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Many parents have the perception suburban schools are better. Barnett points out that while their overall success rate may be good, many do poorly with minority students.
“In speaking with parents, I try to paint a picture of a true college prep school,” said Barnett. “I tell them we have teachers committed to getting your kid ready for college. I tell them we have zero tolerance for violence — we didn’t have one fight last year. I tell them they can walk into my office anytime with concerns or ideas, because I understand. I’ve been there.”
Because he experienced both public schools and private high school, Barnett understands how important peer and family support is, as well as a culture of high expectations.
“When I think there are factors that derail a kid; they are getting a job at Wendy’s instead of doing their homework because they see the temporary reward. I talk to them about how in four years of college you are eventually going to double or triple your income.”
So, Barnett will spend the rest of the summer hitting events and talking to kids and their parents, trying to persuade them that his school can help them change the tilt.
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