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Jessica Strong, Director of Alumni Engagement (center) with Public Prep students

Janelle Bradshaw, Chief Executive Officer (right) with Boys Prep Alumni

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    Public Prep: Launch of Alumni Program

    November 16, 2023

    Empowering Our Alumni for Success through High School and Beyond: Public Prep's Commitment to Lifelong Support

    With thousands of alumni spread across the city, it became clear that a more strategic and comprehensive approach was needed to ensure their success beyond their time at Public Prep. Knowing that navigating high school, college, and beyond can be difficult, we have a duty to provide support that empowers each scholar to unlock the limitless power and promise within them.. We are excited to share the formalization of Public Prep’s alumni program as we take a step forward in our mission to provide unwavering support to our former scholars as they move forward in their academic careers to high school and college, and beyond. 

    In the few months since the program was created, students have participated in college fairs to meet with more than 50 colleges and universities, and much more as we follow through with our commitment to provide ongoing support to empower our scholars for a bright future. This important work is being led by Jessica Strong, who transitioned from her role as Principal of our Lower East Side Middle School, where she served for the past six years, to become our newly established Director of Alumni Engagement. 

    The Journey of Scholars Realizing their Inherent Greatness Starts at Public Prep

    Public Prep has consistently outperformed both national and city averages in terms of college access and persistence. The data speaks volumes of the resilience and potential of our students, which is why we know we must continue providing support as our scholars grow and flourish outside Public Prep’s walls. Eighty seven percent of Public Prep alumni who entered college between 2017 and 2019 persisted into their second year. This is a significant achievement compared to the national data, which indicated that only 71% of Latinx students and 66% of Black students persisted from year one to year two. Even in comparison to the latest data from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, which reported a 76% persistence rate for students entering college in the fall of 2021, Public Prep alumni continue to exceed this benchmark.

    Fulfilling Our Promise

    Our commitment to our scholars doesn't end with graduation -- it extends far beyond. Given the challenging student-to-guidance counselor ratios at many high schools across the city, Public Prep recognized the need to support college and career counseling for its high school-aged alumni as a top priority. Some of the work started in this area includes: 

    • Organizing trips to college fairs where alumni and their families receive vital information that they may not be getting from their high schools. These events have not only been informative but also empowering for both alumni and their families. Congratulations to Samara Dowl for receiving onsite admissions to both Delaware State and Fisk University at the Black College Expo! 
    • Forming a partnership with Boys Club of New York’s Project Coach, a career readiness internship program. Over 40 Public Prep alumni applied for six open positions, and now four alumni have taken what they learned to Boys Prep Middle School after-school programs, providing valuable mentorship to younger students.
    • Hosting alumni as volunteers during orientation week for new students, which provides a way for them to give back to the Public Prep community while also meeting their own community service hour requirements.
    • Establishing a partnership with MESA Alumni Lab, a career readiness program targeting high school graduates not currently enrolled in college. This program offers 1:1 career counseling and workshops on vital skills such as resume writing and financial planning. The goal is to re-enroll students in college or connect them to career training programs.

    The purpose of our alumni program is to reaffirm our commitment to ensuring the success of our scholars and their families. The journey at Public Prep doesn't end with graduation; it's a lifelong commitment, and Public Prep is making sure our alumni have the support they need to thrive and excel in their educational and career endeavors.