KNOS Student and Family Handbook » About KIPP New Orleans Schools

About KIPP New Orleans Schools

Mission, Vision and History

The mission of New Orleans Schools is to help students develop the knowledge, skills, and character strengths they need to succeed throughout their education and in the competitive world beyond so that they can live a life full of choices. All students will learn and achieve at high levels if given the opportunity. Great education transforms lives.

Our vision is that, one day, all children will have access to public schools that help children develop the knowledge, skills, character, and habits necessary to achieve their dreams while making the world a better place.

KIPP New Orleans Schools began in 2005 as a collection of New Orleans residents – parents, teachers and community leaders - dedicated to providing high quality educational options in New Orleans. The founding group was drawn together by a shared commitment to education and a belief that a rigorous education will provide students a path to a life full of choices.

KIPP New Orleans’s first school, KIPP Phillips Preparatory, opened its doors in July 2005 to a class of 120 eighth-grade students in the former E.H. Phillips Middle School building, near the St. Bernard housing projects. After three weeks of summer school and two weeks of regular classes, the school was brought to an abrupt end by Hurricane Katrina.

The week after the hurricane, KIPP students who evacuated to Houston shelters called their teachers’ cell phones to ask for help enrolling in school in Houston after Katrina. KIPP staff members traveled to Houston and spent several days walking through shelters at the Astrodome, Reliant Center, and George R. Brown Convention Center to search for their students. They quickly saw the need for education options for New Orleans children who had evacuated to Houston.

KIPP New Orleans staff members worked closely with KIPP Houston Schools to open a new school specifically for New Orleans residents who evacuated to Houston. That school was named New Orleans West (NOW) College Prep. The school opened on October 3rd, 2005 and served over 450 students in grades Kindergarten through 8th. In 2006, KIPP families and staff returned to New Orleans to open school as the city rebuilt. Twelve years later, KIPP New Orleans Schools enrolls more than 4,600 students in grades Kindergarten through 12th at eleven schools across the city. KIPP New Orleans Schools (KNOS) is a Louisiana not-for-profit organization governed by a local board of directors.
Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) Network
KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) began in 1994 when two former Teach For America teachers, launched a fifth-grade program with 47 fifth-graders within a public elementary school in Houston, TX, which expanded the following year with a new school in New York City. 
By 1999, these original KIPP public charter schools were among the highest-performing schools in their respective communities.

1999 was also the year that KIPP was featured on 60 Minutes, which increased the schools’ national reputation and caught the attention of Doris and Don Fisher, founders of The Gap, Inc, who committed $15 million in philanthropy to partner with KIPP's founders to replicate the success of the original KIPP schools. There are currently over 200 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia serving 100,000 students. Nationally, more than 94 percent of KIPP middle school students have graduated high school, and more than 82 percent of KIPP alumni have gone on to college.

Each KIPP regional organization is a separate nonprofit that oversees its local KIPP schools and provides schools with shared services in areas such as alumni support, teacher training, leadership development, community outreach, operations, and data analysis. KIPP regional organizations are governed by a local board of directors, led by an Chief Executive Officer or superintendent, and often partner with neighboring schools and community based organizations.

For more information about the national KIPP network, visit

KIPP Through College Program

The KIPP Through College (KTC) program is an essential part of the KIPP education. The goal of KTC is to provide ongoing academic and organizational support to empower all KIPP alumni to achieve success in high school, in college, and also as they transition into the competitive professional world.

From KIPP’s inception, college graduation for students has been our big goal. When students choose KIPP, they are choosing a commitment to academic excellence and perseverance no matter the obstacles, and in return, KIPP promises to support each student through the rigorous journey of getting to and through college. We are dedicated to providing the resources necessary to ensure they persist in climbing the mountain to and through college.

In middle school, the KIPP Through College (KTC) program begins by advising KNOS students and their families throughout the high school transition process. In high school, KNOS students and alumni receive support from College Advisors in the following areas: academic advising, ACT preparation, summer program support, college tours, college admissions and application assistance, scholarships, and financial literacy.

In college, Alumni Advisors support KNOS alumni by visiting them on their college campuses, in addition to remaining in contact via email and phone. Advisors discuss academic progress, financial aid, social pressures, as well as internship and career options to support alumni as they work toward graduation.

Today, KIPP New Orleans Schools alumni attend over 60 different colleges and universities around the country.

School Calendar

Please see our online calendar for a complete, and up-to-date listing of school events and activities.