As I reflect on the results of the 2015-16 school year and now embark on the seventh year of my tenure as CEO of Public Prep, I continue to ask the single-most important question to assess the longitudinal impact of our Girls Prep and Boys Prep schools: “Are we graduating 8th grade scholars who are accepted into and excelling in high-quality, ‘right-fit’ high schools that will keep them on a path to college completion?”
Girls Prep was founded in 2005 as the first and only all-girls public charter school in New York City. Back then, as we do now for every incoming class, we made an enduring promise to the parents of the scholars starting in Kindergarten and 1st grade: We are determined to achieve our goal to graduate 8th grade students who are on a predictive path to be accepted into high-performing public, private or parochial high schools, and ultimately graduate from a four-year university.
I am pleased to report that in 2016, for the fourth consecutive year, Girls Prep graduated 100% of its 8th graders into a fantastic parochial, private or public high schools.
Indeed, Girls Prep now has 196 alumnae in grades 9 through 12. This fall, the first cohort of Girls Prep scholars that graduated in 2013 will be applying to college. Thus, I have added an essential question we must now also ask ourselves each year: "Are Girls Prep alumnae being accepted into and excelling in high-quality, ‘right-fit’ colleges that will keep them on a path to college completion?"
We won't know until the spring where all of our alumnae have landed, but I am thrilled to share that Kesi - one of the scholars who started with Girls Prep as a first grader in that 2005 founding class - was just accepted Early Decision to Yale University! It is fitting that Yale's mascot is a Bulldog, because it represents the tenacity and resiliency that Kesi and all of our Girls Prep alumnae demonstrate in living out our core values of sisterhood, responsibility, merit and scholarship.
The pipeline is also strong. The 2016-17 school year will be the first time in which both Girls Prep Lower East Side and Girls Prep Bronx graduate 8th grade scholars. And Girls Prep continues to be the premier provider of scholars to leadership development programs that place middle schools students in top independent high schools. This includes TEAK, Prep for Prep, A Better Chance, Breakthrough NY, Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics, and the STEM program at the High School for Math, Science and Engineering at CCNY.
Along with these successes, I am focused on building a robust team at both the network and school levels to ensure Public Prep has the leadership to be an enduring institution that propels generations of scholars on a path to college completion.
In that spirit, on May 1, I hired the amazing Janelle Bradshaw in the new role of Superintendent of Schools to empower and directly manage our Principals to more effectively lead their campuses. Janelle is a native New Yorker, who grew up between the Bronx and Mount Vernon, and is a proud graduate of a single-sex education at Smith College. She is an extraordinary educator with sixteen years of experience in the field of urban education as a successful Teacher, Principal, and most recently as a Leadership Coach to network leaders and three of our Public Prep Principals.
As Janelle shared with us during the interview process, she is "excited to return home to make an impact and provide young girls and boys with the chance to be educated in a network which values high standards and academic performance with a balance of the arts, grit, character development and joy."
The future of our Girls Prep and Boys Prep schools is bright. Thank you for joining us on this journey of educational excellence for our scholars. Best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.
Ian Rowe, CEO Public Prep