Based on current education and social conditions, the fate of boys of color is uncertain.
African American and Latino boys are grossly over-represented among youth failing to achieve academic success, are at grave risk of dropping out of school before they reach 10th grade, are disproportionately represented among adjudicated and incarcerated youth, and are far less likely than their peers in other subgroups to achieve to their dreams and aspirations. Likewise, boys in general lag behind girls in most indicators of student achievement.
Research indicates that although boys of color have high aspirations for academic and career success, their underperformance in school and lack of educational attainment undermine their career pursuits and the success they desire. This misalignment of aspirations and achievement is fueled by and perpetuates a set of social conditions wherein men of color find themselves disproportionately represented among the unemployed and incarcerated. Without meaningful, targeted, and sustainable interventions and support systems, hundreds of thousands of young men of color will never realize their true potential and the cycle of high unemployment, fatherless homes, overcrowded jails, incarcerated talent, deferred dreams, and high rates of school failure will continue.
Madison Preparatory Academy for Young Men (Madison Prep) will be established to serve as a catalyst for change and opportunity among young men, particularly young men of color and those who desire a nurturing educational experience for young men.
Madison Prep’s founders understand that poverty, isolation, structural discrimination, lack of access to positive male role models and achievement-oriented peer groups, limited exposure to opportunity and culture outside their neighborhood or city, and a general lack of understanding – and in some cases fear – of Black and Latino boys among adults are major contributing factors to why so many young men are failing to achieve to their full potential. However, the Urban League of Greater Madison – the “founders” of Madison Prep – also understand that these issues can be addressed by directly countering each issue with a positive, exciting, engaging, enriching, challenging, affirming and structured learning community designed to exclusively benefit boys.
Madison Prep will be a non-instrumentality charter school – authorized by the Madison Metropolitan School District Board of Education – that serves an all-male student body in grades 6-12. It will be open to all males residing in Dane County who apply, regardless of previous academic performance. The school will provide a world class secondary education for young men that prepares them for leadership, service, and success at a four-year college or university.
Madison Prep will employ seven Educational Strategies to achieve this mission: an all-male student body, the International Baccalaureate curriculum, a College Preparatory educational program, Harkness Teaching, an extended school day and year, mentoring and community support, and the “Prep Year.”
Madison Prep will also use four key Operational Strategies in order to support the educational strategies: adequate staffing, target student population, appropriate facilities/location, and sufficient funding.
Eight Core Values and Four Leadership Dimensions will additionally serve as underpinnings for the success of Madison Prep and Madison Prep students. These Core Values – Excellence & Achievement, Accountability, Teamwork, Innovation, Global Perspective, Perseverance, Leading with Purpose, and Serving Others – will also root Madison Prep in the Educational Framework of the Madison Metropolitan School District. The Four Leadership Dimensions – Personal, Team, Thought, and Results Leadership – will serve as criteria for student and staff evaluations.
Madison Prep’s educational program will be bolstered by partnerships with businesses, government agencies, professional and membership associations, colleges and universities, and scholarship-providing organizations that have the capacity to bring talent, expertise and resources into the school community to benefit Madison Prep students, faculty, staff, and parents. Madison Prep will also host special activities to engage parents, family members, and the community in the education of their young men. Invitations will be extended to parents, community leaders, and experts to join young men at the Harkness Table to add to their learning and to learn with them.
Seed funding for the establishment of Madison Prep will come from public and private sources, including planning and implementation grants from charter school investment funds, charitable foundations, government agencies, and individuals. Ideally, Madison Prep will be located in a business or higher education environment with access to quality classroom, athletic and laboratory facilities or the ability to create such facilities.
The Urban League of Greater Madison (ULGM or Urban League) will submit a Detailed Proposal for Madison Prep in 2011 to the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Board of Education to receive approval to open the school in 2012. If approved, the school will open in August 2012 serving 90 boys in grades 6 and 7. The school will grow by one grade level each year until it offers a full complement of secondary grades (6 -12). At maturity, Madison Prep will serve 315 students and graduate its first class of seniors in 2017-18.
Links: Madison Preparatory Academy and Kaleem Caire (interview).
This plan will be presented at the 12/6/2010 Madison School Board meeting.
In many ways, the outcome of this initiative will be a defining moment for our local public schools, particularly in terms of diffused governance, choice, a different curricular approach (potentially a movement away from the one size fits all model), economics and community engagement. If it does not happen in Madison, I suspect it will with a neighboring district.
The Madison Prep Difference
Although it is clear that Madison Prep can and will support MMSD objectives, there is no doubt that Madison Prep will be unique. Madison Prep will be the only all-male public school option in Dane County serving young men when it opens in 2012. Furthermore, the school will be the only IB school in the city offering the full continuum of the IB Programme at the secondary level. Young men enrolled in Madison Prep in 6th grade will begin their education in the IB Middle Years Programme and continue in the curriculum until they move into the rigorous two- year Diploma Programme beginning in 11th grade, thereby increasing their likeliness of success. Finally, while MMSD offers after school activities and care, no school in the district offers a significant amount of additional instructional time through an extended school day and extended school year, as Madison Prep will.