A special Villager supplement.
Back to School
Health to hand-held P.D.A.s Prep students getting support
By Margarita Lopez
Lower East Side Prep students will return to high school on Sept. 4 with an array of educational options that go beyond the classroom including technology and mentoring initiatives and a new program that will educate students about health issues and proper nutrition.
At Lower East Side Prep, a public high school at 145 Stanton St., students can look forward to a new Health Corp program starting this year. Cardiac surgeon Mehmet Oz designed the program, in which recent graduates will help promote how students can live well and stay healthy. The Health Corp program is supposed to infuse health and education, Assistant Principal Rene Anaya said. Health Corp will offer courses on both physical fitness and personal health.
L.E.S. Prep will also continue to offer a number of other support programs to its 540 students. Approximately 300 students at the school will be able to take advantage of Preps P.D.A. program. The four-year-old initiative, funded by a Beaumont Foundation grant, gives students the ability to access the Internet if they do not have access in their homes. In lieu of a networked home computer, the students receive personal digital assistants to use throughout the semester.
We do whatever we can to help the students, Anaya said.
Mentors and college advisors are also a key component of the L.E.S. Prep curriculum through a program called iMentor. For the last year, iMentor has given students a chance to work with professionals who mentor students, said Anaya. Anaya said the adult volunteers lend students an extra set of ears to listen to their struggles, as well as an extra voice to offer encouragement and advice.
The school also offers opportunities for minority students who have faced challenges in other educational environments. Anaya said that although the school is best known for its Chinese bilingual curriculum, black and Latino students who have failed out of other schools have been pretty successful in our school.
The majority of students at L.E.S. Prep, however, are of Asian descent. For new immigrants, the school offers an extensive English as a Second Language program. In addition, the school offers an after-school program in which students can take classes for credit to catch up or accelerate their academic records. Anaya added that Lower East Side Prep High School is ready for the new school year and that the programs it offers continue to appeal to the students needs.