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DC Prep’s mission is to bridge the educational divide in Washington, DC by providing underprivileged students with the academic preparation and character necessary for their success in higher education and their careers.
DC Prep was founded in 2003 by a passionate lady known as Emily Lawson, who is the current CEO. DC Prep has its main offices at 707 Edgewood Street, NE Washington, DC 20017. DC Prep is keen on recruiting staff members who come from a similar background as the students in order for them to serve as role models, and with whom the students can easily and willingly relate to. This approach was preferred by the schools because Emily Lawson believed that the staffs’ perception of the students is pivotal to their continuous growth and instrumental in the fulfillment DC Prep’s mission.
DC Prep is essentially a series of public charter schools that serve preschool to 8th grade student. The schools are committed to improving public education in Washington DC, turning the worst performing student communities into some of the best. This is achieved by cultivating a tradition of high expectations that places emphasis on character and high academic performance. The emphasis on character is important to the DC Prep mission because it readies the student not only for success at DC Prep but also guarantees it in beyond the school, that is, in competitive colleges and further in the real word. DC Prep also offers tuition-free enrollment for all DC residents.
In 2003, DC Prep opened its first school, Edgewood Middle Campus, with 100 students all between the 4th and 8th grades. DC Prep opened its second school in 2007, Edgewood Elementary Campus, which served preschool students through to the 3rd grade. In 2008, DC Prep opened Benning Elementary Campus that also served preschool students through to 3rd grade.
In 2013, Benning Middle Campus opened its doors and served students of the 4th and 5th grades with the intention of growing the school one grade each year up to the 8th grade. In the fall of 2015, DC Prep opened the doors of its newest school, Anacostia Elementary Campus, which served preschool students with the intention to grow the school one grade each year up to the 3rd grade. By the end of 2015, DC Prep was serving more than 2,000 students across all campuses, all the way from preschool to 8th grade. DC Prep’s target, however, is to enroll over 3,500 students across all campuses.
What has given DC Prep an edge is the schools’ inclusivity and diversity. This is coupled with the schools’ commitment to actively strengthen each student on a personal level as well as the capacity to approach, lead, and teach the students in a culturally-relatable manner. DC Prep has found strength by cultivating a culture of trust and support amongst teachers, students, and parents. This has made DC Prep the highest performing network of chartered schools which has in turn earned the schools a 93 percent recommendation rate.
Undoubtedly, with such a culturally sensitive approach DC Prep is bound to change how education is perceived within the underprivileged communities of Washington DC, which will guarantee that the children from these areas have an equal shot at career success as children from other communities.
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