Continuing the trend they initiated four years earlier, native Harlemite and music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs, along with noted educator Steve Perry, opened the third campus to their Capital Preparatory Charter school on Tuesday, Sept. 8 in the Bronx’s Co-Op City. After amassing fame and fortune throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Combs has been attempting to provide future generations of inner-city youths the opportunities to acquire gainful educations so that they will become productive members of society as they mature into adulthood.
“My dream has always been to provide children in communities like the Bronx the high-quality education they deserve,” Diddy said. “We’re not just teaching reading, math and coding. We are grooming future leaders that will change their communities and the world.”
Combs and Perry began drafting plans for their charter school program in 2011 culminating with Capital Preparatory Harlem School (1 E. 104th St.) in 2016, and another campus in Bridgeport, Conn. last year. Combs pledged $1 million for the Bronx campus in 2018, explaining then, “I came from the same environment these kids live in every day.”
He added, “I understand the importance of access to a great education, and the critical role it plays in a child’s future. Our school provides historically disadvantaged students with the college and career skills needed to become responsible and engaged citizens for social justice.”
Capital Prep Bronx was established at the College of New Rochelle’s former campus at 755 Co-op City Blvd. Classes began with approximately 200 sixth and seventh graders through remote classes, and they anticipate eventually growing to include 650 students from sixth to 11th grade by 2025.
“We couldn’t be more excited to open our next school together in Co-Op city, a community rooted in social justice and diversity,” Perry said. “While opening up remote at first is bittersweet, we have developed a best in class approach to online learning we are excited to implement with our new families. The Capital Prep college prep model is perfectly poised to transition into the digital space and we are excited to deliver a rigorous education to this inaugural class of scholars.”
The Capital Prep website reads: “The mission of Capital Preparatory Schools is to provide historically disadvantaged students with the college and career readiness skills needed to become responsible and engaged citizens for social justice.”
The founding principal of Capital Prep Bronx and a native Bronxite, Isaiah Brown, said, “We will run our distance learning as a replica of our in-school experience. Scholars will have live instruction from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. across core subjects plus advisory, four days a week. On Fridays, they will participate in a virtual all-school assembly and access office hours for additional support.”
He added that after school programs for students will be provided by local community affiliates and stressed “the principle of social justice,” calling it “the bedrock” of the school’s model.