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The KIPP Foundation

Conducting equitable research for a shared vision and mission


After 25 years of providing education in 28 regions, the national organization of KIPP Public Schools—a network of 280 public charter schools—needed its first unified network-wide vision and mission statements. Big Duck designed a process to center the voices of their community and craft statements designed to inspire and align KIPP’s collective efforts throughout their network.

A common vision and mission to unite the charter school network

Big Duck set out to create simple, timeless statements to inspire KIPP’s network of schools and align collective efforts. We designed a process to honor KIPP’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and center the voices of students, families, and alumni.

A process designed to listen deeply

Honoring KIPP’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, we centered the voices of students, families, and alumni in our research. Over several months, we conducted online surveys and 40 in-person and virtual focus groups to reach a diverse pool of KIPP community members across age, stage, and geography. Big Duck’s facilitation ensured all participants felt comfortable sharing perspectives at every step as we engaged over 5,500 students, families, alumni, staff, and leadership.

The sharing of a new North Star

Drawing on the overarching themes from the research, Big Duck presented drafts to a working group of students, families, alumni, staff, and local board members for feedback. We brought revised statements to the KIPP School Summit where more than 400 people shared overwhelmingly positive feedback. With the statements finalized, we created a rollout plan and materials to share the new mission and vision with KIPP’s wider community.

We wrote and analyzed surveys to learn the important ideas to express in their vision and mission statements.
Our strategy team developed a focus group facilitators’ guide to make sure our conversations were similar across groups around the country.
We started by establishing clear goals for the project: to create universal vision and mission statements via an inclusive process centered in diversity and equity.


KIPP’s new mission and vision statements greet visitors on its website and in schools. The statements guide decisions across the expansive network of schools. KIPP proudly shares that the community was essential in creating these statements.

We aimed to include our whole community in creating mission and vision statements that reflect our commitment to a more just world. Our new network-wide statements allow us to exclaim exactly what we stand for and who we are.

— Mariah Schroeder, Vice President of Impact & Innovation, KIPP Chicago (formerly, Director, Strategic Projects at The KIPP Foundation)