With the motto of “We believe,” Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men in Englewood opened its doors to students on September 5, 2006. Urban Prep’s vision is to serve young men by providing them with a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum and ultimately see a 100% college admission and retention rate. With their motto and sense of community they hope to inspire confidence for academic achievement in each of its students.
Since its opening the school has seen several successes. The daily student attendance rate in 2007-08 was 92.6%, they had a one-year drop-out rate of only .7% in the 2006-07 school year, the student/teacher ratio is 18.4/1, and students have shown dramatic improvements in their academic performance from when they entered as ninth graders. Students have also had the chance to host and hear from more than 200 elected officials, athletes, celebrities, and educators over the past two years, providing them with powerful role models and insight into life beyond high school.
More than 340 students are waiting to attend Urban Prep in Englewood. To address this clear demand for high-quality education, Urban Prep Academy will open two more schools, at locations to be decided, in high-priority communities: East Garfield Park and South Shore.
The East Garfield Park school plans to open in the 2009-10 school year, and the South Shore school will open the following school year. Each school will follow Urban Prep’s existing model which focuses on four arcs: academic, activity, service, and professional. Students are required to take extra courses in the language arts. They must participate in at least two school-sponsored extracurricular activities each year. They are actively involved in community programs, and students spend one day a week in a professional setting.
Both new Urban Prep schools will be contract schools, independently operated by a non-profit organization. Contract schools are subject to a performance agreement between CPS and the school. The agreement allows certain autonomies from traditional Chicago Public School regulations.
The two new Urban Prep schools will be a part of Renaissance 2010, Mayor Daley’s initiative to open 100 new high-quality public schools by the year 2010. By replicating their successful school model, Urban Prep hopes to increase the number of quality school options for Chicago’s youth.
To learn more about the East Garfield Park and South Shore Urban Prep schools, make sure to attend the New Schools EXPO on Saturday, January 31, 2009. The EXPO will take place at Soldier Field (indoors) from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and will give families the chance to learn about the new school options across the city.