UPCHS Wins 2016 National Blue Ribbon Award

University Prep Wins 2016 National Blue Ribbon Award
Posted on 09/28/2016
2016 National Blu Ribbon Award

September 28, 2016

WASHINGTON - University Prep Charter High School, a unionized charter school in the South Bronx, was nationally recognized today as a 2016
National Blue Ribbon School.

“This is an extraordinary honor that proves a school that stresses collaboration to ensure student success pays off,” said University Prep Principal Andrea d’Amato. “I am so proud of our teachers, our community of families and our students’ hard work.”

University Prep is one of 279 public and 50 private schools that received the U.S. Department of Education honor of being named a 2016 National Blue Ribbon School.

Schools are nominated for the award by their state department of education and then complete a comprehensive application about school practices. University Prep won in the category of Exemplary High-Performing Schools.

The charter school was founded in 2008 by Randi Weingarten, then-president of the United Federation of Teachers, and Steve Barr, founder and then-head of Green Dot Public Schools.

“Unlike other charter schools that stray from their original purpose to incubate good ideas and are instead used to destabilize public schools, University Prep helps its students to succeed every day. It does so as a unionized charter school that works because educators have a real voice and collaborate with school leaders and parents as partners,” said Weingarten, now president of the American Federation of Teachers. “We have succeeded over the long term. This school is in the South Bronx where our kids face daily obstacles, yet the average four-year graduation rate is 99 percent.”

Steve Barr said, “It is amazing what can happen when teacher voice is valued. We all work hard to support our teachers in development and resources. UniPrep is a model for public education reform.”

D’Amato noted that University Prep has very little teacher turnover because educators work “hand in glove” with school leadership on every decision affecting students.

“When collaboration is woven into the fabric of a school, it creates a universal sense of ownership in both our challenges and successes,” said Hunter Schoenfeld, the school’s union chapter leader.

Gideon Stein, CEO of LightSail, and Burt Sacks, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Management Services for the City University of New York—both trustees of the school—expressed how proud they are of the accomplishments of University Prep, the educators and students.