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Lower East Side Preparatory High School
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Many graduates earn an Advanced Regents Diploma and go to college
Some classes are big
Lower East Side Prep (LESP) is considered one of the top transfer schools in the city, designed for children who have dropped out of high school or fallen behind, and for new immigrants learning English. It is known for strong transitional bilingual programs in Spanish and Chinese and is successful in sending graduates to college. The school is well-run, orderly and traditional in tone. Unlike many other transfer schools, LESP has a robust list of after-school activities and exciting school-wide events.
There is an impressive array of technology, including a library media center with iPads, and wireless computer labs. It offers MOUSE Squad Certification, robotics, marine biology, Maker Bot 3D printing and Photoshop lessons, and other programs based on student interest.
The school, which shares the building with Marta Valle High School and The School for Global Leaders is very safe, based on students’ and teachers’ responses to the NYC School Survey. Most students are are recent immigrants and English Language Learners (ELLs) about half of the them are from Chinese-speaking countries; one-fourth are from Spanish-speaking countries, according to the school’s annual Comprehensive Education Plan (CEP).
Each student is assigned a guidance counselor who monitors academic progress and helps children plan their classes and keep track of credit accumulation. Students may earn credits quickly by attending night and after-school classes, Saturday school or doing an independent study. Class size ranges greatly from about 15 to 34 students.
Students may take a number of Advanced Placement courses including calculus, chemistry, studio art, English, Chinese, and Spanish. Roughly half of the students earn the more demanding Advanced Regents diploma and, according to the school’s website, more than 80 percent of graduates go to college.
LESP has lots of support for students. There are multiple staffers available for available for individual counseling including guidance and college counselors, a social worker and a substance abuse prevention and intervention specialist. The guidance staff speaks Chinese and English, allowing them to better support the student body.
The school has many extracurricular activities including chess club, web design, dance, SAT prep, honor society, and a handful of PSAL sports. According to the CEP, the school also hosts a number of school-wide events like Thanksgiving dinner, talent shows, and an annual student community building trip to Camp Mason.
SPECIAL EDUCATION: The school uses both special education teacher support services (SETSS) and integrated co-teaching (ICT).
ADMISSIONS: Open to students 16 to 21 years old. Students transferring must have a minimum of 10 credits and have passed two Regents exams. Students coming from outside of New York State must have attended the 9th grade in their previous school. Those who do not meet these qualifications may still be considered through the school’s interview process. (Katharine Safter, web reports, July 2018).