Members of the Prep Community,
Over the past three years, Mr. Maginnis and I have been working hard to augment Prep's historically supportive faculty culture with explicit and intentional initiatives, structures, and curriculum that further support the academic success of all students while maintaining the rigor and challenge that has been a hallmark of a Georgetown Prep education. This effort has included the organization of after-school academic support in the Saul Library by members of the Alumni Service Corps; the launch of the Writing Center by the English department; the addition of secondary courses that support students' work in Geometry and Algebra II by the Math department; the creation of embedded study skills courses for students who initially find significant challenge in the school's curriculum; an intensification of summer mini-camp for incoming freshmen; an increased faculty presence in the residential program's evening study hall; greater transparency of grade reporting through the Veracross system; more intensive, personalized, and systematic advising for sophomores during the course registration process; and changes to the freshman advisory program to assist all students in their transition to Prep. Today, with the support of the Board of Trustees and Fr. Van Dyke, we are excited to announce another significant step in the continued development of a supportive environment for intellectual growth at Georgetown Prep: the launch of a new full-time position of Director of Academic Support starting in the 2019-20 school year.
We are blessed to welcome an experienced Jesuit educator, Mr. Howard Blue, to the Prep community to become the school's first Director of Academic Support. Serving as an extension of the Academic Dean's office, Mr. Blue will provide an intentional focus on our increasingly robust system of academic support. He will also work closely with Mr. Rodriguez, Mrs. Napolitano, and Mr. Maczynski providing our students with comprehensive guidance throughout their Prep experience. He will be informed by the ideals of Jesuit education, particularly by the call for Ignatian educators to dedicate their work ad maiorem dei gloriam and to the cura personalis of each student at the school. Mr. Blue will be called to be a warm, supportive, consistent presence for those students in need of additional support.
On a daily basis, Mr. Blue will spend his time working with students to develop the necessary capacities for academic success at Georgetown Prep including classroom engagement, self-advocacy in relationships with teachers, multiple-step study habits, prioritization of assignments in the long and short term, and productive use of free time. Mr. Blue will facilitate communication between teachers, tutors, and coaches, and, with the Academic Dean and Registrar, will keep and analyze data to better track the progress of students of concern. With this new position, I believe we can provide our students with a more consistent and fluid support system.
A native Washingtonian, a leader and innovator in urban education, Mr. Blue has spent the vast majority of his professional career at the Washington Jesuit Academy (WJA), a unique extended-day, extended-year middle school for underserved students. Before his departure in the fall of 2018, Mr. Blue served as the founding Executive Director of the unique Link2:DC program, as well as the Executive Director of the Office of Student & Alumni Success, where he managed high school placement, high school support, college access, alternative education, and career readiness for WJA graduates. He also created and implemented a successful leadership development and training program that provided internships and real-world work experience for DC area students.
Beyond the walls of WJA, Mr. Blue founded Vertex, a nonprofit that began by providing character and academic enrichment to student-athletes in a holistic manner. Vertex has expanded beyond student-athletes to include programing to empower high school students, college students, and young adults through social capital and entrepreneurship, as well as professional development for educators and coaches alike through Vertex's Skillful Impact Curriculum. Howard is married to Anna Blue, and they share three children, Ashton Jones, Amena Blue, and Harper Blue.
Today, I would also like to announce that Ryan Eskow has decided to step down from his position as Head Varsity Basketball Coach at Georgetown Prep. He shared with me earlier this week that as he has been given more and more responsibility in the classroom and in the greater Prep community, his desire to continue his own education has grown and he has plans to return to school to pursue a graduate degree while continuing to teach and deepen his leadership and engagement with other initiatives at Georgetown Prep. I appreciate Ryan's commitment to our basketball program over the past four years, as well as the maturity he has demonstrated with this decision. Under his tenure, Prep amassed an impressive 69-30 record including two regular season IAC titles and an IAC tournament championship. More importantly, he has maintained an unwavering focus on and passion for the development of the student-athletes under his care. I am grateful for his leadership over past the four years and look forward to continuing our work together.
In addition to his responsibilities as Director of Academic Support, Mr. Blue has agreed to become the next Head Varsity Basketball Coach at Georgetown Prep. He spent this past season as an assistant coach of Prep's varsity basketball team and also spent two years working and learning under Coach Steve Turner at Gonzaga College High School. He has experience navigating the college recruitment process for student-athletes and their families and understands how to train and develop high school athletes physically, mentally, and emotionally. Mr. Blue was a four-year starter for Colgate University's men's basketball team (graduated in 2004 with his B.A. in Educational Studies) and earned All-Rookie, All-League, and All-Patriot League Academic Honors.
Please join me in welcoming Mr. Howard Blue and his family to the community and thanking Mr. Eskow for his commitment to Georgetown Prep.
John Glennon Jr.