MADISON, Wis., March 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, One City Schools' Board of Directors announced its plans to purchase a 157,000 square foot facility for $12 million from WPS Health Solutions to serve as the permanent home for its innovative K-12 public charter schools. One City Elementary School currently enrolls children in grades 4K - 2 and will add third and fourth grades this fall. One City has also been conditionally approved by its charter school authorizer, the University of Wisconsin System's Office of Educational Opportunity, to open its 6 – 12 grade One City Preparatory Academy in September 2022.
One City Prep will offer a unique Early College and Career Preparatory Program that will enable students to complete credits towards earning associates and bachelor's degrees, and industry certifications, beginning in ninth grade, at no expense to its students. Beginning in 6th grade, building on its current project-based learning model, students will begin exploring careers, addressing community and social issues, and considering new ideas and solutions to problems confronting education, business, industry and society.
One City currently enrolls 167 children in its preschool and elementary school and has received international recognition for its preschool and national recognition for its elementary school. For example, in January 2021, One City's school-based COVID-19 testing program was featured in a national Rockefeller Foundation funded study on early adopters of COVID testing to keep children in school. One City Elementary is the only public school that opened, and has remained open, since this school year began in September 2020.
One City's purchase of a building on WPS' campus has been made possible by a generous donation of $14 million by Madison Philanthropist Pleasant Rowland. This is Ms. Rowland's second major gift to One City Schools. In August 2019, Ms. Rowland contributed $5 million to help stabilize One City's operating budget so it could implement the core of its innovative education programs.
One City Founder and CEO, Kaleem Caire, said "This is an extraordinary moment for One City Schools, for the Greater Madison community, and for Wisconsin. As a city and state that has maintained the largest school achievement gap in the country between Black and White students for at least two decades, Ms. Rowland's tremendous contribution gives us the opportunity to continue with our mission to seed a new model of public education that ensures young children are on track to succeed in a college or career preparatory program from birth through high school graduation."
Caire further stated, "We are going to ensure that our children achieve to their full potential and are prepared to pursue their post-secondary education and career goals before they leave our nest. Moreover, we will continue to serve as a model of what 'our community can do' to help all of our children thrive. We owe it to our children to give them every chance to succeed in life, before they are expected to fly on their own."
WPS CEO, Michael Hamerlik, shared his strong support for One City's purchase of the building. "We have admired One City's growth and progress since they first opened with their preschool in 2015. We also appreciate and are excited about their mission and will be happy to have them as neighbors to our WPS campus. The message One City is sending – that we can help our children overcome life's challenges and obstacles, if we give them a great education and do it together, is one we are proud to be a part of."
By the fall of 2024, One City will enroll a minimum of 954 children, from age 2 through 12th grade: 66 children at its preschool facility in South Madison and 888 students at the new 1707 W. Broadway facility. The total cost of transforming the WPS facility into a school facility, from purchasing the building to completing necessary renovations and building a gymnasium and outdoor play space for students, is projected to be $20 - $22 million.
To date, more than 2,500 financial donors and more than 300 volunteers have contributed to One City Schools growth and success.
About One City Schools
One City Schools, Incorporated is a nonprofit organization that operates two schools: a tuition-based independent preschool that serves 2 and 3-year-olds and a tuition-free public charter schools, authorized by the University of Wisconsin System, that will eventually enroll children from 4-year-old kindergarten through 12th grade. This fall, One City's elementary and preschool will enroll 302 children. One City's preschool is the first early childhood education center outside of Mainland China to offer the internationally recognized and award winning Anji Play early childhood program (http://www.anjiplay.com). Its elementary school is the only public school in Wisconsin offering both a longer school day and longer school year. Students attend school for 219 days compared to 180 days at other public schools in Wisconsin. They also attend school for 8.75-hours per day Tuesday through Friday (from 8:15am – 5:00pm) with early release at 2pm on Mondays, compared to 6.5 hours of school-time typically offered by other public schools in our state. The extra time enables One City to extend the learning of its students and offer a pace and depth of learning that is appropriate and meaningful for each child.