Focus on Literacy
Literacy is the core academic skill on which all future learning is based. For this reason, Leadership Prep's academic program has a laser focus on literacy during the elementary years. Specifically, we do this by:
- Investing nearly 200 minutes per day in literacy instruction
- Using research-proven curricula
- Having small reading groups that never exceed 10 students with one teacher
- Having extensive professional development for our teachers on technique which have proven to be effective in promoting literacy skills among low-income students
- Using early and frequent assessment to identify students in need of extra help, craft effective interventions, and measure the efficacy of our program and interventions
Set a High Bar Academically and Behaviorally
At Leadership Prep, we set high academic standards that are commensurate with a future of college prep high school and college for all our students. We challenge them to be their best. At Leadership Prep, our teachers are caring and warm, yet hold students to high behavioral standards which are consistent throughout the school. We subscribe to the "broken windows" theory of school discipline which holds that if schools sweat the "small" infractions from the outset the larger more serious behaviors will never occur. The result is a respectful and orderly environment in which students can focus on learning and teachers can focus on teaching.
Personalized Attention for Every Student
With a student to teacher ratio of 14 to 1, and reading groups which never exceed 10 students, our teachers know every student. They provide highly effective, highly differentiated instruction to each student every day.
Foster Great Teaching
Children learn best when instruction is clear, well-paced, content-rich, engaging, and informed by frequent assessment. Leadership Prep recruits, develops, and retains the very best teachers who can ensure that our students achieve academically. We seek out committed, talented educators, who are relentless about seeing their student succeed and provide these teachers with high-quality professional development based on the practices of the highest performing urban, public schools in the nation. Teachers are selected for their willingness to have frequent and honest dialogue about which children are learning, which are not, and what can be done about it.
More Learning Time
To ensure that our students achieve academically, Leadership Prep relies on an extended school day (7:30 AM to 4:00 PM) and an extended school year (186 days). We provide extensive instruction in the core academic subjects as well as in art, physical education and character education. This arrangement allows for 28% more instructional time than that provided by NYC district schools each year. A student who attends Leadership Prep from kindergarten to eighth grade will receive 2.5 years more learning time than students receive in the typical New York City district school. Our program also includes significant amounts of homework every night. Parents are required to sign off that their child has completed that homework every night.
Help Students Until They Are Masters
Leadership Prep provides small-group and one-on-one tutoring after school for students who need extra attention in order to reach mastery. Under this program, Leadership Prep students most in need of extra help benefit from 54% more instructional time each year than they would receive in a typical district school. Between kindergarten and eighth grade this amounts to an additional 4.9 years of schooling.
Data to Drive Instruction
Great teachers need to know when they are being effective and when they are not. At Leadership Prep, we use regular assessments to determine which standards have been mastered and which we still need to teach. We have frequent and frank conversations about which students are learning, which are not, and what can be done about it.
The path to and through college can be a long and arduous climb. To get our students through the long climb to college, Leadership Prep instills in our students the personal qualities they will need to succeed. Our school creed teaches courage, loyalty, justice, respect, hope, honesty, love, and scholarship. Weekly all-school meetings reinforce these values and celebrate student achievement.
Active family involvement in school and learning is essential to meeting Leadership Prep's mission of preparing students to succeed in high school and college. Our staff fosters family engagement in our students' learning and success through abundant and on-going communication between the parent and school. We create a dynamic in which we are partners with families in promoting their children's academic success. Specifically, we:
- Meet one-on-one with each new student's family before their child begins at the school
- Provide a Contract of Commitment which lets families know what they can count on from the school and clarifies the school's expectations of students and families
- Send home a weekly newsletter of classroom and school-wide news and information
- Meet with families for at least three formal conferences each year to discuss their child's progress
- Send home weekly behavioral updates
- Celebrate successes with parents
- Have a dedicated Dean of Students who works to build strong relationships with families
- Provide periodic evening or weekend workshops designed to help families hone the skills they need to be effective teachers for their children
- Create regular events in which families are invited into the school to celebrate student achievement