Friday, March 19, 2010

Charter school in tough neighborhood gets all its seniors into college

Three cheers for Chicago's Urban Prep Academy charter school!  Here's the editorial in the Chicago Tribune, below is the article, and here's another article with a great video:

On to college…

Charter Schools

Colleges and Universities

6:03 p.m. CST, March 8, 2010,0,1800629.story

If nothing else made you feel good last week, you had to smile at the news out of Urban Prep Academy for Young Men, a charter school in Englewood.

Every one of the 107 students in Urban Prep's first senior class has been accepted to a four-year college.

That's a remarkable achievement, especially considering that the overall college acceptance rate for Chicago public school graduates is 52.5 percent. And that number doesn't include the many students who start high school but don't finish it.

Urban Prep's acceptance rate would be the envy of any school, public or private. But consider this: When these seniors entered Urban Prep as freshmen, only four percent read at grade level. And 82 percent of the school's students come from low-income families.

Urban Prep helped the kids make up ground by implementing a tough, college-prep curriculum that required double periods of English. All told, Urban Prep students spend 72,000 more minutes in the classroom than their peers at regular CPS schools.

We've been harping on that for a long time. Fact is, Urban Prep should be the norm, not the exception. Most Chicago public school students spend far too little time in the classroom.

Urban Prep hasn't necessarily turned miracles. The average ACT score for its students is lower than the systemwide average for Chicago Public Schools. The kids qualified for college based on a lot more: their grade point averages, tough course loads, extra activities, etc. And because they had a single focus: going to college. Even before the first day of freshman year at Urban Prep, students go on a field trip to Northwestern University. The message is clear: This is your future.

Tim King, the school's founder and CEO, recognizes that he can't simply bid these students adieu. The college graduation rate for African-American men isn't good. The school's counselors will support these young men through their college careers.

Let's hope that in four years Urban Prep can hold a welcome home event and show off 107 college degrees.

We wouldn't bet against that. Nice going, gentlemen. You should be proud.


Charter school in tough neighborhood gets all its seniors into college

By Duaa Eldeib Tribune staff reporter

1:14 p.m. CST, March 5, 2010,0,2406746.story

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