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Milwaukee College Prep Reaches Agreement to Acquire Young Leaders Academy

Will Establish Fourth Charter School in Milwaukee's Central City

MILWAUKEE, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Milwaukee College Prep announced it has reached an agreement to acquire the YMCA Young Leaders Academy, located at 13th and North Avenue.  There it will add a fourth campus to its highly-regarded network of K-8 free, public, charter schools, which includes its flagship 36th St. Campus, Lloyd St. Campus (a four year old turn-around effort), and 38th St. Campus (a three year old start-up).

The new Milwaukee College Prep school will begin concurrent with the start of the 2014/2015 school year, ultimately enrolling 500 scholars at this campus and almost 2000 in total.  All classes and other operations at the Young Leaders Academy will continue until June 30, 2014.

This transaction was initiated when the YMCA Board of Directors, acting under its authority and responsibility, began a comprehensive review of various strategic options for the school over one year ago.  The YMCA Board came to the conclusion that the students and families currently served by the Young Leaders Academy will be better positioned for future and continued success as part of a broader network of established charter schools. The YMCA Board then began discussions with Milwaukee College Prep to achieve this vision.

Both Milwaukee College Prep and the Young Leaders Academy share a fundamental belief that each child has a right to a first class education, regardless of race, geography or income.   By aligning two like-minded and high-achieving schools, more student scholars will have the opportunity to engage in a learning environment committed to both academic success as well as positive character development.

"The Young Leaders Academy is an outstanding school, with exceptional staff and a fine facility," said Robert Rauh, Chief Education Officer of Milwaukee College Prep.  "We have long admired their high standards of academic achievement, as well as their commitment to teaching the whole student.  Milwaukee College Prep will honor that legacy by ensuring students continue to receive a top notch education in an uncompromising environment where they, not their demography, determine the extent of their success."

Milwaukee College Prep also announced that the current Young Leaders Academy principal, Michael Morgan, has agreed to serve as the principal of the new school in the coming academic year.  Enrollment for the 2014/2015 school year begins on March 1, with preferential treatment being given to the existing students of current Young Leaders Academy and Milwaukee College Prep students.

The Young Leaders Academy was established in 2002 by the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee.  Commenting on the transaction, Julie Tolan, President and Chief Executive Officer of the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, said: "The Young Leaders Academy's long-stated goal is to become a top charter school in the city of Milwaukee.  By aligning with Milwaukee College Prep, we have taken another major step towards achieving that goal.  Our students, staff and families will now have the extraordinary opportunity to become part of a broader, nationally-recognized community that truly lives up to the fundamental truth that all children are worthy and can learn."

Milwaukee College Prep is widely-viewed as a school of excellence. Milwaukee College Prep scholars make gains of approximately 1.5 academic grades in a single school year, and more than 94% of Milwaukee College Prep alumni have graduated from high school in four years.  Milwaukee College Prep has also welcomed more than 1,000 educators and administrators from across the city, state and to share best practices so that every child might receive a top notch education. 

"This is good news for families and students in our city. We all know that we need more high performing schools in our city. Milwaukee College Prep is clearly doing a great job with their students. This agreement will allow them to bring that quality to even more students, said Howard L. Fuller, Ph.D, Distinguished Professor of Education and Director of the Marquette University Institute for the Transformation of Learning. "Their focus on character in addition to academic excellence is at the heart of the mission of the YMCA. By moving away from operating a school, the YMCA will be able to focus on its core mission and as a former 'YMCA-kid' myself, I can attest to the positive impact the Y has on our youth and broader community for a very long time. I am pleased to see that they will continue their commitment to the community at the North Avenue location and the people who depend on the Y for the services it offers will be all the better for it."

The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee operates 10 fitness and recreation centers throughout the Milwaukee area, including the Northside YMCA, which is adjacent to the Young Leaders Academy.  Until this transaction, the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee was one of the only Y's in the nation to own a charter school.  Continuing its focus on healthy living, youth development and social responsibility, the YMCA has reached a long-term lease agreement with Milwaukee College Prep to allow the Y to continue operations of the Northside Y for at least the next 10 years.

The transaction will be finalized on June 30, 2014, subject to the completion of certain closing conditions.  At that time, Milwaukee College Prep will establish a new charter school under the authority of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  


Megan Hakes


SOURCE Milwaukee College Prep

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