KIPP New Orleans Schools began in 2004 as a collection of New Orleans residents – parents, teachers, business leaders, and civic 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 students are best prepared for their futures through a rigorous educational program. In the spring of 2005, the group was awarded a charter by the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education. 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. 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. 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 and KIPP NOW (New Orleans West) College Prep was born. In 2014, nine years after opening its doors, KIPP New Orleans Schools enrolls more than 4,200 students at ten schools.