The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation – a TSC supporter – released a report today detailing the best practices behind the 2012 Broad Prize for Public Charter School winner. The report details how YES Prep Public Schools in Houston, TX, has been able to serve high-poverty, high-minority student populations and achieve 100 percent college acceptance rate for their high school seniors since its inception in 1998.

College readiness is a key component of the YES Prep mission. And, as the Broad Foundation report highlights, one of the key factors in its success is an expanded school schedule. The YES Prep school day ranges from an 8 ½ hours to 9 hours. The expanded time allows the school to provide double periods of language arts and math without sacrificing a well rounded education. Saturday school and summer programs are also provided for targeted students who are struggling.

YES Prep.AndreaWhile the school year is still the traditional 180 days, YES Prep affords students the sort of life experiences often experienced students in more affluent communities. During the spring and summer school breaks, YES Prep organizes college tours for their students as well as opportunities to travel the globe, tackle wilderness adventures, and experience college campus life. These experiences create the desire and skills for life-long learning.

As a charter school network, YES Prep has greater autonomies over scheduling, staffing and budgets than many district schools. However, many traditional district schools have joined YES Prep as leaders in the expanded-time movement, breaking free from outdated farm and factory calendar to provide students with the time they need for success in today’s 21st century global economy. We hope to see more schools – charter and district – learn from the YES Prep and the other trailblazers!

How is your school working to eliminated achievement and opportunity gaps to get students to college and beyond?