A combination of nudging and nurturing has seemed to work well for Hartford’s Capital Preparatory Magnet School, which is part of the underachieving Hartford public school system. Capital Prep’s 97 percent graduation rate has grabbed national acclaim.
Tuesday night, Capital Prep’s Principal, Dr. Steve Perry, was in Bridgeport pitching his school’s model to the Boards of Education at both the state and local level. Bridgeport’s Board of Education says they do not support two charter schools proposed for the Park City. The board’s chairperson, Sauda Baraka, says they would lose out on $13 million in state funding if the charter schools, which are operated by private entities, are approved.
Perry says parents in Bridgeport support his model. It’s the teachers and their unions that don’t.
“If they’re originally for it, like they were originally for Common Core, once they recognize that it may have some impact on their membership’s jobs, then they’re against it,” said Perry.
One reason for their success, it’s exactly the balanced school environment parents envision for their children, according the Dr. Steve Perry, the principal of Capital Prep.
“The overwhelming majority of the staff and faculty, who have children, send their children to Capital Prep,” says Perry. “That’s the difference. Many of these people, who run other schools, don’t and won’t send their children to those schools.”
Upon opening in 2005, Capital Prep served grades 6 through 12. But, after an internal assessment determined 40% of first year students were reading at a level at least 4 grades below where they should be, the school expanded its reach to include pre-kindergarten through 12th grade.
“When you surround those children in a year round, high impact, high touch, high love environment, 100 percent of those graduates will go on to four year colleges,” says Perry.
And, at Capital Prep, whose student body is made up of 50% Hartford residents, 100 percent of their graduates do indeed enroll in four year colleges.
“If they can make it from some of the communities that they make it through to get to this building then they can do amazing things. All they need is access to a quality school,” adds Perry, a product of Middletown public schools.
Kayla Luciano travels 30 minutes from her home in Meriden to attend Capital Prep. She says she will be the first to graduate from Capital Prep with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree from college.