Is it any wonder that Prime Prep Academy, the charter school hyped by Deion Sanders, is accepting triple the number of students that most charter schools accept in their first year? Everything about the place has been propped up with hopeful grandeur. Sanders, the school's co-founder and spokesperson (though he has no official roll as a board member or school leader), and his business partner, D.L. Wallace, have promised parental wish-fulfillment of the highest order. Your child will have the best of the best here, they've said repeatedly.
This week's Observer feature story reveals the shadowy underbelly of the educational bastion of inner city hope, where a history of shady dealings casts questions about whether all that's been promised will indeed come to pass. But so far, the school is forging ahead, as a news release dispatched yesterday reveals that Prime Prep accepted over 1,100 students and continues enrollment.
Charter schools are funded by the state on a per-student basis, based on average daily attendance. School leaders determine the maximum attendance, planning and controlling a school's growth. When and if the determined maximum is reached, they turn to a lottery system for student selection. Prime Prep leaders have said that the two campuses can each accommodate up to 750 students.
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Prime Prep's founders credit their technological offerings for the sky-high enrollment. "The high enrollment numbers we are experiencing show how eager parents are to place their children in this hi-tech and fast-paced digital learning environment, and we are honored to serve them," Wallace, the school's chairman, says in the release.
"These parents are realizing that they have options, and they are choosing Prime Prep for their children. We're going to exceed their expectations by providing their children with the best educational experience possible," Sanders adds.
The school's founders have promised first-rate technology, laptops for each and every student, top-notch gifted and talented programs, special education classes, athletics, extracurriculars, healthy lunches, free after-school tutoring and everything else a parent could possibly dream.
The press release touting the high enrollment was distributed by VSCHOOLZ, the Florida-based company that is outfitting Prime Prep with student computers, classroom technology, and curriculum resources. Prime Prep leaders have been using the technology as a major talking and selling point of the school. While 1,100 students is more than most charter schools admit in their inaugural year, Prime Prep is still accepting applications.