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ACADEMIC APPROACH

Our unique approach places equal emphasis on character development, college knowledge, and academic excellence through an integrated curriculum to ensure all of our students are on a path to our North Star to College Completion and beyond. Our schools establish a culture of joy weaved in with the expectation of learning and critical thinking. Scholars are recognized for academic achievement in equal measures to their representation of our core values.

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PUBLIC PREP SCHOLAR

Click on the photos below to learn how we prepare our scholars each day, starting in PrePrep, to be on a predictive path to college completion.

8:00 AM - Morning Meeting
8:30 AM - Yoga and Mindfulness
9:10 AM - Science
9:50 AM - Cognitively Guided Instruction
11:30 AM English Language Arts
12:10 PM - Arts and Music
1:35 PM - Writing Workshop
2:15 PM - Mathematics
2:55 PM - Brother/Sister Circle
3:10 PM - Physical Education


ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS

Public Prep’s approach to English Language Arts is grounded in the belief that in order for students to enter, thrive in, and graduate from college, they must have a command of reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and a holistic understanding of literature and its purpose.

At both the elementary and middle school levels, students engage in a Balanced Literacy approach that thoughtfully builds independence and empowers students to take ownership of their learning and goals. Public Prep believes in a balanced approach that builds a solid foundational skill set for all students, sparks curiosity and cultivates a joy for and love of learning. In order to develop well-rounded and empowered readers and writers, the Public Prep Balanced Literacy program seeks to balance multiple approaches and instructional areas including but not limited to:

  • Foundational Skills (Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Vocabulary Development, Fluency, Developmental Spelling)
  • Guided Reading
  • Independent Reading
  • Close Reading and Response to Literature
  • Units of Study
  • Habits of Discussion (Speaking and Listening Standards)
  • Critical and Inferential Thinking Skills
SCIENCE

Public Prep is committed to developing the next generation of female and male minority engineers, scientists and mathematicians. Driven by the philosophy to "start early with the end in mind," we have implemented a replicable model of science education in the early grades, with great impact. Public Prep Academies are unique in that each scholar, starting in Kindergarten, receives science instruction 5 days a week from science-only faculty members exclusively focused on teaching the wonders of science. Public Prep helps instill an early love of inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving, which will in turn ignite a curiosity and pursuit of STEM-related careers by young women and men, which is ultimately what's needed to bridge the gender and race gap in STEM fields.

BioBus

Last year, Girls Prep announced an innovative, three-year partnership with BioBus, a non-profit that engages PhD and Masters-level scientists to share their expertise and knowledge by creating hands-on learning experiences that can inspire young women’s interest and passion for STEM-related careers.

Over the next three years, Girls Prep and BioBus will have a multi-faceted partnership that includes the following components:

  • Beginning in 2017-18, BioBus and Girls Prep will launch an afterschool science program for Girls Prep Lower East Side and Girls Prep Bronx middle school scholars.
  • BioBus scientists will develop the curriculum and the class will be led by Girls Prep staff.
  • BioBus will provide Professional Development for facilitators, visits to Girls Prep from BioBus scientists, and host field trip visits to BioBase community labs for girls to conduct experiments using state-of-the-art equipment.
  • BioBus mobile labs will make site visits at each of the four Girls Prep elementary and middle school campuses, which will provide hands-on lessons aboard the BioBus in subjects such as comparative anatomy, micro-biology, ecology and cell biology.
  • A BioBus Living Environment Regents Prep Course will be offered at Girls Prep middle school campuses, providing scholars with the opportunity to use advanced, compound video microscopes while working alongside research scientists in preparation for the Living Environment Regents Exam.

As part of a unique collaboration between district and charter schools, girls in District 1 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan will be invited to participate in the Girls Prep/BioBus partnership. Daniella Phillips, District 1 Community Superintendent said, “Whether it is the District 1 Middle School Regents Academy in which Girls Prep scholars were invited to participate, or this wonderful BioBus/Girls Prep collaboration in which District 1 female scholars will do hands-on science, it is important that public charter and district schools find ways to partner in service to our students."


Cornell Tech

Cornell Tech (Roosevelt Island) has selected Girls Prep to be an inaugural partner in its Teacher-In-Residence program, providing us with a content coach whose focus is to build a teacher’s capacity to integrate computer science into the classroom. Over the year, our coach will work with every science teacher to integrate computer science. All scholars in grades 5-8 will benefit from the integration of comp science/coding in their science classrooms this year. Our coach focuses on modeling instruction, providing professional development, coaching teachers and working with them to develop curriculum.

Leave it Better

Watch the video below to learn more about our yearly partnership with Leave It Better, a nonprofit organization that provides year-long education programs that empower our scholars to heal the environment.

