About Us » History of the School

History of the School

Uplift was born out of over 25 years of struggle for affordable housing, decent health care, and quality education in Uptown. Twenty five years ago, parents all over Chicago began a movement to make sure that their children got a world class education. In Uptown, even as parents picketed, protested, and sued for better housing conditions they also got involved in their children's schools. They formed committees and joined Local School Councils, educating themselves so they could demand the best for their children. They fought for an Uptown high school that would better serve the needs and interests of the students. They were united and organized to make the community a better place for their children.
Some of those children have grown up to become dedicated teachers. Their experiences growing up in Uptown led them to a commitment of providing an outstanding education to children of their own community. They came to Arai Middle School with a proposal that includes before and after school programs, a plan to build connections with parents, and most of all, a high standard college preparatory program. The proposal, now known as Uplift, did not receive funding so it sat on the shelf while those teachers worked hard with their own students raising test scores with a demanding academic program.
When the Board of Education decided to close Arai the team recruited other teachers, middle school and high school, as well as a dynamic and new principal. They all worked together to update the original proposal, creating the Uplift we know today; a college preparatory program connected to the community and designed to develop in students a commitment to making a positive difference in their community and the world.
As we continue to look ahead, we reflect back on the inevitable challenges that go with starting a new school. However, the numerous successes that have been accomplished give us the hope and strength to continue what we have started while overcoming any obstacles that may lie ahead.
Uplift is rooted in a strong, proud, and just history - and you are a part of it!