May 6, 2013 — Jalen Rose, Founder and Board President of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, today announced the Board’s decision to hire the American Promise Schools division of New Urban Learning to manage the Detroit public charter school for the next three years.
JRLA’s Statement of the Academy’s Values
Respect and Honor – All relationships begin with respect. Administrators and teachers, teachers and students, students and families, and all relationships therein practice the value of respect. From the beginning, through the middle, and to the end, respect is the foundation for discipline and learning.
Discipline – Discipline is a foundational element in the process of teaching and learning. Order must be implanted before students can learn. The hallways, classrooms, auditoriums, and all school space will have ordered expectations and follow through before, during, and after school whether classes are in session or not. All teachers and administrators will work as one team positively employing the Student Code of Conduct with its Discipline Code and Dress Code.
Joy in Learning – The mission is not easy. The hours are long. The dedication is immense. The more joy we experience in the classrooms and auditoriums as students accumulated and develop content, skill, and will, the less laborious and daunting the mission is.
Hard Work, Will, Persistence, Grit, Diligence, Determination – As Malcolm Gradwell’s Outliers argues, the equation for success is as simple as combining opportunity and hard work. At JRLA, students will be given the opportunity to succeed. The school will have some of the best systems and teachers in the country. JRLA will pave the path for students to succeed. Students simply need the will to stand up and walk the path, the persistence to stand up when they fall down, the grit to walk again when they are broken, and the diligence to always go forward.
Problems Have Solutions – In the mission of graduating from college, barriers, obstacles, and set-backs are as common as the rising sun. The key difference between higher performing schools, adults, and students, is the ability to find solutions to the problems that ceaselessly enter our every day.
Family and Team – In order for the school and individuals to meet our mission, we must all work together and support each other. Our mission is not easy; however, it is worth it and can only be manifested through all adults and students positively supporting each other towards our goals and mission.
Lifelong Learning – An apocryphal quote of Confucius is, “It takes 10 years to cultivate a tree. It takes a lifetime to cultivate a person.” Although the source of the quote is dubious, we believe that all people at JRLA, staff and student alike, need to ceaselessly cultivate themselves to continue to discover the beauty and magnificence that lives within us all.
Leadership – Students enter as learners at JRLA. They learn first to follow positively. Soon, they learn to lead positively. They leave JRLA as leaders bound and determined to finish his or her mission.
Curiosity for the Investigation of Things – There is amazement and beauty in all subjects and exercises. It is the pursuit of a JRLA scholar is to have a steadfast diligent mind that is able to unlock the mysteries and wonderment within any of these topics.
Mission Oriented – The mission is not easy. It takes sacrifice, failure, and diligence. However, the journey and goal are worth it. To stand after setback and to continue after heartbreak, one must be on a mission to complete the mission.
The educational program that American Promise Schools brings to the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy in Fall 2013 borrows best practices from both the Noble Network of Charter Schools and University Prep schools, both of which have strong track records in graduating college ready students and sending students to both two and four-year colleges.
The core components of the program that American Promise Schools will implement at Jalen Rose Leadership Academy include a school culture of college expectation, hard work, a set of classroom behaviors and discipline system that support student academic engagement, rigorous classroom learning, and orientations to ensure all staff, parents, and students are on the same page with high expectations and accountability.
The non-negotiable elements of our education plan:
- College or other post-secondary studies as the only acceptable student outcome
- Sufficient rigor in curriculum and teaching that lifts students up to the ACT College Readiness Standards by the time they graduate
- A commitment by all adults to “do whatever it takes” to ensure that every student succeeds
- A “no excuses” commitment by school leaders and teachers for every student’s success regardless of the social, economic, physical or emotional burdens a child brings to school. There will be children who have been victimized, but there can be no victims.
- The provision of a safe, orderly, clean, and attractive school setting in which deep learning can take place free of physical fear or bullying
American Promise Schools will bring to Jalen Rose Leadership Academy an education program constructed on five principal pillars—an Advisory system to support students from matriculation to promotion and graduation, a high-expectation school culture with extended school day and year, a rigorous college-readiness curriculum and exposure of students to college and professional life, and the recruitment and development of highly effective teachers.
The Educational Program of JRLA is aligned to the University of Chicago’s Urban Education Institute’s “Teaching adolescents to become learners: The role of non-cognitive factors in shaping school performance.” The University of Chicago’s five categories of non-cognitive factors in shaping school performance are Academic Behaviors, Academic Perseverance, Academic Mindsets, Learning Strategies, and Social Skills.
The Learning Environment – Instruction is classroom based. White boards serve to announce the day’s learning objective, what students should be able to do at the end of the class, the start of class “do now” work, and assigned homework. Classes are 70 minutes in duration.
In addition, all students at the school will be expected to take an Advanced Placement (AP) class. After the initial transition year, AP classes will first be offered to honors students during sophomore year in AP U.S. History. During junior year, students will be selected to take AP World History. All seniors will be expected to take at least one AP class. Seniors who have never taken an AP class can choose from the previous offerings. In addition, seniors will be able to take AP Calculus, AP Biology, and AP Language and Literature.
As for the other end of the spectrum, the leaders of this high school good to great project for New Urban Learning have had great success in both Detroit and Chicago in preventing low-income children of color from dropping out of school. More than 90% of their entering students graduate high school and go on to college.
Curriculum and Assessment
The Michigan high school graduation requirements are designed to prepare students for college or other post-secondary studies if satisfactorily completed. Our school will, of course, meet these course requirements. Our use of the ACT College Readiness Standards to determine mastery of a subject at each grade level ensures that course passing is tied to high standards that are embedded in the Michigan Merit Exam and are used by colleges for admission and financial aid.
JRLA will offer more than the basic curriculum mandated for high school graduation by the state of Michigan: four years of English, four years of mathematics, three years of social studies, four years of science, two years of foreign language, four years of physical education and fitness, one year of art, and one credit of an on-line course.
Promotion policies and exit standards and exceed the minimum requirements and stress the importance of a well-rounded education. In addition to the state of Michigan course and credit requirements, students will be required to complete the following to graduate: passage of at least one Advanced Placement course; four years of health and fitness courses and passage of written health and physical fitness test at each grade level; acceptance to at least two colleges; forty hours of community service; and 1.5 credits (150 hours) in enrichment courses, including before and after school courses or summer courses.
Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is not for everyone. Only students who are willing to study hard and are serious about going to college should apply.