News and Events
In Honor of Mary Mitchell
June 7, 2013
On behalf of the Public Prep community, we honor Mary Mitchell for her unwavering dedication, passion for excellence and commitment to strengthening the educational opportunities we offer our students. As a founding Trustee, she challenged us to strive for nothing less than the very best for our students. Girls Prep Lower East Side, Girls Prep Bronx and Public Prep would not exist without Mary's love and relentless focus on student achievement. Her memory and tenacious spirit will continue to inspire us. We will use her memory to strengthen our work together, and will miss her deeply.
September 4, 2013
Kesi Wilson Encourages Public Prep Staff
August 12, 2013
Kesi Wilson, the 2013 Girls Prep LES Middle School Valedictorian, joined the Public Prep staff at the 2013 Network-Wide Day of Learning, and shared her wisdom and gratitude for the Public Prep Staff. Read her touching speech below.
First and foremost, I would like to thank you for having me as your speaker today. It is an honor I was not expecting (nor did I know existed), but it is one that I took with much pride.
So, I asked my mother what exactly this speech was supposed to be about. What do you talk about with a bunch of teachers? Homework? But she informed me that this was supposed to be inspirational. You know, talking about how “if you can reach one kid, blah, blah…” and all that jazz. But I thought that was general knowledge for teachers. I didn’t know teachers needed pep talks. I thought they were just indestructible beings that could take all of the rude children and the frequent “I don’t get it.” I thought they could handle the dropping averages and I thought that they could attack each task with vigor and vitality.
But I was wrong.
And I know that now. And so being granted the chance to talk on behalf of my friends I say a deeply felt, “thank you.” I am here to reinforce your faith in teaching. I want to let you know that so many children depend so heavily on you, and if you can reach one of them, then, simply with that one, you have succeeded.
If you can turn the introvert into the extrovert, then you have succeeded.
If you can explain the Pythagorean Theorem to a kid who does not realize that there were 3 different types of triangles, then you have succeeded.
If you can read a story that widens a child’s eyes and vocabulary, then you have succeeded.
If you can be the bright “hello” in a child’s bad morning, then you have won.
But you may be thinking, “Yeah, okay. Everyone can do that. Ordinary strangers can read or explain.” And you’d be wrong.
You are not some ordinary stranger. Ordinary strangers cannot teach. They are not patient. They do not have the ability to simplify extreme concepts to the best of their ability and still watch as some students lug those concepts around like rocks. An ordinary stranger cannot watch, as concepts do not stick, over and over again. An ordinary stranger is unwilling to lesson plan until two in the morning. An ordinary stranger is unwilling to grade four-paged tests or read stories that make no chronological or grammatical sense until three.
An ordinary stranger would have quit a long time ago.
And while I have no idea what keeps you guys going (because sometimes I can’t stand my OWN classmates) I’m telling you—it’s working.
If it’s the huge coffee in the morning, it’s working. If it’s the satisfaction of a child getting it, it’s working. If it’s watching a kid’s eyes light up with understanding, or being able to tell your coworkers in the lounge, “Guess who understands now,” or even if it’s the smell of sharpened pencils and prepped minds in the morning. It’s working.
You’re doing something right. And it’s hard to find teachers like you all. You all are an elite breed.
But just know, some of us will not like you, and we won’t know why. Your voice will be annoying. The amount of homework you give will be ridiculous. The clack of your shoes down the hall will be sickly. Your smile will be saccharine. You gave me a C. The subject you teach sucks. We will dislike every inch of your being. But you still mean a heck of a lot to us. No matter how much eye rolling, stomping, or sass you have to endure, you mean something. Keep that in mind.
And some of us will love you. And we don’t know why. You’ve got nice hair. You’re pretty. You make the class cookies. You don’t give homework. You tell jokes. You gave me an A. The subject you teach rocks. And you as teachers have the right to seek refuge in these students. These students are jewels. You mean something. Keep that in mind.
But no matter the student, keep in mind that you are doing something good. You are doing something god-like. You are doing something that baffles. And it may not be in the cumulative test scores, but it is in the faces of each and every young life you affect. It’s there. You can’t see it yet, but is there, and you must keep an eye out for it. The satisfaction of teaching cannot be seen in the numbers. It is in the harmonious “oohh” that comes with comprehension. It is in the swagger of the student who has been accepted to her first choice in high school. It is in the face of the student who has finally found a sport she is good at.
So, because you are affecting so many lives, because you are so elite, and because each student of Girls Prep would be nowhere without every quality that you embody and bring to the table, turn to your neighbor and say, “Well done, you.” And pat yourself on the back and say, “Well done, me.” And kiss your brain, because you are doing it.
Well done, teachers. Have a momentous year.
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