Posts Tagged ‘Englewood


Prepped for Success

As I sat watching television this weekend, most news coverage was devoted–and rightly so– to the recent deaths of the the Polish President, his wife, and among over 90 other politicians and military leaders in a horrific plane crash near Smolensk, Russia. It was early Saturday morning when the news broke, sending alerts to the Iphones of friends who were present with me at the time. Immediately, we felt a sense of grief. The mere thought of the loss of human life is saddening, but an accident such as this that claimed the lives of so many that an entire country look to for leadership–and above all, their most iconic figure? I couldn’t imagine the sense of loss.

In looking for some brighter news, however, I came across this story watching CNN last night, which apparently ran in the Chicago Tribune last month.

At Englewood’s Urban Prep Academy for Young Men in Chicago, 100% of 2010’s graduating seniors have all been accepted into a four-year college. The school, which was opened in 2006  is the first of its kind. It is public, non-selective, and targets only African-American males based on a random lottery of applicants. This year’s graduating class contained only 107 seniors, but the school has grown in size since this year’s graduating class began matriculating through the first four years of its existence. The school is currently negotiating charters for other academies in locations that Tim King and its other community founders deem in need.

A location like Englewood is an unlikely for the success that the prep school has seen. The community, which suffers from high crime rates, gangs, poverty, drugs, teen pregnancy, and low high school graduation rates provided the Urban Prep Academy with a freshman class in 2006 in which only 4 percent of students read at their grade level.

This year, each and every senior will stand against statistics which claim only 1 in 40 young black men complete college. According the Academy’s home page, however, all 107 college-bound graduates will earn degrees at the the completion of their prospective university’s requirements. By assisting in ways that very few other high schools do, such as assigning every freshman a college advisor, providing a mandatory advanced-placement course-load, and providing tutoring around the clock, this school has clearly developed a model that gets results. A strict dress code provides a final coat of polish for the young professionals.

The reward for their news-breaking accomplishment? A future that many may not have seen or even imagined possible otherwise. Oh! And this year’s senior prom will be free for all graduates.



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