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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

The new college try

The “Ivy sisters,” who came from Cameroon to the Bronx, will be attending Dartmouth, Yale and Harvard in the fall, reports NBC.

A video of Xaviera Zime finding out she was admitted to Harvard went viral.

The sisters arrived with only the English they’d picked up from watching TV. “We started learning English, going to the library, reading books and using dictionaries,” Xaviera said.

They attended Democracy Prep Charter High, where nearly all graduates go on to college and 80 percent earn degrees, writes Charles Sahm.

“Nearly all Democracy Prep graduates are from low-income families,” Sahm writes. “Nationally, less than 20% of high school graduates below the median of household income receive bachelor’s degrees within six years.”

Like other charters, Democracy Prep features a longer school day, rigorous academics and data-driven instruction. But the network sets itself apart from other high-performing charters by taking on the toughest challenges.

Unlike other charters that don’t accept new students after a certain grade, Democracy Prep — which operates elementary, middle, and high schools — takes in new students whenever a new spot opens up, even in later grades. The network has also participated in a number of school turnarounds, taking over troubled, low-performing schools. (Most charter networks prefer to start fresh with young students and build out one grade at a time.)

Democracy Prep “encourages students to be actively engaged citizens,” he writes. “Students travel to City Hall, Albany and Washington, D.C., to lobby elected officials on issues ranging from charter school funding to the DREAM Act. . . . All seniors complete a capstone college-level research project that examines a social or political issue of their choosing.”

The motto is “Work Hard, Go to College, Change the World.”

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