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Girl’s Prep Gets a New Home

East Side Community High SchoolRachel Ohm The building that houses East Side Community School on 11th Street between First Avenue and Avenue A will also become the new home of Girl’s Prep Middle School in the fall.

For the past year, Girl’s Prep, an all-girls charter school in the East Village has been in search of a new home for its growing middle school.

Last week, school officials received approval from the Department of Education to move into a space at the East Side Community School building on 11th Street and First Avenue. The middle school, which currently serves students in grades five and six only, will be able to re-locate in the fall and eventually expand to teach seventh and eighth graders.

“It’s such a relief to know we have a permanent, free public school space,” said Ian Rowe, the school’s interim principal. “Our parents have been through a roller coaster these last two years.”

Girl’s Prep is a kindergarten through sixth grade school that opened at 442 Houston Street in 2005 as an elementary school. Last year, when it expanded to grades five and six, the new middle school moved to a temporary location that it rented at 51 Astor Place. That building is set to be demolished later this year, after the charter’s lease expires June 30.
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At Girls Prep, A Study In Excellence

At Girls Prep, A Study In Excellence from The Local East Village on Vimeo.

The uniformed students of Girls Prep Lower East Side Elementary walk quietly in single file through neon orange hallways, under banners with slogans for the school’s four “core values”: sisterhood, scholarship, merit and responsibility. Since opening in 2005 as the first all-girls charter school in the city, it has been part of an ongoing experiment to boost performance in public schools. And for years now, students there have been quietly defying conventional wisdom about the link between income and academic performance.

At Girls Prep, where 98 percent of students are minority and almost three-quarters come from families with such low incomes that they qualify for free or reduced-price lunches, test scores have exceeded the state median the past few years – one of only a handful of schools in the East Village to do so.

NYU Journalism’s Andre Tartar reports.