All-boys charter school makes big academic gains

Rochester, N.Y. - A year-round all-boys charter school in the City of Rochester has exceeded growth expectations in reading and math this school year.

The 9th grade Vertus Charter School students tested at a 5th grade level in reading and math when they began the 2014/2015 school year.

"Today, on average on reading they're doing 7th grade work," said Perry White, co-founder and director of External Affairs at Vertus Charter School. "They've gained two full academic years in our first nine months and they're at mid-to-late 6th grade. They've made a year and a half in math so far. Our goal was 1.5 years in both reading and math so we've exceeded it a bit and we're proud of it."

"We opened Vertus to help inner city boys to graduate from high school prepared for college and careers," said Leigh McGuigan, CEO and co-founder of Vertus. "I couldn't be more proud of our students. These results are just one more indicator that our program is working."

Vertus opened in September 2014 and currently has 90 ninth-grade students enrolled.

The school's approach includes a combination of self-paced and computer-based learning, combined with small learning teams. It's given students like Omar McBride the support he needs to grow as a person and academically.

"Last year if somebody asked me where I would see myself in five years, I probably would have said jail, prison or I would have been gone, because right now I didn't think I should have been alive with all the gangs and stuff like that," said McBride. "But Vertus has helped me a long way I can see myself going to a Division 1 college, school, talking to big people with big names, it's blessed me a lot this school."

McBride explains that knowing people at the school care about him, being supported by a preceptor or mentor, has changed his outlook on his future.

His mom has also seen the change in her son.

"Everything has changed about Omar, from being a timid kid to growing into a young man with leadership skills and that's what they teach him here he has really learned to ask questions to debate, to stand on what he believes is the truth," explained Christina Wofford, Omar's mother. "What has happened he now wants to learn more, he has engaged himself more, he watches more programs on TV that are geared towards education and he wants to look at facts and figures."

Vertus is one of two charter schools recruited to the city by E3 Rochester.

The school plans to grow one grade level each year. There are still open slots for the 2015/2016 school year.

For more information, you can visit the school's website here.

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