DETROIT (WWJ) – The founder of the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy — a charter school in Detroit that has been described as a “model for urban education” — called WWJ Newsradio 950 on Saturday to give a progress report on the school’s first year in operation.

Former University of Michigan “Fab Fiver” Jalen Rose said so far, the school has been a success story.

“School this year is going great. There’s been some ups and some downs. Anytime you’re dealing with a tuition-free, public charter high school with ninth graders, 120 of them, it’s going to be a learning experience each day. But, our administrations and our staff has worked very hard… everybody has a goal and has a mission to educate the city of Detroit,” said Rose.

And while most students are out of school for the summer, students at the academy are still in the classroom.

“Our school year is 211 days, this is the third semester of the year. Our students get out August third, so they’re working very hard and hopefully them going to school now in the summer, making that sacrifice, gives them an edge in the job market in the future,” he said.

The problems of graduation rates within the Detroit Public Schools has been well documented, with statistics showing that only three out of ten (28%) ninth graders in the DPS system will graduate.

The discouraging statistics are part of the reason why Rose started the academy. He said courses at the school are designed to give students the skills to make it to graduation and beyond.

“We have a flagship leadership course every day. So, beyond just educating our students, we want them to have life skills, social skills, have them be exposed to different businesses, different internships, different opportunities so they can think on a global level,” he said.

“The enrichment experience of a 20-to-1 all day, gives the teachers and students a chance to get up close and personal with the assignment and with 90 minute periods each day. So, it’s rigorous, but that’s what it takes in order to be successful,” he contined.

Rose added that he’s not competing with the Detroit Public Schools, but giving parents and students more choices for a high performing school in the city.

Rose said the academy is currently accepting applications for rising ninth and tenth grade students. For more information and to learn how to apply, visit


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