The New York Twenty: Real Charter Champions profiles the everyday people who are the champions to their children: parents and grandparents who make the critical choice to send their kids to charter schools. Over the next several weeks we will be sharing the real stories of charter parents around New York State. Today meet Bronx charter dad Chaney Yelverton.
“This has been a great experience. Girls Prep has a big focus on family and really developing the whole student. Everything they do at this school opens the girls’ eyes for the future.”
Bronx dad Chaney Yelverton wanted his daughters to attend the same type of structured, organized school that he had. When looking for a school for his eldest daughter, Chaney (father and daughter share a name), he knew that he would not find what he was looking for in the traditional district schools in his community.
“I went to an all-boys Catholic school,” Yelverton explains. “I felt it was a better learning environment because there were fewer distractions. I wanted something that would be more structured than a district school for my daughter.”
First came Catholic school for Chaney, but Yelverton didn’t stop looking at public school options. Yelverton found out about Girls Prep Charter School in the Bronx at a community board meeting. As he spoke with his councilmember about the school and learned more, he knew it was the type of environment he wanted his daughter to be a part of. The all-girls model would limit distractions, and the school’s program stood out.
“I like core values they instill in the students. They expose the kids to so much and give them so much room to grow. When Chaney was in third grade they went on a college tour to show them what was in their future. That’s really great.”
Chaney is now thriving in fifth grade, and Yelverton was so impressed with the school that he enrolled his daughter Chelsea, now a first grader, there as well. The different cultural and social experiences offered to the students have been what Yelverton likes most. The school took a field trip to a courthouse to hold a mock trial, and they have gone on museum trips as well.
These are all things that broaden the girls’ minds, and all things Yelverton knew he wouldn’t find in the district schools.
With so much talk over Common Core and worries over state testing, Yelverton also says that testing has not been a concern at Girls Prep. Parents were kept in the loop on the test preparations and constantly updated on their children’s progress. Staff was always available and parents were able to ask any questions they had about the exams and common core.
Having those open lines of communication with the school has helped to create a sense of family and community among the teachers, students and parents.
“You know the teachers are looking out for the kids. Just look at the grades,” Yelverton said. Girls Prep out-performed the district by double digits on both the ELA and Math exams last year.
Yelverton is looking forward to Chaney’s middle school years at Girls Prep, and he hopes they expand to serve high school so both of his daughters can stay with the program all the way through. Girls Prep has been the perfect fit for his children, and having that charter option has allowed his daughters to grow in ways he wouldn’t have seen in another school.