Trout in the Classroom

Trout in the Classroom, TIC, is an interdisciplinary educational program where students raise trout to learn about the environment and life cycles. During the semester, our middle school scholars at Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School:

  • raise trout from eggs to fry
  • monitor tank water quality
  • engage in stream habitat study
  • learn to appreciate water resources
  • begin to foster a conservation ethic, and
  • grow to understand ecosystems

TIC engages our future scientists in understanding where NYC drinking water comes from and establishes a connection to why water conservation is extremely important to our environment.

The project ends on a bittersweet note when scholars release the trout into a stream near a watershed in Pound Ridge, New York.

The Bubble Foundation

The Bubble Foundation is an organization that implements a comprehensive wellness program for the whole school community, including proven curriculum in nutrition and wellness.

US Naval Academy

Since 2016, Girls Prep Lower East and Bronx Middle School scholars have been invited by the US Naval Academy STEM Center for Education & Outreach to attend an all-day, Girls Only STEM workshop in Annapolis, Maryland. The girls work with female faculty and cadets to experience hands-on science activities at one of the finest engineering institutions in the world. This partnership, like our relationships with Cornell University and Stephens College, allows our girls, and soon boys, to have immersive college experiences and help demystify what it takes to ultimately be successful in college.


West Point

Each year, 40 Girls Prep scholars travel to West Point, NY for civil engineering workshops to build truss bridges and cantilever structures. Beginning in June 2018, a group of Girls Prep 6th and 7th grade scholars will participate in the rigorous West Point Middle School STEM Workshop, a three-day, residential program of hands-on STEM activities taught by cadet mentors.

ENRICHMENT


At Public Prep, we strive to nurture the whole scholar - mind and body. We offer a rigorous, well-balanced curriculum taught by content-certified specialists, and scholars also participate in "specials" that expand their creativity and promote a healthy lifestyle. These programs help students develop skills such as self-expression, perseverance, and improving based on feedback early on in life that will help carry them through college and ultimately lead fulfilling lives.

Music

Students learn to sing in healthy voices, and learn to play instruments such as hand percussion, xylophones, drums, recorder, and more! Students will also learn how to read and write music notation.

Public Prep Academies partner with music programs such as:

  • Carnegie Hall Musical Explorers: Second grade students participate in the Carnegie Hall Musical Explorers program, where they explore the world of music in NYC and attend two concerts at Carnegie Hall.
  • Carnegie Hall Link Up Program: Fourth grade students are spending the year exploring the orchestra and how the orchestra swings. They are learning several pieces of music on the recorder and will attend a concert at Carnegie Hall, where students will get to play with the orchestra.
  • Little Kids Rock: Fifth grade students are participating in the Little Kids Rock program through Berklee School of Music. They are learning how to play popular music of the last 50 years, as they explore more modern music notation and band instruments.
  • Choir: Students in grades 3-5 are able to participate in the Girls Prep choir program.

Yoga and Mindfulness

Public Prep elementary scholars receive yoga and mindfulness instruction once a week. Yoga is a way for students to connect their bodies, emotions, and mind. Mindfulness is paying attention to life, with kindness and curiosity, so that the best choices can be made for school and life success.

Skill Building
  • Self-Awareness: Recognizing one’s emotions, body sensations, and thoughts.
  • Self-Regulation: Managing one’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in different situations.
  • Social Awareness: the ability to take the perspective of others and to take support when needed.
  • Pro-Social Traits: Traits like compassion, patience, and gratitude are emphasized so that our girls learn to develop positive traits that science has shown contribute to the well-being of the entire community.
Little Flower Yoga and Mindfulness for Children:

The methodology and experience used to build the skills.

  • Connect: We do activities that connect us to ourselves, each other and the world.
  • Breathe: We do breathing exercises that help us manage our emotions and manage our energy level.
  • Move: We learn to be mindful in standing and moving postures that help us build flexibility and strength, while also building a sense of personal power.
  • Focus: We learn the ability to pay attention to what we want to focus on, using an attitude of kindness and curiosity.
  • Relax: Activities that help us rest our mind and body and restore.

Aliza and the Mind Jar

Learn more about the Yoga and Mindfulness Program at Girls Prep Bronx by watching the video below:


Aliza and the Mind Jar from Hover on Vimeo.

Visual Arts

The visual arts program is rooted in teaching strong technical skills while prioritizing student driven vision and creative expression. Projects are centered on one medium at a time, including painting, drawing, collage, sculpture and printmaking. During the art-making process, students are encouraged to build awareness and self-reflection to better understand their own unique creative process.

