Meet the Founder
Velinda G. Parker
Throughout her academic studies (high school, college and graduate) and a successful 20+ year corporate career as Senior Executive, she always had a constant companion: The 5Ps: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. Blending the 5Ps and state of the art standardized test taking strategies, Ms. Parker and Prep1st have developed a SAT/ACT preparation program that gives on grade learners the tools to maximize their SAT/ACT scores. Given that, she fell into test prep by chance. As a very engaged mom, she always prepared her son for specialized and or standardized tests. As a result of the strategies and techniques she utilized her son was accepted into the prestigious Johns Hopkins Center for talented youth program in middle school. Most importantly, her son is an athlete and attends a prestigious high school in Washington, DC. He always scored advanced on standardized tests. Therefore, she didn’t prepare him for his first Preliminary Standardized Test (PSAT) because she assumed that if he earned straight A’s, he would get a great score!
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. When they received his test scores the results were alarming and unacceptable. To change this, she quickly analyzed his results and put a plan together. She worked with her son for 2 sessions which is about 6 months; his next PSAT results were outstanding and his score increased more than 240 points. Consequently, think about African-American parents who don’t have the resources she used to improve her son’s score. This is when the idea of creating an educational support center came into fruition. She realized that developing this process proved to her that she’s very passionate about academic preparation for students. Additionally, she believed that if she could find a way to demonstrate how significant the building blocks of any solid educational foundation which include a mixture of strong academic courses along with a strong development of fundamental subjects and test taking skills students scores would be successful. As fate would have it, she was invited to assess the business practices of a tutoring company. While there she uncovered some alarming information about African-American students’ SAT test scores. The national average for African-American students is a 946/1600 which is last when compared to other student groups. At that moment her mission became clear which is to increase the test scores of African-American students. This is why she developed a SAT/ACT program that is very successful. In her mind it’s simple “Prep your student 1st and the test score will increase. Furthermore, because the student’s classroom performance will directly affect his/her opportunities to score well on the SAT/ACT examinations and earn academic scholarships, it is very important that he/she make every effort to absorb the information presented in his/her classes and master the academic skills that will give him/her a chance to do their best. We will demand it. Doing your best should become one of their lifelong characteristics.
Equally important, Ms. Parker understands that most parents want the best for their student and will sacrifice to give him/her academic advantages and opportunities. Given that, she knows that parents’ are working hard and relying on the schools but the schools can’t do it all!!! As a result, some parents’ aren’t armed with the correct information to make informed decisions about how or when to start preparing for college entrance exams. This is an ongoing challenge. Parents are fooled by grades and believe that because their student earns straight A’s that he/she will perform exceptionally on these tests. That mindset or thought process has to change and the communication in the African-American community regarding test prep needs to be perpetuated on all communicative platforms. Fortunately since Prep1st has been in business parents are receptive to the information and embracing the opportunity. Because we expect and demand the best from our students, test scores are increasing and Prep1st is positively impacting the community. College is expensive and there’s a way to help parents and students of the African-American community offset the cost of college; Prep your student 1st. Everyday she receives phone calls from excited parents and hears “I wish I had heard about Prep1st sooner.” The test results from the SAT classes are phenomenal!!!! The average score increase is 200 points or more. The most important skill set developed from the prep sessions is confidence. When a student realizes that he/she can do it, nothing is impossible for that student and the mission of Prep1st is on fire!!!!