Every Preuss graduate accepted into 4-year college

Jun 29, 2013 by

After repeatedly ranking among the top schools in the nation, The Preuss School UCSD has notched a new accomplishment: every student in the class of 2013 was accepted to a four-year college or university.

All 96 seniors who graduated Friday at the La Jolla campus earned their diplomas after spending more time behind a desk than their counterparts at traditional public schools.

Creating first-generation college graduates in low-income families has been the central mission of the charter school since it opened in 1999.

In years past, the school boasted a 90 percent or higher college-acceptance rate for its graduating class, although typically about 80 percent ended up going onto a four-year school, often because of financial issues.

“The 100 percent being accepted to a four-year college, that’s great, but eventually the goal is having 100 percent of our students enrolling in four-year colleges. That’s what we need to do to get everybody an equal opportunity to a high quality higher education,” Principal Scott Barton said.

Eighteen seniors plan to attend UC San Diego, while the rest are headed to other schools. Class members were awarded more than $2 million in scholarships and grants, including two students picked as Gates Millennium Scholars, who will have all their educational expenses through undergraduate and graduate studies covered.

Preuss’ approach calls for a 7-hour school day instead of 6.5 hours; a school year of 198 days instead of 175; and smaller class sizes. The school’s single-track college preparatory curriculum means that everyone takes Advanced Placement courses.

Each student is assigned an advisory teacher who stays with them from sixth grade and through graduation, offering support and keeping them focused on preparing for college.

Nearly 100 teachers were consulted and studies on school reform were reviewed before the initial proposal for the charter school was drafted in the 1990s, recalled Cecil Lytle, a retired UC San Diego provost and former chair of Preuss’ board.

“Remarkably, everyone said the same things: learning occurs when there is more time on task, small class size, qualified and supported teachers and staff, care for healthy families and continual motivation,” recalled Lytle, responding to emailed questions from Paris, where he’s teaching a jazz course for UCSD’s Global Seminar program.

Brock Puente, a 17-year-old senior who is headed to UC Merced in the fall, said Preuss’ rigor and work ethic helped get him on the right path. Two of his older sisters also graduated from the school.

“That’s the first thing they told us when we were in sixth grade, that this was a school that prepared us for university and that was the ultimate goal,” he said.

Students are supported with tutors and mentors, many who are UCSD students, and can catch up if they fall behind at Saturday school sessions.

Early backers of the school are pleased with Preuss’ accomplishments.

“I never quite imagined it would be this successful. It looked like a risky enterprise back then,” said Susan Kirkpatrick, a retired UCSD professor and chair of the school’s board of directors.

via Every Preuss graduate accepted into 4-year college Page 1 of 2 | UTSanDiego.com.

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