35 Starr St.
Brooklyn, NY 11221
Opened: August 2013
Grades: Nine to 12
Number of Students in 2016-17: 340
Achievement First University Prep High is based on an innovative premise: closing the achievement gap by providing a prep-school quality education to urban students. AF University Prep High combines rigorous academics and high expectations with a host of supports, including SAT prep, intensive college counseling, tutoring, explicit character education and a school culture in which it is “cool” to be smart. Key facets of the AF University Prep High program include:
- Rigorous course of studies for all students: At Achievement First University Prep High, every student is on a college-preparatory track. With college readiness as the paramount goal, we have built our curricula on the concepts, knowledge and skills used and/or developed by Advanced Placement exams, the SAT, the American Diploma Project, the book College Knowledge and actual college courses. All students complete a rigorous course of studies focused on core academics, and acceptance to a four-year college or university is a graduation requirement.
- Personal attention for each student: As a small school, we can better meet the needs of each individual student. Small class sizes, small caseloads for college counselors and small advisories enable us to make sure that no student “falls through the cracks.”
- Open communication: Every student meets with his or her advisory each morning. Advisories allow our dedicated faculty to check in with students on a more personal level and to reach out to parents if necessary. Additionally, we enable students and parents to check grades online, and we provide every student with an Achievement First email address so that he or she can easily communicate with teachers.
- Focused learning environment: One of the biggest obstacles to learning at many urban high schools is a lack of discipline. At Achievement First University Prep High, our team works hard to create and maintain a sacred learning environment where all students are focused and engaged and where it is “cool” to be smart.
- Intensive college counseling: The college application process can be challenging, cumbersome and confusing. We keep our counselor to student ratio low so that all students and families get the individual attention and support they need to successfully navigate the college application process.
- Commitment to robust student life programs: While providing a strong academic foundation will always be our first priority, we also realize that our students need opportunities to have varied experiences, including internships, community service and summer programs. In addition, it is important that our students have a fun and memorable high school experience made possible through awards ceremonies, senior privileges, dances and other popular high school rituals.
Claire Shin is the founding principal of Achievement First University Prep High. No stranger to being a founding member of an Achievement First school, Ms. Shin was also a founding teacher of Achievement First Bushwick Elementary in Brooklyn, N.Y., the founding principal of AF Hartford Academy Elementary and the founding principal of AF Hartford High. Before joining Achievement First, Ms. Shin was the deputy chief program officer of Teach For America’s New York City regional team. She also taught in New York City’s Washington Heights neighborhood and was a management consultant with the Monitor Group. Ms. Shin holds a B.A. in economics and history from Williams College and a master's in teaching from Pace University.
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