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Kweller Prep Advanced Tutoring: High School, College, Life & More

Congratulations! Welcome to S-PREP!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Congratulations! It is my pleasure to inform you that you have been accepted for admission into the State Pre-College Enrichment Program (S-PREP) at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University for the 2019 Summer Session. Enrichment programs such as S-PREP are invaluable in preparing you for college and I am certain that you will find participation in S-PREP to be a challenging and rewarding experience.

Please note that orientation will be on Friday, June 28, 2019 (10am – 2pm) at the Vagelos Education Center located at 104 Haven Ave, New York, NY 10032. A campus map can be accessed at:

Please see the following steps below to complete your registration for the program. Please make sure to read through this message completely.

  1. The 2019 summer program will run from June 28th to July 26th (10 am – 3pm) with the exception of holidays.
  2. In order to secure your seat in the 2019 State Pre-College Enrichment Program Summer Session fill out the Registration Form via the qualtrics link below by Friday, June 21st by 12 pm.
  1. If your registration is not completed by Friday, June 21st by 12 pm, your seat will be opened to a waitlisted candidate. Please fully consider your ability to commit to the program before submitting your confirmation.
  2. Unexcused absences are not allowed, please give ample notification if a student will be absent. More than two absences from the program will result in immediate dismissal from the program.
  3. As we prepare for the program ALL correspondences will be by email. Please ensure that we have your updated email on file and that you check your email account regularly. It is suggested that you add the following email address to your contacts to ensure that our correspondences do not go to your spam or junk mail.
  1. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Again, Congratulations and we look forward to seeing you at Orientation on June 28th!

S-PREP Administrators

State Pre-College Enrichment Program

Columbia University

Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons

Office of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs

104 Haven Ave, VEC 10-03

New York, NY 10032

(Office) 212.305.4157 (Fax) 212.305.1049

Prep for Prep

Monday, June 10, 2019



It is our distinct honor and pleasure to offer you a place in Prep for Prep’s Contingent XLII! This is a remarkable accomplishment. Of the more than 3,000 students who tested, you should feel especially proud to be among the 125 students selected to be a part of our program. We take pride in the values of Prep—Excellence, Integrity, Commitment, and Courage—and we wholeheartedly believe that you are someone who will embody these values, make significant contributions, and benefit richly from the Prep for Prep experience.

As we are in the final stages of planning the Summer Session, it is imperative that we know very soon whether you will accept your place in the program. Please ask your parent(s) to email Ms. Johanna Rodriguez, Director of Admissions (, no later than Monday, May 27th to let us know whether you will be accepting your place with Prep for Prep.

Below you will find additional information regarding important dates to add to your calendar. Please be aware that your enrollment contract has been mailed to your home address and you should receive it in the coming days.

We sincerely hope you will accept your place in Prep for Prep and that your experience in the program will be a rewarding and productive part of your education and development. We look forward to working with you.


Aileen C. Hefferren & Johanna Rodriguez
Chief Executive Director of Admissions

Important Dates:

Prep for Prep Bus Meeting and Math Placement Test: 4:30-6:30 pm

There is a mandatory bus meeting and math placement test that will take place at The Trinity School located at P.S. 163 located at 163 W 97st Street (@Amsterdam Ave). Please keep in mind that the bus meeting and test session run concurrently and both parents and students must be present.
Prep for Prep Orientation: Thursday, June 20th 4:00 -7:00 pm

We are thrilled to invite you to the Prep for Prep Orientation for all students and parents, which will be held on Thursday, June 20st at 4:00 pm at The Trinity School located at 101 W 91st Street (@Columbus Ave). Doors will open at 4:00 pm and the event will end at approximately 7:00 pm. Orientation is for both students and parents, and it is very important that all new students and parents attend. At Orientation, much information will be distributed, including class schedules, bus routes, and the Summer Session Handbook. Moreover, you will have an opportunity to meet your advisors and fellow students.
Welcome Aboard Picnic: Saturday, June 22nd

Students are welcome to join us for the Welcome Aboard Picnic on June 22nd. Activities for the picnic will be organized by Advisory Units, giving you an opportunity to spend time with the Prep for Prep high school and college students who will be your advisors during the summer. The Welcome Aboard Picnic will also be an opportunity for new students to begin to get to know one another. Each student should bring a food item to share with other students in your group (about 12 students in each group) at lunch. The picnic is for students only and is an all-day event. We will talk more about the Picnic at orientation.
Summer Session 2019: June 26th – August 16

Please be advised that summer session classes begin on Wednesday, June 26 at 8:30 am and will end at 4:30 pm. Students will receive their class schedule at the orientation.

*Please note that Thursday, July 4 is a holiday; no classes will be held.

Teen gets into Stuyvesant after being told ‘it’s practically impossible’

Monday, March 25, 2019

Sebastian Acevedo has achieved his impossible dream.


When his mom told a guidance counselor at Sebastian’s Catholic grade school in Queens that he was thinking about applying to the city’s specialized high schools, the counselor chuckled, saying, “It’s practically impossible.”

“She said it’s not gonna happen,” he told The Post. “I was basically dismissed.”

But the remark only fired up Sebastian, 13, to prove her wrong.

While finishing 7th grade at Saint Matthias School, Sebastian’s parents — his mom, Kathy, a Ecuadorian immigrant and clerical worker, his dad Eugene a supermarket manager — signed him up at Kweller Prep. The company gives classes for kids planning to take the SHSAT exam, the sole entry criteria for the specialized schools.

Sebastian “did terribly” on a Kweller placement test, he said. “I remember crying after seeing the results. But it made me try harder.”

He took the SHSAT classes after school, on Saturdays, and over the summer, sacrificing time for his amateur boxing. His parents also made sacrifices to scrape up the $5,000 cost.

