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ERIC Number: EJ942387
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 1
ISSN: ISSN-0022-2984
Swords, Shields, and the Fight for Our Children: Lessons from Urban Prep
King, Tim
Journal of Negro Education, v80 n3 p191-192 Sum 2011
The grim statistics are well known, but bear repeating: in Chicago, close to 60% of Black boys do not graduate from high school, and only one in forty receive a bachelor's degree by age 25. In the fall of 2006, Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men-Englewood Campus, the nation's first all-male charter public high school, was opened. In 2010 and 2011, 100% of the members of each of its first two graduating classes were admitted to attend four-year colleges or universities. The key to its success has been an ability to build a community that values college education and believes in the ability of its students to achieve. In some places, those values and beliefs are taken for granted; but in Englewood--a neighborhood long-plagued by drugs, gang violence, and some of the nation's worst-performing public schools--building that community took careful focus and clear doing. Listening to students, one finds that they need as much help with their personal, social, and emotional development as they do with their academics. Responding to this need, Urban Prep trains its faculty and staff to focus on equipping students with tools for coping with the personal challenges they face today, as well as the academic challenges they face heading into the future. The author calls these tools "swords" and "shields." Swords enable students to master fields of knowledge. The vast majority of students enter high school needing remediation in core content areas, so instructors must excel at communicating information and developing knowledge to hone students' intellect. Just as importantly, teachers must know or be trained to collect data and information which pinpoint these deficiencies so that instruction can be tailored to students' abilities. Urban Prep emphasizes the need for all its teachers to help students develop "shields" to carry them through adversity. Shields are the tools of reflection, inquiry, and self-expression that build resilience in difficult times. The young men face daunting challenges; and helping them to overcome is tiring, often heartbreaking work. The teachers are up to the task because Urban Prep's culture reminds them every day that there is value and valor in what they do and that its motto of "We Believe" is more than just words.
Howard University School of Education. 2900 Van Ness Street NW, Washington, DC 20008. Tel: 202-806-8120; Fax: 202-806-8434; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Illinois