Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary School

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Our School Mission and Model

Public Prep Network is a nonprofit organization that develops single-sex elementary and middle public schools that pursue excellence through continuous learning and data-driven instruction. Our model is designed to empower each student to build strong character, demonstrate critical thinking, possess a core body of knowledge, and be on a predictive path to earn a degree from a four-year university.

The Girls Prep community lives by four core values: scholarship, merit, sisterhood, and responsibility.

School Culture

Girls Prep students learn to be active citizens as well as scholars. Teachers treat students with compassion and fairness and help students to use the same behavior with their peers. We have found that our supportive and well-rounded learning environment produces incredible results.

High Expectations for Behavior

  • Our girls treat each other as sisters. We teach them to support and help each other, solve their problems together and take responsibility for their mistakes.
  • We have a school-wide discipline system. Students are recognized for exceptional behavior and held accountable for poor choices.
  • Every week, one student from each K-2nd grade class is chosen as the Star of the Week and one student from each 3rd-4th grade class is chosen as the Big Sister of the Week. These students are recognized for exhibiting the Girls Prep values.

Unity Meetings

Bi-weekly Unity Meetings bring together the entire Girls Prep community. Meetings are led by classes who present songs, dances, skits, or other performances. We also use this time to honor student achievements and emphasize our core values.

A Culture of Success

Girls Prep students value merit and scholarship. Teachers encourage exploration and joy in learning as well as the importance of persistence and effort.

Academics

As a charter school, Girls Prep has the freedom to structure our school in innovative ways that benefit students. Some unique and effective aspects of our school model are:

  • A well-balanced education that emphasizes creativity and health alongside academic excellence. In addition to strong core academics, our girls excel in music, art, yoga, physical education and embody school values such as sisterhood and responsibility.
  • Our Principal is an instructional leader. She dedicates her time to supporting teachers and ensuring academic excellence. In addition, Instructional Specialists aid classroom teachers in providing the best instruction possible and in identifying and serving students with special needs.
  • We use assessment data to meet the diverse learning needs of every child and to create guided small groups, centers, and lessons. Our use of data ensures that every student is challenged and that no student falls through the cracks.
  • Our model provides each student individual attention and a tailored program to meet her needs. We welcome and support students with special needs, Individual Education Plans, and English Language Learners. Our school offers SETSS services, push-in and pull-out interventions, speech therapy, and tutoring for all students who require it.

English Language Arts

Girls Prep teachers combine literacy programs to help students become great readers and writers. We blend interactive read-alouds, shared reading, independent reading, literacy center activities, word study, language concept study, and guided reading. Literacy instruction takes place throughout the day in all subject areas.

Every day, each student receives 45 minutes of small group instruction during Reading Group. The student-teacher ratio during reading group is approximately 6:1. In grades K-1 this time is spent teaching phonics, developing phonemic awareness, developing reading strategies, decoding, and developing comprehension. In the later grades, the focus shifts to reading for meaning, developing comprehension skills, and discussing and evaluating literature. We also have daily Literacy and Writing periods.

Math

The framework of our math curriculum is Saxon Math which we supplement with Exemplars, a problem-solving program, and Stern, a number sense and arithmetic program. We follow the Saxon sequence of learning objectives. However, grade level teams enrich Saxon's script through interactive games, centers, and activities. Girls Prep math instruction includes a morning meeting, as well as a math lesson each day.

Writing

Girls Prep students have a 45 minute daily writing block taught in a workshop model. Each workshop begins with a mini-lesson on a specific skill or strategy. The class then works on individual writing assignments while teachers hold conferences with students. Teachers use these conferences to note general trends in their class' writing in addition to tracking the progress of individual students. At the end of the lesson, the class comes together to share their work.

Science and Social Studies

Girls Prep follows the Scott Foresman curriculum for Science and Social Studies with teachers adding hands-on enrichment activities. Social Studies instruction is tailored to community history while the enriched Science curriculum emphasizes experiential learning and scientific experimentation.

Arts and Physical Education

The girls attend music or art every day as well as physical education or yoga.

Assessment

Girls Prep believes in standards-focused, data-driven instruction. We will use the following assessments to ensure that each of our students excels in all subject areas.

  • TerraNova
  • DIBELS
  • Rigby Running Records
  • Internally Designed Interim Assessments
  • Achievement Network Interim Assessments
  • Classroom Observation

Family-School Partnership

The relationship between home and school is central to each child's success. At Girls Prep, we partner with families to provide maximum support to our students.

Every year begins 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. Additional ways we develop a relationship of trust and mutual respect with families are:

  • Our full-time Director of Student and Family Affairs dedicates her time to answering family questions or concerns.
  • Girls Prep encourages family involvement. Families are welcome to visit or volunteer any time. The Girls Prep PTA sends home weekly news updates and hosts many events and meetings.
  • Girls Prep hosts a variety of school-wide family events such as picnics, movie nights and breakfasts. We also host instructional workshops for families.
  • Each girl has a homework 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 have phone numbers for their daughter's teacher. Teachers return phone calls within 36 hours and usually much faster.