This week, the Daily News has acknowledged Seth Andrew, founder of Democracy Prep Charter School, for his amazing efforts in education. The publication has awarded him with the Education Award due to his innovative accomplishments in urban education and passion towards the betterment of his students. Check out this riveting piece about him below:
Democracy Prep Charter School founder Seth Andrew started out trying to build better citizens, and ended up creating a compelling new vision for public education.
Andrew, 35, founded his first school eight years ago in Harlem. Since then, he has opened seven others, and received a federal grant to quadruple the network’s size by 2017.
He has also helped prepare thousands of city kids for college when others thought they couldn’t make it, earning him a nod for a Daily News Hometown Heroes in Education Award.
“You start with the neediest kids if you want to change things,” said Andrew, a product of the city’s public schools who graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1996. “We’re trying to start a revolution.”
The first school Andrew opened took over empty classrooms in what was then the lowest-performing middle school in the entire city, Intermediate School 172 in Harlem.
Four years later, Democracy Prep posted the highest math and reading scores of any city junior high, even though it served the same troubled neighborhood kids.
Today, the network’s seven other schools post similar results, although they all are zoned for high-poverty neighborhoods where student performance usually suffers. Andrew credits his success to outstanding teachers, positive culture, 70% more instructional time compared with district schools and high expectations for all students.
The federal government recognized Democracy Prep’s successful track record last year with a $9.2 million grant, which Andrew will use to open 10 new schools.
For the first time, Democracy Prep will take its operations outside the city, with a new school opening in Camden, N.J., later this year and in Washington next year.
Both cities are have struggling public schools, making them perfect targets for Andrew and his zealous educators, who give their all.
Democracy Prep may also expand its operations in New York. The charter network has four years left to use the federal grant and Andrew does not accept money from private donors for operations.
That’s because Andrew wants to prove that success is possible using only public money, in a sustainable new model that could change education nationwide.
Democracy Prep’s students outperform almost every other school in the city on standardized tests, even though its curriculum focuses heavily on civic achievements such as volunteerism and participation in government.
“The goal is to prepare students to become responsible citizens,” Andrew said. “We want them to go to college and change the world.”
View the original piece here.