Our Story

At 㽶Ƶ schools, students develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to become Washington DC’s next generation of leaders. Equipped with an excellent education, our alumni are empowered to be successful in college, careers, and life. 

History

In 2001, Susan Schaeffler and a team of dedicated educators founded our first school, 㽶Ƶ KEY Academy, in a church basement in Southeast Washington, D.C. Since then, 㽶Ƶ has maintained excellence while scaling from 80 students in that one middle school to 7,300 students—in grades PreK3 through 12th grade—across 21 schools in the District.

㽶Ƶ started by educating middle school students but we soon realized that by fifth grade, the learning gap was too large and we needed to reach students earlier. To effectively prepare our students for success, we added early childhood and elementary schools at each campus. Since then, we have seen tremendous improvement in students who received the entirety of their education at 㽶Ƶ.

The 㽶Ƶ Difference

We believe that all students can learn and achieve at high levels if given the opportunity. Our success is driven by:

  • High Expectations

    We set clearly defined and measurable high expectations for academic achievement and conduct in order to create and reinforce a culture of achievement and support. We know that every student is different and we personalize learning based on a student’s needs, skills, and interests.

  • Strength of Character

    Success in life depends on both academics and character. We help students foster character strengths that are essential for their own success and well-being. And we empower them to express their voice with power and to improve the world around them.

  • Highly Effective Teachers and Leaders

    Great schools require great teachers and school leaders. We empower our educators to lead school teams, and we invest in training to help them grow as professionals.

  • Safe, Structured, and Nurturing Environments

    Students need physical and emotional safety in order to take risks and learn from their successes and their mistakes. Our schools provide a safe, structured, and nurturing environment with minimal distractions and more time for both academics and extracurriculars, so our students love school and maximize their learning.

  • KIPP Forward

    Our counselors and advisors support students as they prepare for and select the right college and career for their needs and interests. After high school, we help KIPP alumni navigate the social, academic, and financial challenges they might encounter while in college.

A History of Success

Learn more about 㽶Ƶ’s impact in the District of Columbia.

2001

KEY Academy

opens at Garden Memorial Presbyterian Church in Anacostia with 80 5th graders.

2002

KEY Academy grows

to 160 5th & 6th graders and moves to the Blue Castle on M Street, SE.

2003

KEY Academy earns the highest scores

of all charter middle schools in Washington D.C.

2005

AIM Academy opens

with 500 students enrolled at 㽶Ƶ. 㽶Ƶ Through College was founded and 㽶Ƶ Headquarters office opens

2007

LEAP Academy opens

with over 1,000 students enrolled at 㽶Ƶ.

2008

㽶Ƶ Benning Campus opens

at 5801 Benning Road SE.

㽶Ƶ College Preparatory, students 2009

Discover Academy, Promise Academy, and 㽶Ƶ College Preparatory opens.

Founding KEY Academy class graduates high school. Capital Teaching Residency program is founded.

2010

Grow Academy opens

with 2,000 students enrolled at 㽶Ƶ.

2011

Heights Academy opens.

㽶Ƶ releases first college completion report.

2012

Lead Academy opens

at the Shaw Campus dedication ceremony. Michelle Obama visits 㽶Ƶ Douglass Campus.

2013

Connect Academy and Spring Academy opens

at the renovated 㽶Ƶ Webb Campus on Mount Olivet Road NE.

㽶Ƶ Arts & Technology Academy, students 2014

Northeast Academy, Art & Technology Academy, and Quest Academy opens

2015

㽶Ƶ College Preparatory Campus and Valor Academy opens.

The Learning Center Opens at the Douglas Campus. Jennifer Ramacciotti named OSSE 2015 Teacher of the Year! KCP Principal Jessica Cunningham wins Milken Educator Award and $25,000.

2016

㽶Ƶ Smilow Campus

is dedicated in honor of Joel E. Smilow.

2017

National Mathamatica Study shows

㽶Ƶ Pre-K program has big impact on student achievement

2018

Promise Academy named National Blue Ribbon School

2019

Somerset College Preparatory and Honor Academy opens.

Heights Academy named Blue Ribbon School

2020

㽶Ƶ shifts operations due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In line with public health guidance and informed by the voices of our school communities, 㽶Ƶ implements a multitude of health and safety protocols to minimize health risks and produce the best learning environments for KIPPsters to succeed.