SEED’s public boarding school in Washington, D.C. is profiled in The Inner-City Prep School Experience in the New York Times Magazine.
Every Sunday night, 325 students in grades 6 through 12, most of them African-American, most from single-parent, lower-income families in Southeast and Northeast, pass through the gates of SEED — the first inner-city public boarding school in the country, with admission by lottery. And for the next five days they do what other prep-school kids do: in uniforms of pressed khaki pants and polo shirts, they take classes in Spanish, precalculus, U.S. history and other subjects. They meet with staff members at the school’s College Café to talk about college applications. They spend their afternoons in chess clubs, on the basketball court or in poetry workshops.
They go home on weekends to neighborhoods where their friends are dropping out of high school, joining gangs and raising babies.
SEED spends $35,000 per student to cover teaching plus five days a week of room, board and extra supervision and mentoring. I wonder if that’s really cost effective. There are “no excuses” schools that teach values and academics for a lot less. Most extend the school day but not to 24 hours.