New Girls Prep SchoolBy Jose B. Rivera
East Harlem - January 7, 2009. Girls Prep East Harlem is a new charter school opening in the fall of 2009. The school is modeled on the success of Girls Prep Lower East Side. Girls Prep East Harlem will open with kindergarten and first grade. The school will add a new grade each year, eventually offering grades K-8. Students from Community School District 4 (East Harlem) will receive an absolute priority in the school lottery.
Girls Prep East Harlem believes in educating the whole child. To this end, the school will balance rigorous academics with character development, healthy living and artistic expression. Girls Prep will celebrate four core values: scholarship, merit, sisterhood and responsibility. Students will learn to treat their “sisters” with kindness and respect. The girls will attend music or art everyday and alternate between gym and yoga classes in the afternoon. They will receive 45 minutes of intensive small-group reading every day.
Two teachers will be present in each classroom. Lead Teachers at Girls Prep are fully certified and have at least three years of teaching experience. Girls Prep also has a Fellows program which was created to develop a pipeline of high-quality teachers. A two year commitment, the Girls Prep Fellows Program combines full-time mentored teaching with a subsidized master’s degree. In addition, Girls Prep East Harlem will employ four specialists to meet student needs. An Instructional Coach will teach small groups and tailor and combine existing curricula. A Special Education Coordinator, English Language Learners Coordinator and School Social Worker will engage students whose needs are not always met in a traditional classroom.
Girls Prep East Harlem will partner with families to ensure each child’s success. Each school year will begin with a home visit by the student’s teachers. This initial visit allows families and teachers to establish a relationship before the school year begins. At school, a full-time Director of Student and Family Affairs will dedicate her time to answering family questions or concerns. Families are welcome to visit or volunteer any time and Girls Prep will host a variety of school-wide family events such as workshops, picnics, movie nights and breakfasts. Each girl will have a binder that she carries to and from school every day. These binders allow families and teachers to communicate easily and often about their daughter’s progress. All families will also have cell phone numbers for their daughter’s teacher.
Girls Prep East Harlem is currently accepting applications for the 2009-2010 school year. All applications are due by April 1st, 2009.
Editor’s Note:Girls Prep East Harlem were given a new location by the Department of Education and have settled in the Bronx. I wish them well. JBR