Fresh Prep is an innovative student-centered curriculum that uses Hip-Hop music to help students review the key content and skills tested on the New York State Regents Exams. Harnessing the appeal and mnemonic power of music and youth culture, Fresh Prep’s standards-aligned instruction helps teens build the confidence, critical-thinking, and writing skills they need to succeed on the Regents.
Urban Arts Partnership piloted Fresh Prep in the summer of 2009. 29 students from New Design High School, who had failed their Global Regents exam as many as five times, tested a new approach to preparing for the exam. After twelve days of Fresh Prep, these 29 students took the exam again, with spectacular results: 79% of them passed, including 100% of students designated as special needs. One of the students, who consequently dropped out of school, participated in Fresh Prep and passed the exam, earning his high school diploma. The same day that he found out this news, he enrolled in college. Because of its success, Fresh Prep has been featured on NBC’s Cause Celeb, The CBS Early Morning Show, and in the NY Times.
Since the program’s inception in 2009, Fresh Prep has served more than a thousand students, helping them prepare for, and pass, their Regents exams through an innovative, arts-based, fresh approach to learning. This past summer, 83% of the students in our Fresh Prep re-takers class passed their Global History Regents, with a 16% average point increase. One student increased her score by 30 points.
Samuel Sellers (aka Rabbi Darkside) is a Buffalo-born Brooklyn-based Hip Hop Artist/Educator, rocking the world as MC, DJ and Beatboxer. With a discography spanning a decade and performance experience touching the U.S., Europe and South America, Rabbi D has built a global reputation and fanbase. In addition to his artistry, he has worked for 10 years in the New York City Public Schools, currently as a Teaching Artist for Urban Arts Partnership developing groundbreaking rap-based test prep curriculum and teaching performance poetry. On his global journey, he has appeared alongside Talib Kweli, Slick Rick, The Last Poets, Common, DJ Rob Swift, Kanye West, Weldon Irvine, The Roots, and Rahzel. He has co-taught Master Classes with Pharaohe Monch and DMC and been featured in publications ranging from URB Magazine to TV Guide to the Village Voice to the New York Times, while appearing on MTV, MTV2, BET, NBC and Showtime.
Tracee Worley is a Brooklyn-based artist and curriculum developer who has worked closely with public schools in California and New York in several capacities to support school improvement and reform initiatives. She has worked in New York City public schools for 8 years, using arts and popular culture to help students and teachers become more active and enthusiastic in the learning process. She holds a B.A. in African-American Studies from UC Berkeley and a M.S.W. from Columbia University.