There are so many stories in the news about Black men not doing the right thing; this is not one of them. This is the story of a charter school, a principal, and the commendable work he and his students are doing. Urban Prep Academy for Young Men, a public, all-male, all-African-American high school just announced that 100 percent of its senior class had been accepted into college.
The students proudly switched their uniforms in a ceremony designed to celebrate their achievement. The 107 students participating in the ceremony have been accepted to over 72 different colleges, which is no small feat. The Chicago school recruits from the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the city and works against staggering odds.
Tim King, Founder and CEO of the charter school, decided that those were odds he liked.
"There were those who told me that you can't defy the data," King said. "Black boys are killed. Black boys drop out of high school. Black boys go to jail. Black boys don't go to college. Black boys don't graduate from college.”
According to the Chicago Tribune, only four percent of this year’s graduating class was reading at grade level upon entering the high school as freshmen.
So how did Urban Prep do it? According to King, there was no magic formula. It was just old-fashioned hard work, perseverance, and a dream to become something other than a statistic.
“To prepare students for the next level, the school offers a longer than typical day — about 170,000 minutes longer, over four years, than other city schools — and more than double the usual number of English credits,” King said. The Tribune reports that the school not only goes above and beyond the call of duty with its curriculum, but it also assigns each student a college counselor.
Urban Prep illustrates clearly that when given the same attention and resources that more privileged children receive, inner-city children can achieve and even surpass expectations.
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