A charter school run by UC-San Diego is sending 50 of its first 55 graduates to four-year colleges, reports the Chicago Tribune. The Preuss School, which runs from 6th through 12th grade, uses a lottery to pick low-income students, most of whom are racial and ethnic minorities. Two-thirds of the first graduating class was admitted to UC schools.
One word characterizes Preuss: more. The school year is nearly a month longer. The school day is an hour longer. Classes are intense, scheduled in every-other-day blocks that run for 1 hour, 42 minutes, rather than the typical 55 minutes. Some students return for Saturday-morning sessions.
One senior, David Iaea, who is headed to New York University, says with a nod toward the brutal schedule, “College will be a breeze after Preuss.”
. . . The school’s expectations are bearing fruit. Despite long commutes for many, student attendance is at 98 percent. All of Preuss’ high school students take the SAT, compared with about half of all high school students in California. And all Preuss high school students complete the courses required by the state’s public university systems for admission, compared with about a third of all high school students statewide.
Not everyone makes it through. But those who do will be the first in their families to attend college.
At Downtown College Prep in San Jose, the school I’m following, 92 percent of seniors have been admitted to four-year colleges so far. The goal is 100 percent. As at Preuss, students must complete the college-prep sequence required by public universities to earn a diploma.