By Daniel Victor, nytimes.com
Sean Combs, the hip-hop mogul known as Diddy, steered the creation of the Capital Prep Harlem school, scheduled to open in fall 2016, he said on Monday.
In a statement, Mr. Combs, who was born in Harlem, said creating the school was “a dream come true for me.”
The charter school was approved by the Board of Regents in 2014, but Mr. Combs’s involvement had not been previously publicized. The school will replicate the model of Capital Preparatory Magnet, a year-round school in Hartford that says it has high graduation and college acceptance rates.
The founder of the Hartford school, Steve Perry, said in an interview on Monday that it was unclear what role Mr. Combs would play in the new school. Beginning in 2011, Mr. Combs recruited Mr. Perry to bring his educational model to Harlem, provided office space and quietly rallied support in the community, Mr. Perry said.
“It’s important to note it was he who inspired our team to come in and expand into New York,” Mr. Perry said. “It starts there, and the rest of the role will develop over time.”
The school is set to open for the 2016-17 school year, with 160 students in sixth and seventh grades. School officials said it would expand one grade per year, eventually enrolling 700 students in grades six through 12. It is currently accepting applications for students and staff members.
Mr. Perry said that he initially resisted Mr. Combs’s suggestion of opening another school — suggesting an after-school program or a scholarship instead — but that Mr. Combs was adamant.
“I think that there’s a lot to be found in the fact that you have someone such as Combs, who is highly visible within our community, who has decided that his major push is going to be with our model and in education,” Mr. Perry said.
Last year, Mr. Combs was arrested on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon — a kettlebell — after an altercation at the Acosta Athletic Training Complex of University of California, Los Angeles, where his son is a member of the football team. No one was seriously injured, and the charge was later dropped.