In 2015, after more than a decade in the Bayview, several members of Redeemer Community Church felt called to unify our extensive experience in education in both public and private schools to help form an excellent neighborhood-based middle and high school. Like many of our neighbors, we had long lamented over the inequalities in our city, and we were excited about working together with God's love and strength towards His vision for this place.
We envisioned that Rise Prep would be an important neighborhood center, one that could help retain the gift of racial and socioeconomic diversity of the neighborhood and give back to the community through the transformative power of education. We dreamed that it could be a place where different churches could find a common heart of ministry in a local neighborhood. In 2016, the dream became reality; we were incorporated, and we successfully ran our first summer program with programming, engineering, and digital media tracks. In August of 2017, we opened our doors to our first class of 6th graders—the Class of 2024!
Our story is interwoven with the story of our place—the Bayview. The Bayview, located in the southeast sector of S.F., is a neighborhood that doesn’t quite fit the glittering image of a city that’s widely considered the world’s capital of new technology and new wealth. The area has a history of unchecked pollution, racial discrimination, and poverty. While the Bayview has a rich, cultural history and a vibrant community, Bayview continues to struggle economically and sits in the shadows of a city that’s accelerating.
Education, a key investment toward future prosperity, is also challenged here, which has the highest concentration of youth in the city. A 2017 Chronicle article reports that 24% of the population hold bachelor’s degrees (30% less than the rest of San Francisco), and just 74% have high school degrees (14% lower than the city). Efforts for revitalizing education in the area have largely failed, leaving many families little choice but to bus their children out of the neighborhood to attend school.
Most city guides and brochures are silent on the Bayview corner of San Francisco, sometimes called the city’s most isolated neighborhood. But Bayview is anything but quiet. Listen carefully, and there is a powerful rumbling as members of the community aim to overcome the struggles of this neighborhood and give hope to future generations of residents.
We’re glad to be part of this story.
Currently we have a vibrant mix of students in our 6th grade and 7th grade classes for this 2018-2019 school year, 71% of whom will become the first in their family to attend college. We enjoy watching them persevere, stretch and grow. By spring 2024, we anticipate graduating our first high school class with the aim of 100% acceptance into four-year universities. In just our second year, our students are already showing outstanding academic growth.