School of the Week: Osborn College Preparatory Academy

The new and improved 4-8-2-0-5

It is no secret that to obtain many high-powered, in-demand and high-paying careers, you need to hit the books. Students like Kristina Young, a junior at Osborn College Preparatory Academy, says she plans to become an obstetrician and make her mark on the world by delivering babies. The 16-year-old has already calculated that she will need to complete 10 or more years of schooling before reaching her goal. While this may seem overwhelming to some students, Young says she doesn’t think twice about it because it will make her dream a reality.

Young is one of many students at Osborn College Prep, which is included in Detroit Public Schools’ portfolio of nine self-governing schools, who understands that to succeed in our ever-changing society it will take hard work, dedication, and a commitment to being the best.

According to Principal Senta Ray-Conley, Osborn College Prep is a small community high school housing roughly 213 inquisitive, bright minds. To ensure those minds are constantly being challenged to think critically and proficiently, Osborn College Prep also has a core set of teachers who have been with the program since the start with some of those instructors holding an 18-year or more record at Osborn.

The school’s theme is entrepreneurship. Principal Conley says that she and her staff are currently working hard at redirecting the school’s curriculum to focus on strong entrepreneurship and leadership skills.

“We are getting our students to buy into what they are learning. When students engage around a central topic, they are able to formulate their thoughts, think critically, and perform well on assessments – but mostly perform well in life,” Conley says.

With the curriculum redirection, Osborn College Prep students are able to lead by example as they devote time to their community, as well as younger students who will soon be in their shoes as they enter high school.

An active group of Osborn College Prep junior and senior volunteers participate in the “buildOn” program at Pulaski Elementary-Middle School. buildOn is a service learning program that organizes students in challenging areas to embrace and encourage their communities through local services. The high school volunteers are able to work one-on-one with the elementary-middle school students as part of a reading and mentoring program. Osborn students visit Pulaski once a month for nearly three hours to assist teachers with comprehension and literacy tutoring.

“Many Osborn students engage in more than 25 hours of volunteerism a month. We even have a student, Timberly Williams, who currently holds the most volunteer hours in the nation,” Conley says.

Dannielle Young, an 11th grade student at Osborn, explains that she gains more than just community service hours with her participation through the buildOn program, but also a strong sense of community involvement and awareness.

“I’m in the buildOn program for the great community service hours, but I’m also in it for the interaction we have with our community. We have so much fun supporting the Osborn community, cleaning up the neighborhoods and doing much more than we’ve ever imagined. That’s why I love being in the buildOn program,” Young explains.

The staff and students at Osborn College Prep agree that in order for their school to succeed, their community has to succeed as well.

“Osborn doesn’t deserve the reputation that everyone perceives it to have. I feel like when I enter Osborn, I am in a whole new environment, and it is up to us to lead by example,” says Young.

According to Chris Lambert, President of Life Remodeled, a non-profit organization with a mission to remodel lives one neighborhood at a time, the Osborn Campus was recently announced to become the next stop for the Life Remodeled beautification project.

In a six-day period, Life Remodeled and more than 10,000 volunteers will revamp the Osborn Campus, as well as hundreds of blocks in the surrounding Osborn neighborhood, to further assist in rebuilding the community as a whole.

“We are blessed to have the opportunity to have Life Remodeled come to Osborn,” Conley says.

In 2013, Life Remodeled committed to remodeling one DPS school per summer. Starting with the Cody Campus in fall 2014, dozens of partners, volunteers, donors and students caused a transformation of the school campus as well as the Cody-Rouge community revealing new classrooms, neighborhood beautification and a brand new football field.

Something you didn’t know:

The 2014 Osborn College Prep graduating class was awarded $3.9 million in scholarships. Students have been accepted to colleges and universities including: WSU, OU, MSU, Akron, Alabama State and more.

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