Note from Quin: More than five years ago, I was impressed enough by a visit to a local Pre-K-thru-5th Grade school, Prichard Preparatory School, that I was moved to write a national column about it. Prichard Prep already was an amazing success story, so well educating children from an impoverished area that they were testing consistently above grade level. I’ve mentioned the school several times since, as have plenty of others.

A few months after that first piece, school co-founder Sandy Stimpson, now mayor of Mobile, asked me to serve on the school’s board of directors, which I have done ever since. So obviously I’m now biased in a way I wasn’t when I wrote that first column.

But by all measurables, the school continues to perform not just as well, but actually better, than it did when I was first so impressed in 2012. (I can provide specifics, as can the school administration if asked, but the shorthand way I describe it is that on average, Prichard Prep students test more than a year ahead of their grade level.) Again, this is from a community that is well over 60 percent “school-lunch eligible.” Yet despite the general lack of family funds, the other co-founder, Pastor Ruby Eldridge, insists that the only way families will take education seriously is if they have at least a little “skin in the game” — so, therefore, each family must contribute at least a part (about a quarter, roughly speaking) of the money for each child’s education. These families are financially and emotionally invested in their children’s educations, and it’s a wonderful thing to see.

But the rest of the financing must come from grants and donations.

Prichard Prep recently has been accredited officially with the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) and AdvancED (SACS). Almost all of its graduates go on not to troubled public middle schools, but either to area private schools or magnet schools — in other words, the best schools in the area. And they usually do quite well, some of them even winning prestigious awards at their next scholastic homes.

Prichard Prep is a regular beneficiary of Scholarships for Kids and the Alabama Opportunity Scholarship Program — which means that if you want to donate through the Alabama Accountability Act programs, you can effectively help Prichard Prep while receiving a dollar-for-dollar tax credit from your state income taxes. And so can your business! In other words, in effect, you can direct that your state tax dollars go directly to scholarships, at your discretion. To see how easily this works, PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK.

You can also donate directly to the school.

Your money will go to a great cause. Prichard Prep began with just one class of 16 kids per grade level; we are slowly expanding it to the full complement of two classes per grade. We now have two classes for everything from pre-K through 3rd grade, but we need to add a second class for 4th Grade (next year) and 5th Grade (the following year). We also need to add a science lab, and indoor athletic space (for when it rains), and some other small additions that all schools should have.

Therefore, I am asking you or your business, as you decide upon your year-end giving or plan for your charitable giving for 2018, to put Prichard Prep in your plans. 

Please feel free to contact our development director, Sandra Dunaway, if you have any questions. She can be reached at

Thank you for your consideration.  — Quin