NEW YORK, Dec. 14, 2022— Wichita’s Urban Preparatory Academy, the only African American private school in Kansas, has won national recognition as one of America’s most innovative and effective education providers in the annual competition for the $1 million Yass Prize, education’s largest and most prestigious award.

Urban Preparatory, with a focus on character and community engagement, was singled out for providing all students with individual learning plans to get them reading on grade level and beyond. The school’s efforts have translated into a 100% acceptance rate into private high schools.

One of nine finalists for the Yass Prize, the school received a $500,000 STOP Award, recognizing highly successful education programs that are sustainable, transformational, outstanding and “permissionless” (meaning government approval isn’t needed for the program to carry out its mission). The award was presented at a banquet at the New York Hilton in midtown Manhattan earlier tonight.

“We were thrilled to find these education changemakers and are grateful to be able to reward their extraordinary creativity, tenacity and achievements, and to help them build for the future. We should be giving every educator in the nation the freedom the Yass Prize winners have to tailor education to the needs of children, and give every parent the opportunity to choose specialized learning environments like these,

Janine Yass, Founder with her husband Jeff, of the Yass Prize

“After 25 years and countless dollars in charitable giving, this is by far the most impactful thing we have ever done with our resources,” added Mrs. Yass.

Formally called the Yass Prize for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless Education, the annual prize exists to recognize and reward outstanding education providers and to amplify their work through financial support, collaboration, coaching, encouragement and an extensive mentorship network.

The Center for Education Reform (CER), Washington, DC, administers the prize and houses the Yass Foundation for Education.

Jeanne Allen, director of the Yass Foundation and founder and CEO of CER, said the awards program is helping to build a “critical mass of innovation and success” beyond the confines of America’s troubled public-school systems and capturing the attention and interest of thousands of educators and parents who want to be freed from bureaucracy to serve students in unique and innovative ways.

“Through Janine and Jeff’s extraordinary generosity, we can not only reward the best-in-class providers who deliver outstanding education when it is most needed, but provide a benchmark for all to emulate,” said Allen. “We are proud to celebrate      the type of innovative work that will chart the future for sustainable and transformational opportunities for students—in permissionless settings.”