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Girls Prep LES Middle School Receives Support to Implement the Presidential Youth Fitness Program

June 1, 2013

On June 1st, Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School became one of the first schools in the nation to receive support to implement the Presidential Youth Fitness Program through the program’s Funding Opportunity.  “Girls Prep Middle School is proud to have been selected to receive this first round of funding,” Principal Kaitlin Seaver said.  “We see this program as a positive step in promoting the health and well-being of our students and doing what we can to prepare them to be fit and ready to learn.”   


Launched last September by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition and First Lady Michelle Obama, the national program promotes fitness and physical activity for the improved health of America’s youth. 


With only about half of the nation’s youth achieving the recommended 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily, children are at greater risk for developing a variety of conditions and diseases due to physical inactivity. These risks include obesity, weak bones, anxiety and depression.  The Presidential Youth Fitness Program (“PYFP”) aims to change these growing health concerns by providing physical educators with resources and tools to help students develop and maintain a physically active and fit lifestyle.


“Students nationwide need the chance to develop lifelong, healthy habits and the Presidential Youth Fitness Program can help schools do that in a fun and educational way.  It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Jane Wargo, the program director at PYFP?.


While the PYFP is free, there are supplemental elements that can be purchased to enhance the program experience for both physical educators and their students.  This includes the Fitnessgram® software, virtual training courses for physical educators, and recognition items for students. Through the generous support of the General Mills Foundation, the Amateur Athletic Union, the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, and The Cooper Institute developed the Presidential Youth Fitness Program Funding Opportunity to provide schools with the supplemental items to enhance their fitness experiences in the physical education classroom.



About the Presidential Youth Fitness Program Inaugural Funding Opportunity

The Presidential Youth Fitness Program is the result of a partnership among six organizations: American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (AAHPERD); the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU);the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:;The Cooper Institute;  the National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; and the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.  In February 2013, the General Mills Foundation announced a six year $10 million grant to support the implementation of the program in schools nationwide.  The inaugural funding opportunity supports schools for three years by giving them access to the supplemental elements provided by The Cooper Institute, AAHPERD, and the President’s Challenge program, managed through a co-sponsorship agreement with the Amateur Athletic Union, to allow for a more robust program experience.  During this time, educators will be encouraged to seek out ways to sustain the program after the funding period ends.  This is not a government grant program and no federal funds are used for the development, rollout, or implementation of the inaugural funding opportunity. For more information about the program, visit


Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School opened in the fall of 2009 and serves grades 5-8. Girls Prep LES Middle School students have an extended day to ensure that their academic needs are met and exceeded. Upon graduation, our girls will be ready to enter the best college-prep high schools in New York.

Girls Prep Lower East Side Middle School is part of the Public Prep Network, 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.


About the Inaugural Funding Opportunity

The primary purpose of this inaugural funding opportunity is to provide schools with support to facilitate implementation of and sustained participation in the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.  Funds will be used to provide elements previously identified as supplemental to the free Presidential Youth Fitness Program.  These elements include FITNESSGRAM® software (web-based version), virtual learning opportunities for professional development, and Presidential Youth Fitness Awards for students. A secondary outcome of this funding opportunity will be evaluation of the program through information submitted by participating schools.


About the Presidential Youth Fitness Program

Launched in September 2012, the mission of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program is to offer a comprehensive school-based program that promotes physical activity and fitness for improved health of America’s youth.  This voluntary program is the result of a partnership between the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, Amateur Athletic Union and The Cooper Institute.  For more information about the program, visit


About the General Mills Foundation

The mission of the General Mills Foundation, celebrating 59 years of giving, is to nourish communities.  Continuing its tradition of generous giving and global community support, General Mills contributed more than $143 million to charitable causes in fiscal year 2012.  General Mills invests in and collaborates with community organizations and programs that focus on alleviating hunger and advancing nutrition wellness.  In addition, 83 percent of U.S. employees volunteer.  To learn more about the ways General Mills nourishes lives through philanthropy and community engagement, please join us on Facebook at or visit us at

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.

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.

Thousands of NYC Charter School Families March for Quality School Options

October 8, 2013

On the morning of Tuesday, October 8, more than 17,000 public charter school families and supporters marched from Cadman Plaza over the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall. They marched to preserve a basic right that every parent, regardless of their race, income level, or zip code, should have the power to choose a great public school for their child. Regina Dowdell, a parent from Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School, eloquently argued this point in her editorial that appeared in this Sunday's New York Daily News:

The march sent an important signal to the new mayor and chancellor—public charter school parents will fiercely advocate for their children.

Public Prep families joined in the march and promoted a positive agenda that will lift all public schools—both district and charter. We are committed to partnering with the new mayor in order to ensure public charter schools continue to be a high-quality option for NYC families.

Here are some articles that covered the event:

New York Times-City’s Charter Schools Fear Having de Blasio for a Landlor

The Wall Street Journal- NYC charter backers march across Brooklyn Bridge

New York Post- Parents' historic march for charter schools

New York Daily News- Charter school rally sends message to Bill de Blasio, Joe Lhota

Newsday- Lhota, de Blasio battle over charter schools

NY1- Charter School Supporters March Across Brooklyn Bridge

CBS New York- Thousands Rally In Support Of Charter Schools In NYC

Fox New York- Charter backers march across Brooklyn Bridge

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Girls Prep Lower East Side Board Meetings

2012-13 School Year

Girls Prep Lower East Side is governed by a Board of Trustees dedicated to providing equal education opportunities for all children. Our members ensure our school is an academic success and true to the terms of our charter. Board meetings are open to the public. For more information on dates, times and location, please visit the Board of Trustees page of our website.

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