Friday, January 9, 2009

A new building for YES Prep Public Schools

On my last day in Houston, Victor and I went to visit the school where I taught for two years: YES Prep North Central. When we pulled up, I was absolutely stunned to see the progress they have made on the compound. I teared up to see that it looks like a real school. When I started teaching, the school was in its 3rd year of operation, and we only had a warehouse for a building. My second year teaching we moved to the current location - we bought the building from a church - having a real building was the ultimate luxury, and slowly over the first year, we made it into a school...

While I was in Malawi this year, I was heart-broken to hear that large portions of the building had been destroyed by Hurricane Ike.

HOWEVER - it turned out that the hurricane was a blessing in disguise, because it forced renovations on the school that otherwise may not have been made for years... and the final result is amazing - it is a school as nice as any I've ever seen.

I don't believe, and those at YES don't believe, that buildings mean much when it comes to education. In fact, they don't mean anything really. We were ranked an exemplary school while we were still in the warehouse. Its the dedication of the teachers, the administration and the parents that make this school successful - but the building makes things easier, and it is a testament to the success of the school, since the money to build the building has all had to be fundraised (as a charter school, the capital costs are not paid for by the state.)

It was wonderful to see that the teachers who put in such insane hours to make a difference will now have an amazing building to work in every day, and that the students who attend YES will spend their days in a school building that they can be proud of, especially considering it was they who helped build it.

If you want to know more about YES and its vision for providing an excellent education to all children, regardless of academic background, email me or check out their website:

Working at YES was one of the best and most defining experiences of my life.

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