Thursday, July 01, 2010

100 percent of school's first class college-bound

I can understand what motivated Tim King to create this school. It must be a great feeling to have found young men who were circling the drain, and plucked them out of the vortex of failure. He didn't merely help the young men. He helped society as a whole.

100 percent of school's first class college-bound
June 28,2010

CHICAGO — For each boy, the new school offered an escape and a chance at a life that seemed beyond reach.

Krishaun Branch was getting D's, smoking reefer a lot, skipping school twice a week. His mother was too busy working to know what he was doing. He liked to fight and hang out in the streets; having relatives in gangs was his armor.

When a young man in suit and tie came to tell his eighth-grade class about a new high school on Chicago's South Side, Krishaun wanted no part of it — until he heard something tempting: Students would have laptops. Suddenly, he was on board...

And Urban Prep had a goal — one that seemed audacious, given that just 4 percent of the Class of 2010 was reading at or above grade level when they arrived at the school in 2006...

From the very start, Tim King had a grand plan.

"I wanted to create a school that was going to put black boys in a different place," says the founder of Urban Prep, "and in my mind, that different place needed to be college."

King faced long odds: Slightly more 40 percent of black male students in the Chicago public schools graduate high school; a little more than one in five earn a college degree in six years.

Still, on an August day in 2006 he gave members of the first class of Urban Prep a peek at the end of the rainbow. He took them on a guided tour of Northwestern University — just 25 miles away, but a foreign land to kids who had never visited a college or, in some instances, even Chicago's Loop...

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