E Prep was founded by John Zitzner (entrepreneur) and Marshall Emerson III (educator, and Head of School) in 2006, in response to the need for new educational options for Cleveland families. E Prep is a public, tuition-free Ohio community school (also known as a charter school) authorized by the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. E Prep serves grades 6, 7 and 8. It began with the sixth grade and expanded one year at a time, and the sixth grade continues to be the only entry point into the school.
Most E Prep students (89%) are from the City of Cleveland, and the others come from East Cleveland, Cleveland Heights, Euclid, Garfield, and other nearby suburbs. E Prep is unique, and in fact, revolutionary in Cleveland, but it is not an experiment. It is modeled after many very successful schools that have been created in other urban centers around the country. For one year before the school opened, Marshall Emerson served in the Building Excellent Schools fellowship (www.buildingexcellentschools.org) and studied as many as 40 high performing urban charter schools in cities such as Boston, New York, Newark, Washington, D.C. and Chicago. The features that make E Prep unique are actually the best-practices of the other high-performing schools that Emerson studied.
In the 2007/08 school year (E Prep’s second year) E Prep received the designation “Effective” on the state report card system. Effective is the second highest rating awarded to schools by the Ohio Department of Education.
E Prep has also been named a “School of Promise” by the State of Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction, because of its students’ achievements in reading.