Fresh Prep Uses Hip-Hop to Prep Students for Standardized Tests

Fresh Prep is a novel curricular approach that incorporates educational lyrics with one of today's most popular musical styles. The goal is to help students get ready to pass the history portions of New York's Regents exam. Continue reading to find out how hip-hop music is helping students prepare for these often daunting standardized tests.

Fresh Prep's Foundation

Fresh Prep was founded in 2009 by the Urban Arts Partnership, an organization that works with students in more than 60 area schools and is led in part by its artistic director, well-known actress and Brooklyn native Rosie Perez. Fresh Prep's unique learning plan was designed to help struggling New York high school students pass the Regents U.S. and global history exams (an English module is currently in the works). The groundbreaking program has been featured in The New York Times and on CBS and NBC.

What's the Program All About?

Currently, Fresh Prep is offered as an intensive summer series. Students have three weeks to grasp what Fresh Prep teachers Rabbi Darkside (Sam Sellers) and M.C. Tingbudong (Jamel Mims) are rapping about. Not only do participants learn specifics about different historical eras, political concepts and key terms, they also gain skills in essay writing. In addition, the program incorporates helpful test-taking strategies.

What Happens After Completing a Fresh Prep Series?

After completing the series, students who have previously failed the Regents can retake the test. In New York, students can't graduate from high school without successfully completing this 5-part exam. The outcomes of this Urban Arts Partnership initiative have been extremely favorable. According to a recent CBS news story, in 2010, 70% of students who initially failed their U.S. history exam passed after going through a Fresh Prep course.

Tools Available on the Fresh Prep Website

Currently, registration to the Fresh Prep website is easy to complete and available free of charge. Members are allowed access to musical lyrics and audio files. The site also features a number of interactive quizzes and fun learning tools, including political cartoons as well as matching and 'Who said it?' games.

Continue reading to find out what New York City is doing to create fresh education initiatives for students.

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