It paid off. Sebastian scored 568 on the tough exam. Last week, the city Department of Education offered him a seat in September at Stuyvesant — which had the highest cutoff score of all eight specialized schools, 557.

He was one of 33 Hispanics among 895 kids admitted.

“I worked so hard for it. To have it finally happen was just amazing,” he said. “It was a dream come true.”

Sebastian also got offers from Bard HS Early College in Queens, a highly-selective public school, and four private schools on scholarships. He has chosen Stuyvesant.

His new goal — sparked by worrying about his grandma’s heart condition — is to become a cardiothoracic surgeon.

As for college, he said. “I’m interested in an Ivy League.”

NYC’s Top 10 Elementary Schools By Test Scores

Friday, December 22, 2017

New York State released their 2017 standardized public school test scores in August, and New York City led the pack.

We take a look at the top ten achievers, and explore whether we can find an instructional magic bullet among them:

Rank: 1

School Name: Special Music School

Average Standard Score: 99.7

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 16.2

Student/Teacher Ratio: 13.4

Admissions: Over 650 children from across the city audition for 15 Kindergarten spots. They are assessed only for musical potential, not academic.

What Makes It Special: A public/private partnership where students receive musical instruction.

Bonus: How Unzoned Schools Are Held To Different Standards

Rank: 2

School Name: NEST+M

Average Standard Score: 99.6

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 28.1

Student/Teacher Ratio: 18.8

Admissions: Applicants must score above the 97th percentile on the public school G&T test, but demand far exceeds supply, so students are chosen by lottery, with two-thirds of qualified Kindergarteners shut out.

What Makes It Special: The only public K-12 Gifted & Talented school. (Hunter College is also a gifted K-12, but is not a public school.)

Bonus: A mom who managed to get her child in for 1st grade!

Rank: 3

School Name: TAG Young Scholars

Average Standard Score: 99.5

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 50.2

Student/Teacher Ratio: 24.4

Admissions: Same as NEST+M, though it’s Upper Manhattan location makes it less popular and slightly easier to get into.

What Makes It Special: The most racially and socio-economically diverse of the citywide G&T schools.

Bonus: How to raise your odds of getting into G&T

Rank: 4

School Name: The Anderson School

Average Standard Score: 99.5

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 9.8

Student/Teacher Ratio: 19.7

Admissions: Same as NEST+M and TAG

What Makes It Special: The most popular of the Citywide G&Ts, Anderson rarely has room for students who score below the 99th percentile, unless they’re siblings.

Bonus: Should you send your child to G&T before they turn 5 years old?

Rank: 5

School Name: The 30th Avenue School

Average Standard Score: 99.5

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 25.6

Student/Teacher Ratio: 14.6

Admissions: Same as NEST+M, TAG and Anderson

What Makes It Special: The only Citywide Accelerated G&T in Queens

Bonus: The difference between public and private gifted schools

Rank: 6

School Name: Lower Lab

Average Standard Score: 99.5

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 4.9

Student/Teacher Ratio: 18.2

Admissions: Open to children in District 2 who score above the 90th percentile, its popularity means that only those who score in the 99th percentile (excepting siblings) have a chance of getting in via lottery.

What Makes It Special: One of the few District G&Ts that’s its own school.

Bonus: The difference between a District G&T and a General Ed program

Rank: 7

School Name: Beacon School of Excellence

Average Standard Score: 99.4

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 87.4

Student/Teacher Ratio: 12.9

Admissions: A local school that, on occasion, has room for out of zone families.

What Makes It Special: The top school in Brooklyn, it doesn’t screen students.

Bonus: How to apply to a school that’s outside your zone via Kindergarten Connect

Rank: 8

School Name: Success Academy Charter School – Bedford-Stuyvesant

Average Standard Score: 99.4

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 80.8

Student/Teacher Ratio: 16

Rank: 9

School Name: Success Academy Charter School – Crown Heights

Average Standard Score: 99.3

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 83.1

Student/Teacher Ratio: 16.8

Rank: 10

School Name: Success Academy Charter School – Cobble Hill

Average Standard Score: 99.2

% of Students Classified Free/Reduced Lunch: 46.3

Student/Teacher Ratio: 15.1

Admissions: Lottery, with priority to respective district residents

What Makes Them Special: Despite the fact that Success Academies don’t screen their students, the above three, as well as seven more, outscored the selective, citywide, accelerated Brooklyn School of Inquiry, which ranked #23.

Bonus: The Success Academy network made their literacy curriculum publically available for all.


So what can we learn from these top performers?

At first glance, it would seem that being a school that evaluates children for admission is key. But how, then, to explain the Success Academies and Beacon School of Excellence, which take all comers but manage to achieve the same results, and even outscore dozens of schools with G&T programs?

Especially when those schools also report the largest number of Free and Reduced Lunch kids? Having an affluent student body obviously helps when it comes to test scores (and outside test prep). But it clearly doesn’t tell the whole story.

Is the secret smaller class-size, then, like some activists suggest?

Not when the largest classes can be found at the #3 ranked school. The lowest Student/Teacher ratio on the list does belong to the highest-ranked non-G&T school, though, so that may partially account for their success.

(However, the highest ranked non-NYC school on the list is #11, the Robert Seaman School in Jericho, NY. Its Student/Teacher ratio is 9.5 but that didn’t help it break into the Top 10.)

Unfortunately, it would seem that there is no single magic bullet to be found on this list.

Excelsior and NYS Aid Spring 2017

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Excelsior Scholarship & Paying for College in New York State

Spring 2017

Sources of Financial Aid

  • Federal government
  • New York State
  • Colleges – Institutional aid
  • Other sources
    • Businesses
    • Foundations
    • Clubs/Organizations