History & Campus Partnerships

In November of 1987, Education Secretary William J. Bennett called Chicago's public schools the worst in the nation and encouraged parents to consider private schools for their children. (To learn more, read here) This, pronouncement, following an earlier report titled A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform (a 1983 report by President Ronald Reagan’s National Commission on Excellence in Education) became the impetus for school reform movements in Chicago. By the early 90’s, this call for reform provided the push for school choice (charters and vouchers) and alternative teaching routes such as Teach for America. By 1996, reform had finally caught on in Chicago and the first legislation for charter schools was passed in 1997. As the first call for charter proposals (RFPs) in Chicago opened, Michael Milkie (then a Chicago Public School math teacher) – via his Right Angle Foundation-submitted a proposal.
 
After failing in his initial bid, by Mike Milkie and (soon to be wife) Tonya founded the original Noble Street campus. (To learn more about the history of Noble, read here). The Noble concept was founded on a simple idea of a “culture first” environment. With a laser sharp focus on character education, consistently following through on school rules, and high behavioral expectations, Mike and Tonya saw immediate results in academic gains. In the 18 years since, we have evolved from a single school to a network of 17 non-selective campuses serving over 12,000 students. In 2015, Noble earned National recognition as the 2015 winner of the Broad Prize for Public Charter Schools. In our most recent school year, we graduated nearly 2,000 seniors from the network, with 100% of our seniors accepted to college, and 98% of our seniors accepted to 4-year schools. Based on national data for student matriculation and college graduation, of the students who graduate from high poverty high schools, about 18 percent will earn bachelor’s degrees within 6 years of high school graduation. This is the reality our students face. Since 1999, Noble was created with the aim to change these statistics for Chicago students who come from similar backgrounds. We are proud to announce that the Class of 2017 is projected to graduate from college within 6 years at a 53 percent rate—nearly triple the national rate. Noble students are truly proving what is possible for students from under resourced communities throughout the city and throughout the country. Noble and Pritzker believe we can continue to change the narrative about our communities and our students and provide an excellent education that allows for our students to earn college degrees and lead choice-filled lives.
 
Founded in 2006, Pritzker College Prep was one of the first expansion campuses of the Noble Network (Rauner College Prep opened the same year). Here is our story:
 
In 2003, our founding principal Pablo Sierra stumbled upon Noble in his quest for an open enrollment, public school in Chicago that produced great results. As fortune would have it, his principal training with New Leaders led him to an internship at Noble Street College Prep. Even though Noble had yet to graduate a senior class, during his first 15 minutes at Noble, Pablo came to understand that this was to be the game-changer in
urban education. After co-authoring an expansion plan for Noble, in 2006 he founded one of two expansion campuses, Pritzker College Prep. We opened our doors to 155 freshmen that year, and when this founding class graduated in 2010, we realized one of our first stated goals: to get the first Noble student into an Ivy League –The University of Pennsylvania.
 
As a young boy who attended Chicago Public Schools, Pablo knows intimately the struggles that our students face and refuses to let that stand in the 

way of their future successes. It was perhaps inevitable that Pablo’s professional career would someday turn full circle from a career in Business with an MBA to the service of u
nder-served urban students. 11 years after Pritzker first opened its doors, he still serves as the Principal of Pritzker College Prep, which now serves over 900 students every year as they begin their path towards college. 
 
We have hit a point at Pritzker where our alumni community is larger than the population that we serve within our school, and as we learn and grow from our past, we keep our students, current and alumni, at the heart of every decision we make. Our support doesn’t stop at graduation day; our goal is college graduation, not acceptance. Through our Alumni team, we continue to support our students through college graduation and career placement.
 
 

“At Noble, high expectations are the norm. We cultivate in students the scholarship, discipline and honor necessary to succeed in college and beyond.

Penny Pritzker, Chairman of PSP Capital Partners