NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas participated in the inaugural graduation ceremony of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy. They started as the first “Fab” freshman class at Detroit’s Jalen Rose Leadership Academy (JRLA) in 2011, with the dream of someday attending college. On Saturday, June 6, members of the inaugural graduating class will officially graduate making that dream a reality. One hundred percent of the graduating class has gained college, trade/technical school or military acceptance.
JRLA is one of the few high schools in Detroit that works aggressively to raise funds for private scholarship dollars for its students. In addition, several students received full-ride scholarships to the schools of their choice, including University of Michigan, University of Michigan-Dearborn and Michigan State University. Many received partial academic scholarships as well, with the total amount of gift aid for the Class of 2015 exceeding $2.1 million.
The graduation ceremony will include several well-known speakers, including JRLA Founder Jalen Rose, NBA Hall of Fame Guard Isiah Thomas, Honorable Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer, Sr. (1994-2001) and a special surprise celebrity guest.
The Jalen Rose Leadership Academy is an open enrollment, college-prep public charter high school in Northwest Detroit. Focused on a 9-16 model, the Academy employs a College Success Counselor, who works with students through all four years to prepare them to enroll in college and secure financial support during their Senior Year, as well as an Alumni Success Counselor who will provide support during college.
Class: Class of 2015
School Motto: Enter a Learner: Exit a Leader.
School Mascot: Jaguar
JRLA Mission Statement:
Jalen Rose Leadership Academy will empower all scholars to develop the strength of character, skills, and knowledge needed to matriculate, be great in, and graduate from college so that they have opportunities to be successful in the competitive world and to take care of themselves and the people that they love.
JRLA Statement of the Academy Values:
Respect and Honor– All relationships begin with respect. Administrators and teachers, teachers and students, students and families, and all relationships therein practice the value of respect. From the beginning, through the middle, and to the end, respect is the foundation for discipline and learning.
Discipline– Discipline is a foundational element in the process of teaching and learning. Order must be implanted before students can learn. The hallways, classrooms, auditoriums, and all school space will have ordered expectations and follow through before, during, and after school whether classes are in session or not. All teachers and administrators will work as one team positively employing the Student Code of Conduct with its Discipline Code and Dress Code.
Joy in Learning– The mission is not easy. The hours are long. The dedication is immense. The more joy we experience in the classrooms and auditoriums as students accumulated and develop content, skill, and will, the less laborious and daunting the mission is.
Hard Work, Will, Persistence, Grit, Diligence, Determination– As Malcolm Gradwell’s Outliers argues, the equation for success is as simple as combining opportunity and hard work. At JRLA, students will be given the opportunity to succeed. The school will have some of the best systems and teachers in the country. JRLA will pave the path for students to succeed. Students simply need the will to stand up and walk the path, the persistence to stand up when they fall down, the grit to walk again when they are broken, and the diligence to always go forward.
Problems Have Solutions– In the mission of graduating from college, barriers, obstacles, and set-backs are as common as the rising sun. The key difference between higher performing schools, adults, and students, is the ability to find solutions to the problems that ceaselessly enter our every day.
Family and Team– In order for the school and individuals to meet our mission, we must all work together and support each other. Our mission is not easy; however, it is worth it and can only be manifested through all adults and students positively supporting each other towards our goals and mission.
Lifelong Learning– An apocryphal quote of Confucius is, “It takes 10 years to cultivate a tree. It takes a lifetime to cultivate a person.” Although the source of the quote is dubious, we believe that all people at JRLA, staff and student alike, need to ceaselessly cultivate themselves to continue to discover the beauty and magnificence that lives within us all.
Leadership– Students enter as learners at JRLA. They learn first to follow positively. Soon, they learn to lead positively. They leave JRLA as leaders bound and determined to finish his or her mission.
Curiosity for the Investigation of Things– There is amazement and beauty in all subjects and exercises. It is the pursuit of a JRLA scholar is to have a steadfast diligent mind that is able to unlock the mysteries and wonderment within any of these topics.
Mission Oriented– The mission is not easy. It takes sacrifice, failure, and diligence. However, the journey and goal are worth it. To stand after setback and to continue after heartbreak, one must be on a mission to complete the mission.