To Staff, Family and Friends of Public Prep:
Welcome to our first Public Prep Network monthly newsletter, appropriately titled UNITY, in honor of the bi-weekly gatherings in which Girls Prep scholars come together to celebrate the core values of Scholarship, Merit, Responsibility and Sisterhood. As each school-based Unity meeting is framed around a core value and guiding question, each month the UNITY newsletter will celebrate a core value, and this first edition is dedicated towards Scholarship.
This week marks the first week of school as we welcome now 772 K-7 students across Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary and Middle Schools, and Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School. We are excited to welcome our exceptional new and returning staff, which has grown to a total of 125 team members. This past recruitment season we received nearly 30 applications per open staff position – this is truly a select group! As evidence, this fall, a documentary will air on PBS and feature two of our newest team members, Vibha Patel Mahadeo and Aggie Amaral, for their work developing performance-based assessments for the common core standards in math.
As Kelly Cassaro, our new Managing Director of Leadership Development remarks below, our entire staff convened during a two-day Summer Learning Institute to discuss our north star of college completion and our goal to achieve student growth in academic achievement, character development and college knowledge.
Academic Achievement: On the New York State exams, six out of ten Girls Prep scholars in grades 3-6 scored proficient or advanced in English Language Arts, and more than eight out of ten scored proficient or advanced in Math. With these results, Girls Prep scholars out-performed district, city, state, and charter school wide averages. Notwithstanding that performance, given what we know is necessary for our students to succeed in college, comparable success is not enough to meet our expectation. We have much work to do, especially in strengthening our ELA scores and empowering our scholars to become independent learners and achieve high academic results across our rich curriculum of math, science, history, physical education and the visual and performing arts.
Character Development: We are making a more deliberate effort in our curriculum to help Girls Prep students develop character strengths such as resiliency, self-control, optimism and gratitude – traits that will empower our students to possess the intrinsic motivation to ultimately persevere through college despite its inevitable and considerable challenges.
College Knowledge: Beginning in the fall, every Girls Prep Elementary and Middle School student is going to have a New York State 529 college savings account in her name. And Barclays Capital has agreed to provide financial literacy training for parents to help in saving for college. Girls Prep is also committed to build relationships with high-performing public and private high schools and colleges. In sum, these steps will ensure our elementary and middle school students learn, early on, what is required to be prepared financially and have what is necessary to be accepted into and thrive in the college of their choice.
We are eager to stay in touch and keep you abreast of new developments. UNITY will be published the last Friday of every month. Overall, our team has a palpable feeling of enthusiasm, camaraderie and a great sense of purpose for how we are putting our students on a path to earn a degree from a four-year university. Here’s to a great new year!
Ian V. Rowe
Chief Executive Officer