Public Prep News and Press
#ISTANDFOR: Transforming Educational Opportunity
By Ian Rowe
Featured on Onassis Foundation USA
Building off a decade of success at its sister Girls Prep schools in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and the Bronx, Boys Prep launched in 2014 as the first and only all-boys public elementary school in the Bronx.
Boys Prep was founded on the simple idea that every parent, regardless of race, income level or zip code, should have the power to choose a great, tuition-free public school for her or his son. Moreover, if that parent wanted their son to attend a rigorous, single-gender elementary school, then they should also have the option to do that.
Until Boys Prep opened in heart of the South Bronx in 2014, only private schools with expensive tuitions and selective admissions standards offered a high-quality, primary all‐boys education to Bronx families. But parents living in one of the highest poverty districts in the country wanted more for their kids. Indeed, in 2016, Boys Prep Bronx received more than ten applications for every available seat in its random lottery.
It is no wonder: In district 8 where Boys Prep is located, only 37% of boys graduate from high school and a staggering 2% receive an Advanced Regents diploma, meeting the definition of "college ready." It does not have to be this way.
By entering the Boys Prep lottery, the families of these young men are saying they are tired of hearing their son’s lives must be inevitably dictated by the negative statistics we unfortunately know so well. So are we. Rather than start with a deficit model, Boys Prep builds a culture around a growth mindset, the sense of possibility that exists within every boy.
From PreKindergarten, Boys Prep unique learning environment places equal emphasis on character development, college knowledge, and academic achievement across science, math, literacy and the arts through an integrated curriculum to ensure our scholars are on a path to our North Star of college completion and beyond.
Boys Prep scholars embody the core values of Scholarship, Merit, Responsibility and Brotherhood and use these values to guide their choices. Against the backdrop of seemingly daily stories of tragic violence befalling young men of color, Boys Prep presents a compelling alternative that can help break barriers for aspiring boys, and empower them to realize their full potential.
Our Boys Prep and Girls Prep schools are part of a larger movement that is now educating more than 100,000 children in NYC, with truly impressive outcomes: Despite serving just nine percent of test-takers, 29 percent of the city’s overall growth in students passing state exams since 2013 has come from charter schools, meaning a sector enrolling less than 10 percent of the city’s children is responsible for nearly one-third of its overall improvement.
Given these achievements, the city has a moral, political and economic obligation to double the size of the charter sector to 200,000 children by 2020. In so doing, we can transform educational opportunity at scale, and put generations of low-income kids on a path to college completion.