A New Home for Democracy Prep in the Bronx

By Natasha Trivers

CEO, Democracy Prep Public Schools

On Westchester Avenue in the Bronx, there’s a building filled with possibilities. There are classrooms with high ceilings and lots of sunlight, waiting for colorful signs and murals to be painted on the walls. Through the big soundproof windows, you can see the classic New York City view I fell in love with growing up: buildings rising to the sky, a bustling subway platform, and pathways humming with people.

This is the building that will soon house two Democracy Prep schools. In summer of 2024, Democracy Prep Endurance Elementary will move from its temporary campus in Williamsbridge, while Democracy Prep Endurance High School will relocate from Harlem. I’m so excited for students to begin learning and growing in this custom-designed space.

As a leader, I’m committed to having all of our students learn in beautiful, welcoming school environments that reflect the values of Democracy Prep. We want students to have space to become critical thinkers while feeling safe enough to be themselves. Over the years, we’re proud to have created vibrant school spaces in a variety of facilities. Having our own space, where we can design a school building free of constraints, is especially meaningful.

The move to 1000 Westchester Avenue is exciting for a few reasons. Nearly two-thirds of students in Democracy Prep’s Harlem high schools are commuting from the Bronx every day. Bringing Democracy Prep Endurance High School to Westchester Avenue will bring it closer to home for many of our students. Instead of riding the subway 12 stops each way, they will be able to go to school right in their neighborhood.

We are also eager to build out our elementary school model. By starting with students as early as pre-K, we can get a jump-start on learning through play and exploration. Our pre-K program also offers families a unified space for both their older elementary students and their younger children. For families that start with us in pre-K, we will be able to offer families in the Bronx a unified college-prep education from early childhood all the way through 12th grade.

As we design and construct the school, we’re prioritizing both safety and joy. The elementary and high schools will have completely separate entrances and stairwells, for safety and ease of movement. We’ll have uninterrupted space for Democracy Prep rituals like our elementary school’s weekly town hall meetings. We will create multiple play spaces for the elementary school, and specialized classrooms for the high school like art and science labs. In addition to an indoor gym, we’re excited to take advantage of the outdoor space, creating areas for play and athletics as well as green spaces for students to connect with nature.

I’m honored to be part of creating this space where students can grow and thrive while experiencing all the beauty and richness of New York City. It will truly be a place where students learn what it means to work hard, go to college, and change the world.

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