By Paula Ebben


BOSTON (CBS) – Roxbury Prep charter public school in Dorchester is celebrating its 20th year. It’s part of the Uncommon Schools network. One of the founders is John King, former Secretary of Education under President Obama.

The goal of the school is to prepare every student to graduate from college, and this year the new principal is a graduate herself.

When Principal Titciana Barros speaks, students listen.

“She definitely commands our attention and everyone knows that when Ms. Barros is talking she means business,” said senior Tariah Badwah.

Roxbury Prep Principal Titciana Barros (WBZ-TV)

Ms. Barros is a graduate of Boston College with a master’s from Boston University, but she says the environment at Roxbury Prep laid the foundation for her academic success

“It’s remarkable. It’s been a humbling experience to come full circle,” Barros said.

“John King, the former Secretary of Education who worked under President Obama is someone who I still consider a mentor, someone who I really remember him instilling in all of us as students that we were that we are capable of achieving anything.”

Now as principal, she describes a culture of joy at the school – and high expectations.

“We offer AP classes for all of our students. Our students persist and pass and have some of the highest success rates or higher successful rates in passing AP exams,” Barros said.

Principal Titciana Barros (WBZ-TV)

Charter schools boast lots of great statistics about college admissions or SAT scores, but at Roxbury Prep more than 40 percent of the staff and faculty are people of color – a statistic that’s very important to Ms. Barros.

“It’s tremendously important. Our students, when they look at me and they say ‘wow she’s principal, I can be a principal,’” Barros said.

“She knows the experience of coming through Roxbury Prep. She knows what it’s like to be a student here, to be a student of color, to come to a school like this not having as many resources and make the best of it,” said Tariah Badwah.

“Ms. Barros is giving back to the community in a sense, you know, being principal. As she said, she’s sharing her knowledge with us all, like how we can improve and also be leaders in our own communities. So, I think that’s something I really want to consider in the future too, probably giving back to this community once I graduate,” said senior Jonathan Francois.

“I’m just paying it forward and I’m really just living the legacy that we started back in 1999,” Barros said. “I want our students to know that they are capable and that we believe in them and that we love them.”

Paula Ebben

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