Save Urban Prep, a Black-Managed, Highly Successful Institution
View as Webpage January 17, 2023

As you may be aware, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) recently revoked the charter of Urban Prep Academies’ Bronzeville and Englewood campuses. This was done despite documented facts and metrics that Urban Prep does a far superior job of educating our Black boys than CPS-managed schools in general. CPS plans to take over management of Urban Prep, and potentially close down Urban Prep in the near future.

Urban Prep is appealing to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to provide charters to both campuses in hope that Urban Prep continues as a Black-operated and managed educational institution that successfully educates Black boys and young men.

COAL posits that we, as a community, must fight to ensure that Urban Prep is successful in securing charters from the State, and stop this CPS assault on our community.

Urban Prep is Illinois' only Black organization that manages and operates an educational institution specifically for Black boys in grades 9-12. Closing the schools will have a severely damaging impact on the education of Black boys in Chicago and on its most vulnerable communities.

It will also have negative economic ramifications as it will eliminate over 100 employees, whose demographic makeup is nearly 85% African American. There is only one Urban Prep.

This is why it is critical that we put in the effort and demonstrate the support required to ensure that Urban Prep remains a viable educational Black-operated and managed institution for young Black boys and young men, in our community.

The fight to provide young Black males in Chicago the education they deserve must continue. Urban Prep has been a catalyst and vehicle of proven change. It must survive and thrive. We must preserve, protect and be steadfast in our pursuit to change the trajectory of Black young men who are often seen as a threat and no more than a statistic in today’s society.

Our young men deserve the world; for 17 years Urban Prep has been effective in doing just that, giving our young Black men access to the world, access to opportunity and brighter futures.

COAL strongly asks that you join the fight to save Urban Prep as a Black-operated and independently managed institution that is extremely effective in educating our Black boys to young men.

The Call-to-Action:
  • Please attend the Thursday, January 19, 2023 Hearing to express your support for the State of Illinois chartering Urban Prep Academies. Your attendance is crucial in getting ISBE attention.
  • Please visit to sign the petition to save Urban Prep.
  • Please write a letter of support to the ISBE (see below contact info).
  • Please contact your Alderman, State Rep and State Senator to demand that each expresses their support for Urban Prep Academies securing a charter from the State for each of its three campuses, and that both caucuses, the Chicago City Council Black Caucus and the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus, contact the Illinois State Board of Education to request approval of charters for Urban Prep. We must demand that our elected representatives enjoin the battle.
  • Finally, if your discretionary budget permits a donation of any amount, please make a donation to Urban Prep at

COAL will see you at the Hearing.

COAL Board of Directors
"The time to work seriously and collectively, to improve the state of our Community, is upon us..."
Let's Continue the Work
COAL appreciates the detailed update provided by Mr. Boyd, Jr. and Mr. Lacewell at today's COAL Urban Prep Strategy Session.
Thank you; and thank you to all who participated.
Troy Boyd, Jr.
Dennis Lacewell
For letters of support, here are the names and email addresses of ISBE board members: 

If you email a letter of support to ISBE, please ‘cc’
About COAL
COAL is an umbrella organization founded by 13 of Chicago's historic African American mens clubs. COAL's overarching mission is to identify, examine, illuminate and find resolution to issues impacting the greater community. We strive to use our collective experience, expertise and resources to improve the quality of opportunity, quality of preparedness and the quality of outcomes (expressed as 'quality of life') for our Community.
Founding Member Organizations
100 Black Men Of Chicago ■ Chicago Assembly ■ Chicago Connection ■ Druids Club ■ Frogs Club ■ Lunch Bunch ■ New Committee ■ Original 40 Club Of Chicago ■ Rat Pack ■ Royal Coterie Of Snakes ■ Saints ■ Sigma Pi Phi Beta-Boule ■ UIC Male Forum (now Chicago Good Health Group)
What We Believe
The Coalition of African American Leaders believes that it is important to examine the critical issues confronting the African American community where injustice, inequality and the absence of access and opportunity continue to prevail, thereby negatively impacting us as a people.

COAL is an assemblage that advocates and organizes for appropriate and responsible public policy change, system behavior change and equality of opportunity. We aim to achieve for all of our people the fullness of the life experience without any form of racism or exclusion as a deterrent.

We believe we must prepare ourselves for the opportunity of this full participation, thereby achieving the necessary education and training to participate.
Contact: Clarence Wood, Chairman 312.404.8269 - Craig K. Wimberly, President 773.350.9315
COAL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in Illinois, USA.
Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by U.S. law.