Thursday January 24, 2008

Leading by Example

The Center for Secondary School Redesign called the Dayton Early College Academy, "a concrete response to convince and prepare urban learners to go to college."

National leaders in school curriculum redesign continue to take notice of the Dayton Early College Academy.

The Center for Secondary School Redesign has invited DECA to participate in the Breaking Ranks 2008 Secondary School Showcase in San Diego Feb. 4-5, calling the academy "a concrete response to convince and prepare urban learners to go to college."

DECA also presented last year at the Breaking Ranks 2007 Urban Secondary School Showcase in Chicago in April.

"We are honored to be asked to return to such an important showcase," said Judy Hennessey, DECA principal.

Hennessey said she plans to take four students to San Diego. Each will make a presentation to tell the story of their successes and how they prepare for high-stakes testing.

"It's hugely reinforcing for students," Hennessey said. "They understand the seriousness of DECA's mission, that people all over the country are watching what happens at our little school. It reminds them they have an incredible opportunity at DECA and that some schools don't have the same level of support."

The showcase convenes about 30 of the most innovative and successful high schools from the around the country to present their programs and strategies for success. Schools were chosen based on their outstanding reputations for quality and innovative approaches with challenging populations.

DECA students have considerable freedom to follow their academic interests in a system structured around passing increasingly rigorous "gateways," while receiving considerable personal attention from teachers, administrators and parents.

Located on the University of Dayton campus through a partnership between the University and the Dayton Public Schools, DECA is a non-traditional charter high school with the singular focus of preparing urban students to succeed in college. Many of the students are from low-income families and will be the first generation to go to college.

"The University's involvement with DECA is a way of both giving back to the community and creating an educational structure that will help Dayton's young people as they begin to explore their own academic potential," said Thomas J. Lasley II, dean of the School of Education and Allied Professions.

The school is unusual, in part, because it is a public school operated by a private, Catholic university and located on the campus. Students attend classes at the high school as well as the university and Sinclair Community College. Students have earned more than 1,500 college credits and several have graduated from DECA with associates' degrees from Sinclair.

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of media relations, at 937-229-3256 or mpant1@udayton.edu.