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Cornell University Offers Inaugural Summer Academy to Girls Prep Middle School Students

June 2012

Cornell University, one of the nation’s premiere Ivy League universities, will offer an exclusive, week-long Summer Academy from July 29-August 4, 2012, for up to 10 rising eighth-graders from Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School, the first all-girls charter school in New York City. In conjunction with Cornell’s Adult University, a program designed and led by Cornell faculty members, and Cornell’s School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions, this groundbreaking experience will allow Girls Prep Middle School scholars to live, study and experience college life on the beautiful Cornell campus.

This incredible learning opportunity for Girls Prep scholars will have two academic course offerings from which to choose. In the first option, a class called Science Sampler, students will learn about experiments taking place in the laboratories across the university and meet the college students conducting research and testing experiments that make Cornell a world-class environment for study and project design. This class will incorporate concepts and keys to advances in theory and applied science ranging from engineering, materials science, chemistry and astronomy. This is another initiative by Girls Prep to encourage our female scholars to pursue STEM-related (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) careers.

The second class available to Girls Prep scholars is an intensive writing seminar called Writers Circle: Flash Fiction. In this class, students will read, listen to and practice writing one-page stories. This course will help students grow in confidence, range of expression, and writing skills by developing clarity, coherence, emotional force, and stylistic control. This course is an excellent choice for students wanting to create a powerful personal statement for their high school applications!

In addition to the rigorous and inspiring academic coursework students will partake in every morning during their week at Cornell Summer Academy, Girls Prep scholars will also have exciting extracurricular activities every afternoon. Some of the adventures will include swimming in Lake Cayuga, a campus-wide scavenger hunt, hiking on guided nature trails, exploring Ithaca’s breathtaking gorges and natural waterfalls, a miniature golf excursion, volleyball, Zumba, day trips into Ithaca town center for ice cream and shopping, and much more. Evening events include tye-dye T-shirt making, a talent show and a concert in Cornell’s Arts Quad. All of these culturally enriching experiences, coupled with the opportunity to sleep in an undergraduate dorm and eat in a campus dining hall, are efforts to expose young scholars to college life in middle school and encourage them to continue on the path toward college completion.

“Cornell University is a leader in providing youth with program opportunities across a broad range of academic, recreational, and social skill development. At Cornell, CAU’s Summer Academy for children and teens encourages young people to grow in self-awareness, confidence, and competence, as they are mentored by successful college students who themselves come to us with many different interests and from many different backgrounds and experiences,” says Barbara Hopkins, the Program Coordinator of Cornell Adult University. “Girls Prep is a perfect match for participation in CAU’s program for young, college-bound teens. Girls Prep’s encouragement of ability, merit, and resilience with its emphasis on academic and personal development, is a good fit with CAU’s focus on healthy, happy, and progressive learning. We believe that every young person who spends a week with us finds her niche, makes lifelong friends, and becomes increasingly engaged and comfortable with the academic resources of a great university, all while enjoying the best recreational and social features of a camp.”

In order to be considered for the Cornell Summer Academy, the Girls Prep students will enter a competitive application process in which they develop a resume, essay and video about what they hope to learn from the experience. The Girls Prep students will have to demonstrate how they will live out their core values of Scholarship, Merit, Sisterhood and Responsibility. They will also be required to submit to letters of recommendation from their academic teachers. The top 15 candidates selected from the applicant pool will then partake in an interview with the admissions committee at Girls Prep, who will then select the final 10 students to participate in the Summer Academy.

Girls Prep Middle School Principal, Kaitlin Seaver adds, “as a school community, our mission is to ensure that 100% of our scholars are on the road to college completion and to provide them with access to enriching experiences in which they can see themselves living and thriving on college campuses. Through this unique experience, scholars will be afforded the opportunity to see firsthand the incredible learning that awaits them in elite colleges and universities like Cornell where they can become prominent female scientists, writers, and leaders who will make a positive difference in our world.”

The Cornell Summer Academy is the second component of the Girls Prep Summer Academy Series, which was launched on March 15, 2012. The Summer Academy Series began with the announcement of Girls Prep Leadership Academy at Stephens College occurring in July of 2012.

Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School is part of Public Prep, a New York City-based nonprofit organization that develops single-sex elementary and middle public schools that pursue excellence through continuous learning and data-driven instruction. Our model is designed to empower each student to build strong character, demonstrate critical thinking, possess a core body of knowledge and be on a predictive path to earn a degree from a four-year university. Public Prep is currently comprised of three tuition-free, all-girls charter schools that are open enrollment, can only be entered via a random lottery and serve urban districts in which students face significant academic and social risk factors.