There are tons of great charter schools in New York and Connecticut going above and beyond for their students. This means staving off the summer slide, either with an extended year or a robust program to keep their students engaged in these summer months. See how students at MESA Charter High School in Brooklyn got a unique opportunity to do some college prep this summer.
We have shared many stories about charters doing great summer work to keep kids engaged and learning before the new school year. But one New York City charter high school is taking steps to prepare seniors for life after high school. At the Math, Engineering, and Science Academy (MESA) Charter High School in Brooklyn, intensive college prep was this summer’s focus.
Some of the students from MESA’s upcoming senior class – the school’s first – spent a week in a program called CollegeFlier, a college prep boot camp where students get their applications ready for the fall. CollegeFlier is a 30-hour course that shows students the ins and outs of the college process. This is a time for them to finalize college lists, learn about financial aid, get teacher recommendations, write essays and get the whole package ready so they can hit “send” this fall.
Anyone who’s been through this process knows how daunting it can be – so it’s been a mission of MESA’s to get kids prepped early.
“The fall of your senior year goes very quickly,” said MESA Executive Director Arthur Samuels. “Kids are going to start school in August. There is so much that comes at them really quickly, and this process can become overwhelming. Before you know it, it is time to apply. A program like this helps them really get a leg up on their future.”
It was the program’s first year, and program founder Jeff Hirsch said it was very successful.
“By all accounts, the students felt much more prepared and confident with their applications when they were done,” Hirsh said. “For me, the thing that really stood out is hearing them ask questions later in the week that they would have never thought to ask when we started.
“I hope that the knowledge that these can be passed onto their fellow classmates and will blend into the fabric and culture of the school itself.”
Showing the students that college is in their future is crucial at MESA. The school emphasizes showing students the connections between college and careers and provides constant opportunities for prep. In the spring these same students had the opportunity for SAT prep, and an 8-week college essay coaching session. Having the CollegeFlier program available to students has helped set them up for success.
MESA student Leiani Peralta said, "It was a great program to be a part of. I feel as though if I had not been in the program, the college admission process would've been much more difficult for me. I feel well prepared now as far as applying to colleges and making sure I have all I need going into it."
Samuels added, “This really speaks to how committed our students are. It’s 1000 degrees outside, all of their friends are hanging out at the beach or at the movies, and they are here in the classroom 6 hours a day working on their college application.”
Hard work put in now that we’re sure will pay off later. Best of luck to MESA’s seniors and kudos to the educators putting in this extra time on their behalf!