Monday, October 20, 2014

An awesome trip to YESPrep!

Everything is BIGGER in Texas. And with more than a dozen schools and plans to keep growing, YESPrep is no exception.  

This morning I had the chance to catch up with former BVP staffer Steven Corrales who now helps lead school operations support for the Broad Prize winning school network.  Together, with BVP board member and Central Falls Mayor James Diossa, we tried to lure Steven back to the biggest little state in the union.  What we got instead was a fantastic tour of a great school.

In fact, it is really easy to understand Steven's love for his new work home. Many elements should be very familiar: great instruction, academic rigor, college prep culture, and sufficient time.  During our student-led tour we saw all of these elements, and more.  My notes are filled with both validation of our work at BVP and some new ideas on building long-term cultural routines such as how they celebrate college acceptances (it looks like banging on this and signing like this).

More importantly, we had great conversations with our senior guide and the college counseling team.  The amount of planning and support around college that begins in 9th grade, and even younger, was validating of the great work of Jonathan Santos Silva and Dave Jose, and a reminder of how big and important college counseling really is.

When we got in our car to head to Whataburger (a Texan improvement on McDonalds, but a far cry from Stanley's), I told the Mayor the tour was a waste of time.  Based on what I wrote above, he looked at me like I was nuts.  (He’s right, I am crazy).  But honestly, when we arrived on campus we learned everything we needed to know in the parking lot.  As we pulled in, a parent was leaving the building.  Stopping her with my broken Spanish, the mom responded in her broken English to my question of whether or not she liked the school.  The Mayor kindly translated, and for five minutes she praised the expectations, culture, safety of the school.  She talked about her aspirations for her son, and how happy her entire family is to have the opportunity of YESPrep.

And that’s how I started my day.  How about you?

Executive Director

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