School Culture

CUNY Prep extends beyond the classroom walls. We offer special events and activities that not only enhance academic learning but also generate a strong sense of community.

“A lot of our students come from learning environments where they felt forgotten and fell through the cracks,” says Director and Principal Jenny Ristenbatt. “From the moment they arrive here, we want them to feel like they are really part of something—and the events we put on are crucial in creating a close-knit learning community.”

Students can participate in special-interest clubs, such as the fashion club where they create and sew their own designs and model them at school-wide fashion shows. Others get a chance to showcase their singing or poetry at CUNY Prep Live, a biannual talent show.

“It’s incredible how amazingly talented our kids are,” says Math Teacher Frantz Barbier, who helps coordinate the show. “Even those who may be a little shy or nervous over their fear, get up on stage and shine. It’s a wonderful feeling to see them in this setting.”

Many of the events emphasize the importance of getting involved in the community, one of the core values we try to instill in our students. For example, CUNY Prep puts on a yearly Halloween carnival, where the school opens its doors to neighborhood children. The students plan and implement the event.

The academic year wraps up in June with CUNY Prep Week, five days of school-wide activities in the core subject areas of humanities, math and science. The week concludes with a field day at a park, where students and compete in athletic events.

In the spring, students in good standing are invited to prom, which is held at a banquet hall.

Student Testimonials

All of the teacher go out of the way to help you here, so it you don’t do your part it’s on you.   Quitting is not an option.  They will be on you until you fix yourself and that is a good thing.

‒- Emilio Lora

The teachers actually cared.  It created a family type of environment, which I wasn’t used to.  The teachers being so available really motivates students to do what they need to do. CUNY Prep really teaches you how to be independent and become your own person”

‒Ronalda Livingston

Before I came here I didn’t see the point of college.  I hated school, so why would I want to go to school that I had to pay for and be miserable?  But this school is not like high school, you are doing college work from the get go and it really prepares you.  Now I’m in college and I love it.

‒Rondell Charles

One thing I learned at CUNY Prep was self-discipline.  If there’s something you want you have to discipline yourself to work toward it instead of just waiting for something to come at you.

‒David Lightfoot

;hen I first came here, I didn’t want to go to college because I hated writing.  But when the teachers at CUNY Prep worked with me on it in several different classes, I was like ‘This is what I’ve been so scared of?’  Now I’m in college and I love it and last semester I had a 3.9 GPA.

‒Daniel Atkinson

I think one of the main things that helped me at CUNY Prep was preparing me to test out of the remedials.  So many of my friends from high school have to take all three of them, but I tested out of Reading, Writing and Math – so I got to start college in Calculus.

‒Jeremy Santos