Urban Prep (2005- ) is an all-male public high school in Chicago. Nearly all the students are black and poor and, when they entered, had poor reading scores. Yet for the past three years it has sent 100% of its graduating class to four-year colleges or universities.
That is both better and worse than it seems:
Urban Prep does not take the best students, it is not some kind of magnet school – it just pulls names out of a hat of those who apply.
Although 100% of those who make through all four years go on to further education, many drop out. Each freshman class has 150 students. Compare that its first three graduating classes:
- Class of 2012: 85 graduates (57%)
- Class of 2011: 71 graduates (47%)
- Class of 2010: 107 graduates (71%)
But compare that to black male high school graduation rates:
- 47% USA
- 44% Chicago
- 44% Washington, DC
- 28% New York
- 28% Philadelphia
Public education of blacks in America is so terrible that most lose IQ points during high school!
Generally speaking only half of black males graduate high school. Of those only half go onto further education. And of those only 35% make it to their second year.
Compare that to the Urban Prep class of 2010: 71% graduated high school, of those 100% went on to further education. And of those 85% made it to their second year.
- Even though when they came through the doors of Urban Prep in 2006, 96% had bad reading scores and 87% came from poor families.
- Even though the school stands in the middle of a violent, poor black neighbourhood with gangs.
Urban Prep spends $12,000 a year on each student. That is more than most Chicago public schools. They not only get money from the city like every other public school, they are also a charity. Oprah gave them $250,000. Someone unnamed gave them a million. The Renaissance School Fund, put together by Chicago business leaders, gave them a half million.
School days are two hours longer. You take English twice a day!
They are big on showing models of black success – it is easier to believe in something you can see with your own eyes.
Each student has a mentor who he can call at any hour.
You must wear a school uniform (pictured above). And every morning you must say the school creed:
We are the young men of Urban Prep.
We are college bound.
We are exceptional-not because we say it, but because we work
hard at it.
We will not falter in the face of any obstacle placed before us.
We are dedicated, committed and focused.
We never succumb to mediocrity, uncertainty or fear.
We never fail because we never give up.
We make no excuses.
We choose to live honestly, nonviolently and honorably.
We respect ourselves and, in doing so, respect all people.
We have a future for which we are accountable.
We have a responsibility to our families, community and world.
We are our brothers’ keepers.
We believe in ourselves.
We believe in each other.
We believe in Urban Prep.
Two new Urban Preps were opened in 2009 and 2010.