Nationally, only 8% of low-income students graduate from college.
The mission of Chicago Collegiate Charter School is to equip ALL students in grades four through twelve with the academic skills, intellectual habits and character traits to succeed in college, strengthen their communities and change the world.
Our vision is to ensure 100% of our students complete college within 6 years of graduation. Our school model is designed to make sure that students establish a strong foundation in middle school, experience a rigorous high school that prepares them for college, and ensures that throughout that they have familiarity with the kind of life experiences that most college students have—whether that’s seeing a play, eating at a fancy restaurant or spending time away from home.
Many schools work to make sure 100% of their students earn admission to college—and that’s obviously a critically important first step. However, we know both from the research and from our own experiences that if low-income students go to college but don’t graduate, they go home saddled with debt and without the expanded educational and salary options that a degree ensures. We work to make sure our students’ school experience prepares them for the time management, financial savvy and self-advocacy skills that are essential to completing college.
Our educational focus on our students earning a college degree is based on considerable research about the opportunities provided by a college education and the low college attendance and graduation rates of minority students. Without a strong educational foundation, the career opportunities for young people narrow significantly. This is manifested everywhere in our society - in the most recent recession, the unemployment rate for college graduates aged 25 and over was approximately 4%. The overall unemployment rate was approximately 8% and the unemployment rate for individuals without a high school diploma was over 14%. College completion not only means access to career options with more financial stability and intellectual challenge, but also increased security of employment for the duration of one’s life.
When we realize this vision, our school will be unique among schools in Chicago—not just in sending 100% of our students to the college of their choice every year (which a handful of schools achieve) but in ensuring that 100% of them complete college within six years of entry. Our school is designed to ensure not only admission to, but also success in and through college so that all students earn their degrees.