An all-boys charter school, believed to be the first school of its kind in western New York, will open next fall in Rochester. University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men, or U-Prep, will begin with grades seven and eight in September and add a class each year.
The school will be housed at Nazareth Hall on Raines Park. University Prep has an agreement to purchase the school from the Sisters of St. Joseph. Students currently enrolled at Nazareth Hall will move to the Nazareth Academy Campus on Lake Avenue.
Joe Munno, who spent 36 years as a teacher and administrator at Marshall High School, has spent the past two years on the charter school project. He will be U-Prep’s principal.
Munno said girls have a history of outperforming boys when it comes to academics and graduation and believes the charter school will help more city boys finish high school.
"Young fellas in the city, in the city school district, they're dropping out of school for a lot of reasons. That's one of the things I want to attack in this school,” Munno said. “I want to keep boys in high school, get them graduated, but more importantly make sure they have the skills to move on to the next in their lives and I'm hoping it's college for most of them."
Munno plans on an expeditionary learning curriculum. It's something he believes will keep the boys' interest and help them succeed academically.
“It's very project-based,” he said. “We'll be in the community; boys will see that the projects have a start and a finish. I think that's important. Boys like to work through steps and see an outcome that's positive. Expeditionary learning will bring out the best in our boys."
Munno said the school will also have a strong athletic program. He believes sports are important to preparing students for what they will face later in life.
As a former coach at Aquinas and Marshall, Munno said many of the young men he helped get into college would leave within a couple of months because they weren’t prepared.
Tony Jordan, vice president of the school's board of directors, said he can relate. Jordan went from East High to Kansas State University on a football scholarship and remembers how difficult that transition was for him.
“That's one of the things that we're going to be able to address with this school because we will expose young people to college,” Jordan explained. “It's not going to be foreign soil to them. They won't make their first appearance on a college campus at the day of admissions. They will have been there, they will have met people, students, professors and have some comfort with that."
Class sizes will be limited to 75 students per grade. So far, 15 boys have applied and U-Prep has yet to hold an open house.
For more information on University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men, call 585-789-8888 or click the link below.
University Preparatory Charter School for Young Men