CONCERN FOR NEIGHBORHOOD YOUTH PROMPTED PRINCIPAL TO START SCHOOL
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — "My children are the fourth generation of my family to be born in southwestern Providence," says Daniel Corley, who founded the Community Preparatory School in this poor section of the city eight years ago.
The rest of Mr. Corley's family moved out of the area long ago. But Corley has no plans to move north or east into wealthier parts of the city. "It would be giving up," he says simply.
He did recently move within the neighborhood, however: Corley, his wife, and two children now live next door to the local soup kitchen rather than a bar.
Community Prep grew out of Corley's concern for the young students in the neighborhood. He wasn't willing to give up on them. "Kids would come hang out in my yard, and I would help them with academics," he says.
He and the neighbors began discussing the lack of effective middle-school education in the city. "People would actually move out of Providence when their child became middle-school age," Corley says.
He and his wife were just beginning to start a family of their own, and Corley decided it was time to establish a school in the neighborhood. But Corley's daughter Ruth didn't start attending Community Prep until this year - as a sixth-grader.
"We have a rule here that students have to really want to go to school here," Corley says. Up until this year, Ruth chose to remain at the local public school with her friends.