Four years ago, the Urban Prep Academy began as an all black boys school in the neighborhood of Englewood here in Chicago. For those of us who know Chicago, we know this is a relatively tough area. As the first class graduates from the charter school, though, I think we can safely call the experiment a success.
Urban Prep, a charter school that enrolls using a lottery in one of the city's more troubled neighborhoods, faced difficult odds. Only 4 percent of this year's senior class read at grade level as freshmen.
Now, however, a much different picture of this school's students can be painted.
The entire senior class at Chicago's only public all-male, all-African-American high school has been accepted to four-year colleges. At last count, the 107 seniors had earned spots at 72 schools across the nation.
This in a city where overall the high school graduation rate alone amongst black males is only 38%. It is an inspiring example of the difference that can be made via an educational investment.