Last week, we were honored to have Chris Bischof–co-founder and principal of Palo Alto’s Eastside College Preparatory School–visit us here at SurveyMonkey for our monthly Speaker Series event. Eastside College Prep’s mission?
In the school’s own words:
“…we are committed to opening new doors for students historically underrepresented in higher education. Our challenging and engaging curriculum enables students to discover their intellectual strengths, sharpen their academic skills, and embrace new opportunities in a culture of learning that supports the potential of every student to enter and succeed in a four-year college and beyond. Eastside students who are the first in their families to go to college create a ripple effect, changing their own lives, the lives of their families, and the life of their community.”
How did Eastside College Prep come to be? East Palo Alto’s only high school had closed in 1976 meaning students had to commute to high schools in neighboring towns and were assigned to non-college track classes. As a result, 65% of students dropped out and of the 35% who did graduate high school, less than 10% went on to college. While an undergraduate at Stanford, Chris started an after school program for elementary school kids in East Palo Alto called Shoot for the Stars that connected basketball with daily tutoring. He soon learned that students there needed additional educational resources and opportunities beyond what an after school program could offer.
So Chris and fellow Stanford alum, Helen Kim, decided to bring a high school back to East Palo Alto. In 1996, eight ninth grade students joined them for the first day of classes at Eastside College Prep. A picnic table served as their first classroom. Today, there are 320 students enrolled and last spring, Eastside conducted their 13th graduation ceremony. They’re proud to say that to date, 100% of their graduates have been admitted to a four-year college!
We sat down with Chris to talk about the students of Eastside College Prep and about how far the school has come since its start:
Don’t live near but still want to help? Eastside does not receive tuition income and relies on the generosity of individuals and organizations to help see their students achieve academic success. Learn more here.