MB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Educational Standards - Adopting rigorous standards and high-quality assessments


The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP), begun in 1994, seeks to equip students from low-income and minority families “with the knowledge, skills, and character traits needed to succeed in top quality high schools, colleges, and the competitive world beyond.” A set of principles referred to as the “Five Pillars” defines the KIPP approach: High Expectations, Choice and Commitment, Power to Lead, More Time, and Focus on Results. This report describes the implementation and impact of KIPP in five Bay Area middle schools over 3 years.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ In most grades and cohorts, Bay Area KIPP students make above-average progress compared with national norms, and they outperform their host districts.

+ Bay Area KIPP schools have large and statistically significant effects on the academic achievement of fifth-grade students and new sixth-grade students.

+ Bay Area KIPP students are aware of teachers’ high expectations for their success, and most report positive caring relationships with their teachers and peers.

= Bay Area KIPP teachers attribute student success to the combination of high expectations and consistency in the behavior management system.

= Bay Area KIPP schools do not appear to attract higher scoring students.

- Teacher turnover poses an ongoing challenge for Bay Area KIPP school leaders.

- In California, low funding and high costs necessitate substantial fundraising.

- Student attrition rates are high, and those who leave Bay Area KIPP schools start out lower performing and benefit less from their time at the schools than those who stay.

Geographic Focus: San Francisco, CA

Subjects/Keywords: Educational standards; college prep; Low income; minority; achievement gap; primary schools

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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