April 26, 2016

strive-prep-smart-graduationMany of you heard Jose Garcia-Fuerte, senior at STRIVE Prep – SMART Academy, speak at our community breakfast in April about overcoming challenges and the experience of preparing for college as an undocumented student. At our Senior Signing Day on April 28th, Jose was awarded the STRIVE Prep Dare to Dream scholarship, a staff-funded scholarship for students who cannot access Federal financial aid due to their undocumented student status. Jose will be attending Drake University this fall, after completing an internship in Senator Michael Bennet’s office this summer.

Ten years ago, when STRIVE Prep was founded, there were very few charter schools in Southwest Denver. There was no DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status for undocumented students. There was no ASSET bill, providing in-state tuition for undocumented students. There was no unified enrollment system to assist families in choosing a school where their children could achieve their dreams. There was not a list of high-performing middle and high school options from which families could choose. And, there was no high school in Southwest Denver where 92 percent of graduating seniors were accepted to a four-year college.

All that has changed. So, consider these changes as we do – as a testament to what a community can achieve in a decade.

In STRIVE Prep’s 10th year, our first class of seniors graduate. When STRIVE Prep turns 20, a decade from now, our very first class of elementary school students, now in second grade, will graduate. They were at signing day, too, cheering with all their might and imagining themselves on that same stage. What will we achieve on their behalf in the next decade.

We’re focused on year 11.

In year 11, we’re going to deepen our commitment to serving all students by prioritizing academic interventions and the academic success of our English Learners. We’re going to scale the family engagement pilots we’ve started, focusing on our partnerships with families – not just for advocacy and service, but especially for the academic success of their children. And, we’re taking a deep dive on inclusion, assessing our culture and our practices and doing the critical work as a community to make it more inclusive for all.

We’re thrilled to get after each of these priorities, and we’ll certainly need your help to get stronger together. Thank you for your support of our scholars, our vision, and our community. Have a wonderful summer.

Bring on year 11.