Many of our students rarely venture outside of Newark and have difficulty picturing themselves on a college campus. So we paint the picture with them, bringing all 380 of our students on tours of college campuses four times a year where they get to understand what college looks, feels, and smells like. We give our highest-achieving students access to more challenging academic coursework through our “Voyages” honors program, offering extra-rigorous classes and the chance to matriculate in dual-enrollment programs at local colleges.
Unfortunately, we know the odds are stacked against our students. A quarter of them have IEPs/504s (compared to 17% of students at neighboring schools), 94% receive free or reduced lunch (versus 79% of students at neighboring schools), and all of them identify as Black or Latino (compared to 90% of students at neighboring schools). The colleges they attend are not always set up to help them thrive. That’s why it’s on us to make sure that whatever obstacles they encounter — a confusing form, an intimidating office hour, a clash with a roommate — they are equipped to handle and stay on the path to college graduation.
That’s why we don’t leave college graduation to chance. We maintain a college placement office with six full-time staff members who are dedicated solely to helping our students choose the college that will launch them into their futures. Once they’re at those schools, staff members are committed to their students for six years after high school graduation, ensuring our alumni have a touchpoint and support system at People’s Prep as they navigate the next stage of their lives. We share in their struggles, their confusion, their tears, their joy, and their triumphs as we walk with them every step of the way.