Prep for Prep
Prep for Prep is a leadership development and gifted education program founded in 1978 by Gary Simons, a public-school teacher in the Bronx. It is targeted toward high achieving minority students in New York City public, charter and parochial schools.
Prep for Prep opened in 1978 with 25 students and three teachers. During the first year in 1978, eleven independent schools committed places for Prep students and 22 students matriculated from those schools. Today, the Prep for Prep community includes over 3,000 students and alumni. There are two sub-schools, Anne Frank and Johnny Gunther Jr. These were named for young people who died from natural (Johnny Gunther Jr.) and unnatural causes (Anne Frank). 39 contingents have been inducted since 1978.
In 2000, Prep for Prep partnered with the Goldman Sachs Foundation to establish the New York Metro Region Leadership Academy. According to a report on the Goldman Sachs Foundation signature initiative to develop high-potential youth, "The New York Metro Region Leadership Academy (NYMRLA)was established as a program of Prep for Prep to improve academic preparation of promising 12- and 13-year-old students from suburban public schools in the New York metro region. Through a rigorous course of study and an array of leadership development opportunities, the program prepares young people for accelerated and Advanced Placement courses in high school. NYMRLA’s educational mission is to create a foundation for strong academic performance that will enable students to satisfy the admission criteria of top-ranked colleges." Unfortunately, the Foundation only supported two cohorts of students (131 accepted) and the program had to end due to a lack of funding.
Each year, a citywide "talent search" selects about 120 minority students, including 90 fifth graders and 30 sixth graders. To qualify for recruitment, 5th graders must have a scaled score of 330 or above on the English Language Arts (ELA) test administered during their 4th grade school year, or have scored in the 90th percentile on any standardized reading test administered in that school year. 6th graders must have a scaled score of 335 (90th percentile) or above on the ELA exam administered during their 5th grade school year. Applicants then undergo a series of interviews and further standardized testing to determine admission into the program. Fifth and sixth graders are admitted into Prep for Prep and earn spots at leading day schools in New York City.
Admitted students undergo a 14-month academic course the summer before their sixth or seventh grade year, which includes two intensive seven-week summer sessions as well as after-school Wednesday and all-day Saturday classes during the intervening school year. Courses range from History, Algebra, Pre-Algebra, Research , Latin, French, Spanish, Literature, Writing Conference, Science, which includes biology, physics, and chemistry, Invictus, a sociology and psychology based course, PIMAS (Problems and Issues in Modern American Society), and term paper research. An average of 75 percent of students successfully complete this program and are placed in schools chosen from among three dozen leading New York City independent schools. These 36 schools commit places especially for Prep for Prep students, as well as almost $12 million annually in scholarships. Throughout the program and past high school graduation, students also receive personal and academic counseling, college counseling and career counseling, and participate in leadership and community development activities as well as parties and special trips for alumni.
Prep for Prep students are commonly enrolled at such independent schools as Allen-Stevenson School, Berkeley Carroll, Brearley, The Browning School, The Buckley School, Calhoun, Chapin School, Collegiate, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, Dalton, Fieldston, Friends Seminary, Horace Mann, The Kew Forest School, Mandell School, Nightingale-Bamford, Packer Collegiate, Poly Prep, Riverdale Country School, Rye Country Day School, Grace Church School, Sacred Heart, Saint Ann's, Spence, Town, Trevor Day School, Village Community School, and Trinity School NYC. Many Prep for Prep alumni go on to attend Ivy League and other top tier universities.
- Nabeel "Celvïn" Shad, Contingent XXXVII Student