Wednesday, May 30, 2007

School gives boys the key to becoming real men

D'Angelo Gardner didn't like it when staff members at Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men started telling him to tuck in his shirt, pull up his pants, straighten his tie.He didn't like the unfamiliar feeling of having a black man telling him what to do at all.

His father had died of a heroin overdose when he was 9. His mother, raising three children on her own, hoped that the new charter school in West Englewood could teach her son how to be a man.

"Please pick my son. We need you," Angela Russell scribbled several times in the margins of his school application.Urban Prep, Chicago's only public all-boys high school, opened last fall against the backdrop of nationwide concern over the widening achievement gap between African-American boys and other students.

On the first day of school, the average freshman at Urban Prep was reading at a 6th-grade level.As the academy completes the first year of its experiment to reverse the abysmal high school graduation rate among black male students -- the lowest of any group in [Chicago] -- administrators say they are getting some traction in the classroom.

...Angela Russell, sees [her son] evolving into the young man she wants him to be, in big and small ways. He's less "D'Lo," the boy from the neighborhood, and more "Mr. Gardner."

"I knew I couldn't teach him how to be a man," she said. "That was my whole point of sending him to Urban Prep, so that they could show my son what real men do: They get up, they go to work -- not what you see on the videos or the corner..."

This from the Chicago Tribune:
~
Urban Prep Charter Academy for Young Men
* Founded by Tim King, former head of Hales Franciscan High School, a South Side Catholic school for black boys
* Opened Sept. 5, 2006, with 160 freshmen selected by lottery
* Mission: To provide a college-preparatory education
* By 2010 the school will house freshmen through seniors
* 22 employees, most of whom are African-American men: 10 full-time teachers, 12 full-time administrators and staff members
* $2.25 million annual budget; nearly $1 million from fundraisingStudent demographics
* 90 percent come from single-parent households
* 92 percent daily attendance rate.* 95 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced lunch

Urban Prep Creed
We believe.
We are the young men of Urban Prep.
We are college bound.
We are exceptional -- not because we say it, but because we work hard at it.
We will not falter in the face of any obstacle placed before us.
We are dedicated, committed and focused.
We never succumb to mediocrity, uncertainty or fear.
We never fail because we never give up.
We make no excuses.
We choose to live honestly, nonviolently and honorably.

2 comments:

Job said...

Single sex schools are ridiculous. How can a male learn how to become a real man unless he is in the presence of females? Having to learn how to behave and comport yourself and treat young ladies, you learn social skills, self control, manners, and yes competition. Some of the guys in my school only started to pay attention to their hygiene when they developed an interest in girls. And the boys versus girls spelling bees and academic competition was great. The teachers and administrators always cheated to help the girls, and that teaches young men that life is not always going to be fair so you have to work hard and give 110% percent to succeed when you face obstacles. I am sorry, but segregating sexes is undesirable and unnatural, and it harms both males and females.

Anonymous said...

FIRST OFF SIR, I THINK THAT THE COMMENT THAT YOU LEFT WAS RIDICULOUS AND THAT IT IS KIND OF RUDE TO SAY THAT YOU CANT LEARN HOW TO BE A BETTER MALE BY ATTENDING AND ALL MALE SCHOOL. I FEEL THAT YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SAY WHAT YOU SAID UNLESS YOU ATTENDED AN ALL MALE SCHOOL YOURSELF. I HAVE ROOM TO SHOOT YOUR COMMENT DOWN BECAUSE I ATTEND THIS SCHOOL AND I AM NOW A JUNIOR AND THE GROWTH THAT THE YOUNG MEN HAVE SHOWN IS TREMENDOUS. IN YOUR COMMENT YOU STATED "How can a male learn how to become a real man unless he is in the presence of females? Having to learn how to behave and comport yourself and treat young ladies, you learn social skills, self control, manners, and yes competition.". iF YOU READ THE DEMOGRAPHIC OF MY SCHOOL YOU WILL FIND THAT NEARLY ALL OF THE STAFF ARE MEN AND THEY TEACH US THESE LIFE SKILLS THAT YOU SO ELOQUENTLY POINTED OUT YOU CAN'T LEARN AT A SINGLE SEX SCHOOL. THERE ARE GROWN WOMEN IN THE BUILDING IF THEY WANT TO LEARN HOW TO BE COMFORTABLE AROUND PEOPLE OF THE OPPOSITE SEX. BY THE WAY, WHAT IS THE OUTCOME OF IMPRESSING AND POSSIBLY AQUIRING THE YOUNG LADY THAT THEY LONG AFTER; THATS RIGHT, THE YOUNG MAN LOSES ALL FOCUS AND THEN NO LONGER REALLY CARE ABOUT SCHOOL BECAUSE THEY HAVE SOMETHING ELSE TAKING AWAY FROM THEIR LEARNING PROCESS. SO IN CLOSING SIR, I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH YOUR COMMENT AND IT IS REDUNDANT AND IT WILL REMAIN REDUNDANT BECAUSE YOU ONLY SPEAK FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF BEING IN A CO-ED SCHOOL AND NOT IN THE SHOES OF A PERSON LIKE MINE WHO ATTENDS A SINGLE SEX SCHOOL.