Urban Prep Academies’ Story
“We believe,” says Tim King, founder and CEO of Chicago’s Urban Prep Academies, describing simply and poignantly how, for four years in a row, 100 percent of graduating seniors in these charter schools have been admitted into four-year colleges or universities. But they haven’t just been admitted—Urban Prep students have raked in more than $6 million in scholarships and grants this past year. Urban Prep points to its positive, mutually accountable school culture as core to its success. Every morning students recite the creed: “We believe in ourselves. We believe in each other. We are college bound.” And they are—all of them. Powerful, considering the national high school drop-out rate for African-American males remains just above 50 percent. Urban Prep Academies is a network of all-boys public schools, including the country’s first charter high school for boys. Urban Prep’s mission is to provide a high-quality and comprehensive college-preparatory educational experience to young men that results in its graduates succeeding in college. The schools are a direct response to the urgent need to reverse abysmal graduation and college completion rates among boys in urban centers. While most of Urban Prep students come to the schools from economically disadvantaged households and behind in many subject areas, Urban Prep remains committed to preparing all of its students for college and life.