Robin Hood Foundation Funds "Fresh Prep" Program
Robin Hood targets poverty in New York City by finding and funding the best and most effective programs and partnering with them to maximize results.
Urban Arts Partnership is proud to be the first arts education organization to be funded by Robin Hood.
Roughly 40% of NYC public school students don't graduate high school. 5 Regents exams are required for students to graduate and be able to attend college, and these exams continue to be an obstacle for students throughout New York. Title I public schools across the city struggle to provide youth with tools and resources to pass.
In the summer of 2009, 30 students who had previously failed the Global History Regents exam between one and five times took part in Urban Arts Partnership's pilot Fresh Prep: Global History program. 80% of the students passed the exam, including 100% of special needs students with Individualized Education Plans, a historically difficult to reach population. These students are now on track to graduate high school, proving that effective arts-based learning can provide a solution to challenges in urban education.
The Robin Hood foundation has awarded Urban Arts Partnership a grant for our year-round Fresh Prep program at New Design High School. Fresh Prep: Global Historyis an arts-based approach to raising student achievement on the Global History and Geography Regents exam, fusing hip-hop music with the New York State core curriculum. Drawing from current research and best practices in student engagement, vocabulary development and verbal memory, the curriculum features vocabulary-building, multiple-choice strategies, and essay-writing units designed for students to take ownership of their own learning while creating original, curriculum-based artwork.
"Graduating high school is an essential metric for Robin Hood. Passing the Global History Regents exam, a requirement for high school graduation, is an enormous obstacle. Robin Hood is proud to make a grant in support of Urban Arts Partnership's Fresh Prep program at New Design High School," says Rose McClendon, Robin Hood Program Officer.
"Fresh Prep fills a real need in urban public education," adds Philip Courtney, Executive Director of Urban Arts Partnership, "because it helps students come to grips with a difficult curriculum by providing a meaningful link between students' interests to the skills tested on the exam."
Dr. Scott Conti, Principal of New Design High School where the program is being rolled out comments that "New Design is a college preparatory school dedicated to providing innovative models that highly engage our students with their learning. I'm thrilled with the Fresh Prep program and its use of creative strategies to address real issues proactively."
Urban Arts Partnership is the first arts organization to be awarded funding by Robin Hood, a competitive foundation known for funding programs with proven methods for breaking the cycle of poverty. Urban Arts Partnership is implementing the Fresh Prep: Global Historyclassroom integration for 150 students at New Design High School this year and developing curricula for Fresh Prep in English, U.S. History, Living Environment and Mathematics.
You can make an online donation to Fresh Prep here.
Listen to a sample track from the Fresh Prep unit on "Ancient Civilizations" here.