Ask The Educator

Education is one of the factors that is critical to our national survival. The requirements for employment are becoming more demanding and competition for jobs is now global.

By K. Patrick Enright

Below are the questions, I asked Brother Thomas Ledo, and Maureen Kiers of Iona Preparatory School (Iona Prep).

Iona Prep General Details

Religious Affiliation – Roman Catholic – Christian Brothers

Location – New Rochelle NY.

School Motto - Estote Firmi – Let Them Be Strong

Team Names – The Gaels

Biographical Information

Br. Thomas R. Leto, CFC, 2010

President, Iona Preparatory High School  


BA, Iona College
MA, New York University
MS, University of Dayton

Professional Biography:

All Hallows – Bronx, NY

Rice High School – New York, NY

Catholic Memorial – Boston, MA

Bishop Hendricken – Warwick RI

Maureen Kiers, 1994

Principal, Iona Preparatory High School

BA, Molloy College
MS, St. John’s University

Teacher of Math, French, Latin

Former principal -St Joseph School, Bronxville, NY


What is the general description of Iona Prep’s (IONA PREP) core culture?

  • Iona Prep mission is based on the seven Essentials Elements of an Edmund Rice Christian Brother Education (attached) which is a combination of Christian faith, service to the poor and the education of young men.

What is the general description of Iona Prep’s educational theory?

  • Iona Prep offers a classical liberal arts education.
  • Iona Prep curriculum is designed around core values but is under constant review to help young men develop the skills needed in the 21st century job market.
  • The Iona Prep curriculum is a balance of:
    • Problem-solving skills through a strong math and science program.
    • The development of oral and written communication skills that is reinforced through the teaching of Composition & Grammar, as well as Latin & Greek Elements.

How important is the physical setting to the education process?

  • A pleasant physical setting is intrinsic to the educational process.  Well-maintained and updated facilities are a feature of Iona Prep’s 27-acre campus.
  • Most recently, Iona Prep has updated four science labs, the Tully Gymnasium and purchased new lockers for the entire school.
  • Natural lighting is used throughout the campus.

How important to the education process are standardized tests?

  • The importance of the test depends on the quality of the exams.
  • The TACHS exam is an effective tool for the placement of young men.
  • In the opinion of the Iona Prep administration, the New York State Regents Exam no longer offers the sufficient level of rigor to document educational progress.
  • Iona Prep places weight on performance on the SAT Exams, ACT Exams and the AP Exams.

How does Iona Prep help students prepare for standardized tests?

  • Group guidance classes are part of each student’s schedule. Standardized tests such as PSAT and SAT are discussed and practice samples given.
  • Students are able to attend specific prep classes for the SAT provided by an outside company.
  • Students are prepared for AP tests through their classroom study.

What is the student’s access to AP classes at each level?

  • AP classes are college level work.
  • Qualified students are encouraged to participate in AP classes.
  • Students have to earn their entrance into AP classes.
  • Grades from previous classes are the primary factor in the entrance process.
  • Other factors are considered, such as the input of parents and the recommendation of teachers.

How important is it for students to participate in AP classes?

  • The participation in AP classes is a benefit to the educational process for some students.
  • Iona Prep makes AP classes available as early as freshman year for qualified students.
  • The placement of a student who is not prepared for an AP class can lessen the experience for that student and other students in the class.

Does participation in an AP class, without passing the exam, have benefits?

  • The academic process and the AP process are facilitating academic growth within each young man.
  • It is important to note that a high rigor exam documents the student’s academic growth.
  • Performance on the exam is an important indicator because the observation of standards is important.
  • A pupil who worked extremely hard to earn a 3 on an AP exam did achieve academic success, just like the student who may have more natural ability who has earned a 4 or a 5.  

How does the guidance process factor into the education process?

  • The education process can be very stressful for a student.
  • The guidance relationship allows the boys to speak with educational professionals other than their teachers.
  • A counselor is assigned to the student during his freshman year and remains with him throughout his high school years.
  • The student meets with his counselor about once a quarter, but if necessary they meet more often.
  • In the student’s junior year, they are also assigned a college counselor to support the student through the college application process.

What is the role of parental leadership in the educational process?

  • The role of the parent is to support and advocate for the student.
  • The role of the parent is also to hold the student accountable for the student’s performance.

What transparency does Iona Prep offer to parents into their sons’ education?

  • Iona Prep uses the Edline internet tool that gives parents transparency into the student’s performance.
  • All assignments and long terms projects are posted on Edline.
  • Every other Tuesday, the student’s grades are posted on their Edline account.
  • The teachers are very responsive to parents through traditional communication methods like e-mail and phone calls.

How does the purchase of Iona Grammar improve the Iona educational system?

  • At the founding of Iona Prep, it was a K through 12 educational institution.
  • In the 1940’s the schools were separated.
  • The re-purchase of Iona Grammar by Iona Prep will give the administrators the ability to offer more continuity through the student’s educational experience.
  • The high school teachers now have the ability to enhance the curriculum at Iona Grammar and work with the middle school students.
  • High performing students at Iona Prep have the ability to take college courses through Iona College and earn actual college credits while they are still in high school.

Is Iona Prep a school or is it a community of families, brothers, administrators and teachers?

  • Iona Prep is a school that encourages the participation of the entire family in the school and their son’s education.
  • Dads are encouraged to participate through the Father’s Council.
  • Moms are encouraged to participate thought the Mother’s Auxiliary.

Is the culture welcoming to non-Catholics?

  • Iona Prep accepts students of all faiths. Students are required to take four years of religion and also participate in liturgical and para-liturgical  services.

What is the STEP program?

  • STEP is an acronym that stands for Superior Talent Enrichment Program.
  • The STEP program gives gifted students the ability to take advanced classes as a freshman or a sophomore.
  • For sophomores the Step Program Includes:
    • AP U.S. History
    • Advanced English
    • A class in Latin in addition to another foreign language class.
  • For Freshman the STEP Program includes:
    • AP World History
    • Advanced English
    • A class in Latin in addition to another foreign language class.

How will your son benefit from the STEP program?

  • The STEP program enables students to work with other talented students in major areas of the curriculum.
  • In all programs, whether STEP, honors or core, the students are challenged to think critically, to improve writing, reading, speaking and listening skills and to work cooperatively. 
  • Specific information about the levels of curriculum is available at the Iona Prep website.

What characteristics make up an Iona Prep student?

  • Every student has a place in the Iona Prep family.
  • An Iona Prep man has a compassionate understanding of human worth.
  • An Iona Prep man has the ability to make good decisions based on the teachings of the Gospels.
  • An Iona Prep man is a critical thinker.
  • An Iona Prep man is life-long learner.
  • An Iona Prep man has the skills and intellectual strength to be a leader.
  • An Iona Prep man has the moral strength and the spiritual strength to avoid a sense of elitism.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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