Hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs announced this week that he is opening a free public charter school in his home neighborhood of Harlem, N.Y. this fall.
The announcement comes in addition to a partnership with the charter school organization Capital Preparatory Schools. The partnership was created to help launch an expansion of the network in the New York City neighborhood. Combs said opening the school is “a dream come true.
“I want to impact the lives of young people in my community, and build future leaders. The first step is offering access to a quality education,” Combs said to the Huffington Post . “Every young person should have the tools they need to succeed.”
Combs, who Forbes named Hip-hop’s wealthiest artist in 2015, has had his mind set on an educational investment for some time now. According to Rolling Stone, Combs has spent the past five years researching the best school model before finding the model practiced by Capital Preparatory Schools. In that time, he met with various local leaders and education experts outlining a framework for the Harlem-based school.
“Sean and I have spent many long hours over the last five years talking about education and how best to meet the needs of the young people of Harlem, and I couldn’t be more pleased to continue this journey through the opening of the school,” Dr. Steve Perry, the Capital Preparatory Schools founder, told the Huffington Post.
Perry will oversee the school and a Florida-based educator will be the inaugural principal. Serving on the school’s board will be spiritual life coach Dr. Iyanla Vanzant and Reverend Georgiette Morgan-Thomas, according to Rolling Stone.
The school will serve 160 students in sixth and seventh grade in its first year and will expand to serve 700 students through grade 12 in the coming years. The deadline for applications is April 1. The school its program to accommodate students with disabilities on its website, an issue charter schools have taken a hit for in recent years.
According to the school website, Capital Preparatory Harlem’s mission is to “provide historically disadvantaged students from Harlem with the college and career-readiness skills needed to become responsible and engaged citizens for social justice.”
As a public charter, the school is subject to a lottery–in order to choose students to enroll in a fair manner–and is scheduled for early April.