Image Source: Reimagine Prep Charter School
Last month, I had the opportunity to visit Reimagine Prep Charter School with Mississippi lawmakers serving on education committees. In August, Reimagine Prep opened in Jackson as Mississippi’s first charter school, and from the moment you walk in, you can sense that everyone is bustling with purpose. The school’s mission is straightforward: to prepare each student for college.
Located in a building that previously housed another school, Reimagine Prep is anything but traditional. To begin, school days are longer—from 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM. This allows students, or scholars as they are called at Reimagine Prep, to have over two hours of literacy and two hours of math instruction each day. With this exceptional focus, one scholar was able to improve by two and a half grade levels in literacy in just a month and a half.
The curriculum at Reimaging Prep is rigorous, challenging students to develop important skills and meet high expectations. For example, all students will graduate from Reimagine Prep with computer programming experience. Computer programming courses are a core subject taught each day; the courses enable students to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills while offering them a marketable skill upon graduation.
School founder Ravi Gupta is passionate about offering innovations in education. He said that traditional public schools often lack the freedom to design a program that meets the needs of kids. This is why he has founded several public charter schools in both Tennessee and Mississippi.
Charter schools in Mississippi are open to students in D or F school districts. Like traditional public schools, charters are tuition free. These special schools are accountable for meeting state academic standards, yet they are allowed to use innovation in education.
Gupta used this freedom to design schools with high standards and a rigorous curriculum, and he makes no apologies. In his view, the premise that school should be easy is shortsighted. Instead Gupta believes life is difficult and that students need to be challenged to be prepared for life beyond school.
One scholar I encountered agreed. He was one of the student ambassadors who showed us around the facility. When I asked about the difference between his former school—a traditional public school—and Reimagine Prep, he promptly answered that here he was challenged. He has sought more challenging standards and a higher bar in high school so he can one day succeed in college. This particular student has set his sights on Harvard University and eventually law school.
From my visit to Reimagine Prep, it was clear that charter schools already are having large impact on the lives of students in Mississippi. And I believe these schools are accomplishing what they were designed to do: give students the opportunity to obtain the best education possible.
Check out these related posts on the #EdFly:
- Mississippi Governor: We Should Not Stand in the School House Doorway and Resist School Choice
- Mississippi Mom: “I just couldn’t sit back and let Max fail.”
- Barbershops and eye exams: How Mississippi is helping kids read
- Apply Now for the Mississippi Education Scholarship Account Program!
- Mississippi Mother: “I was not going to let my sons become yet another tragic statistic”