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Addressing the needs of different learners: welcome to RV PREP
RV PREP plays an integral role in meeting the needs of non-traditional learners
March 6, 2023
As part of the RV’s Strategic Action plan, the Rancocas Valley Personalized Readiness and Education Program, also known as RV PREP was launched.
According to the RV website, the purpose of the RV PREP program is to increase support for students by giving them greater opportunities for the skills needed for post-high school success.
“One of the things that we definitely do is we personalize everything,” RV PREP principal Vanessa Meekins-Montgomery said. “We go through and we make a plan of what do we need to get done this year and what do you need to get done to graduate, and then we go backwards.’’
The learning environment is not the only personalized aspect of RV PREP. The application process to get accepted into the program takes many factors into consideration.
“It usually starts with a guidance counselor [who]would initiate the process. We [also] get three references from different people in the building, whomever interacts with the student,” Meekins-Montgomery said. “The student has to answer four or five questions [and the] guidance counselor goes through a list of questions of everything they’ve done [at RV’s main campus] to help the student be successful. Once we get that, we take all the application and there’s a committee that reviews them.’’
In the last few years since RV PREP was first opened, there have been many changes to the demographics of the RV PREP population, which also has great impact on the image of RV PREP.
“It ebbs and flows…at one point we had so many girls,” said Meekin- Montgomery. “This year, we have the largest Hispanic population that we’ve ever had. People have an idea of what alternative school students look like or should look like and one year we were the absolute antithesis of that.”
RV PREP is home to a range of different students so,“You couldn’t say it’s just this type of student or just a different kind of student,’’ Meekins-Montgomery said. “We have students that have school phobia, we have students who are credit sufficient and we have everything in between.”
RV PREP continues to play a major role in the RV community by providing students with an alternative education and by meeting their academic needs. This keeps more students in district, as opposed to attending specialty programs or being home-schooled. Administrators argue that the socialization that RV PREP students continue to get within a different academic environment that is more “personalized” allows them to thrive where they would otherwise struggle. The tight-knit bonds many students leave PREP with are more sustainable and beneficial.
“Kids come to [RV PREP] for all different kinds of reasons, so we create environments for [students]…where they can be successful. We have students that have school phobia, we have students that are credit deficient and everything in between.”