  • K and 1st Grade: Our Kindergarten and 1st grade projects focus on student generated imagery, often focused on our self, family and the natural world around us.
  • 2nd Grade: Second grade projects begin to expand exploring our world, including a focus on our neighborhood and New York City. Students begin to build strong skills in observation drawing, using perspective and color to create depth and expression.
  • 3rd Grade: In 3rd grade we “travel the world” to explore art from a variety of cultures. We use art to discover how both traditional art and contemporary art are important and unique to each culture. These projects provide the opportunity to explore a large variety of artmaking techniques.
  • 4th Grade: In 4th grade we return to observational work that utilizes and builds upon our strong technical skills. Students are encouraged to think deeply about creative expression through their artistic choices.
  • 5th Grade: In 5th grade we utilize our imaginations with an emphasis on conveying meaning through artistic choices. Students must use technical skills, problem solving and critical thinking to employ the elements of design to express visual meaning.

Physical Education and Health

The Physical Education curriculum is movement based; we aim to keep students active and moving for the majority of the class. Our goal is to instill in our girls skills for a lifetime of physical activity.

We follow the NYS standards for PE:
  • Standard 1 - Personal Health and Fitness: Students will have the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain physical fitness, participate in physical activity, and maintain personal health.
  • Standard 2 - A Safe and Healthy Environment: Students will acquire the knowledge and ability necessary to create and maintain a safe and healthy environment.
  • Standard 3 - Resource Management: Students will understand and be able to manage their personal and community resources. Students will have the necessary knowledge and skills to establish and maintain physical fitness, participate in physical activity, and maintain personal health.
Our PE Curriculum Includes:
  • Movement exploration
  • Fitness
  • Dance/Step
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Track and Field
  • Volleyball
  • Throwing and Catching
  • Striking with Paddles

Martial Arts

As part of the Martial Arts & Yoga Program, Boys Prep scholars learn the basics of the Korean martial Arts of Tae Kwan Do. Through a combination of both Martial Arts and Yoga, the boys have an outlet where they can yell, cheer, move intensely but also learn and practice stillness, relaxation, breathing and body control exercises. They compete against each other in games and competitions, both individually as well as part of teams, allowing them to have the experiences and gradually build the skills of both working alone and as part of a team. This sportspanship enables them to learn from their mistakes in defeat and remain humble in victory.

SPECIAL POPULATIONS


At Public Prep Network, we are incredibly proud of our approach to inclusive education and believe that each and every child can achieve the highest levels of success.

Students with Special Needs

Public Prep Academies are inclusive schools and actively seek to recruit and serve students in need of additional services. We serve students with special needs in a variety of settings, including:

  • Inclusive classrooms are called Collaborative Team Teaching Classrooms (CTT). Two teachers lead CTT classrooms, one is special education certified and the other is certified in general education. CTT classrooms use all six co-teaching models, including parallel teaching, team teaching, one teach/one observe, one teach/one assist, station-teaching, and alternative teaching. We use flexible grouping, so that students work with both teachers and with both special education and general education students.
  • Full-time Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • We also partner with:
    • Speech Therapists
    • Occupational Therapists
    • Physical Therapists

Our network is a member of the NYC Charter School Special Education Collaborative, where staff members can access professional development and resources for instruction.

English Language Learners

Our schools have talented English Language Learner Specialists who provides services to students and provides teachers and families with ELL resources and strategies to support students. Instruction focuses on helping students develop their speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills. We do this by providing our students with frequent feedback, enhancing students’ vocabularies, and immersing students in language and story-telling.

Staff Supports

The Network’s Director of Special Populations coordinates and guides Public Prep Academies’ implementation of Response to Intervention and Child Study Teams by creating plans that support a range of student needs and building capacity within each school to improve outcomes for all students. The Director of Special Populations and Reading and Learning Specialists at the school level connect all students with a range of social, emotional, behavioral, and academic supports.

MATH

Our Mathematics vision is to provide students with the ability to make sense of the world through a mathematical lens by emphasizing conceptual understanding and development of problem solving habits and tools. In keeping with this vision, we promote mathematical routines, productive struggle and differentiated instruction. Public Prep Academies also utilize Cognitive Guided Instruction (CGI), an approach to mathematical thinking that builds in rigorous student-to-student discourse and problem solving opportunities. Public Prep also utilizes ed-tech resources to provide opportunities for students to focus on math during and out-of-school, while giving them agency over their own learning.

TECHNOLOGY


We think that scholars learn best in a vibrant learning community when they are talking, thinking, debating and engaging with their peers. Our approach to technology use in schools ensures that any materials or systems enhance the blended learning experience without replacing instruction.

On average, there is one computer for every scholar in grades 3-8. Scholars in grades K-2 have access to a combination of tablets and laptops. Public Prep Academies use a variety of systems in order to provide individualization and opportunities for an extended school day; with learning encouraged on these platforms before and after school. These platforms can also be used to inform intervention as well as improve instruction.