Sunday night was far from the norm for a school board meeting, but there’s been nothing normal about Prime Prep Academy’s first year-plus of education.
The school, which features campuses in Fort Worth and Dallas, was co-founded by NFL Hall of Fame player Deion Sanders and DL Wallace with a promise of 21st century education and a focus on athletic achievement.
It has been saddled with in-fighting, administrative and academic concerns and parents have had enough.
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“We need Prime Prep leadership to step up and lead,” screamed former PPA parent Reginald Calhoun, who admitted at the board meeting he’d already pulled his kid from school. "Your vision said 21st century education. It’s not happening."
Parents complained of poor curriculum, teachers complained of being over worked and of having to teach multiple classes; some students complained they weren’t learning at all.
"If we’re a preparatory school, the question I have, 'is what are we preparing them for?'" said Catrina Henderson, vice president of Prime Prep Academy’s PTSA.
Other parents were more pointed in their criticism, saying that the school can’t even enforce its own uniform dress code.
“There’s no discipline in the school,” said parent, Kenneth Ghormley.
The most scathing criticism came from the youngest person in the room, PPA sophomore Josh Proche’.
“Some of our teachers at the school just act like they don’t care sometimes,” said Proche’, who said he went to PPA to follow his older brother James Proche’, a football player.
The sophomore was seen urging his brother to speak out at the meeting about concerns he had in getting accepted in an engineering program at the collegiate level. Proche’ said there are weeks that go by where kids never even see a textbook, that computers are often used to cheat instead of as resources for information and that teachers only respond to parental or administrative complaints for a while before things go back to status quo.
PPA board president T. Chris Lewis said changes are coming and the board gave Superintendent Rachel King Sanders wide latitude to execute her vision for education.
As for dealing with complaints by parents, students and staff, the school said those concerns will be addressed at a Town Hall meeting. The date for that meeting will be set next month.