A solid building requires a strong foundation. This simple truth guides more than just our working lives. It can be the inspiration for community service and social change.
In that spirit, Charlie Simms recently taught a high school class at the Dayton Early College Academy. DECA is a non-traditional charter high school focused on preparing first-generation urban students to go to college. These kids—the future leaders of Dayton—are critical to building a strong community. Leaders from both the public and private sectors support DECA’s mission to help promising students fulfill their dream of a college education.
Charlie shared a classroom with former Ohio Governor Robert Taft, who serves as a full time instructor at DECA. Charlie’s lesson focused on the housing industry and how it impacts downtown Dayton. Charles Simms Development was one of the first Dayton area builders to take innovative new construction from the suburbs to an urban setting. The breathtaking success of Patterson Square, a community of stylish brick townhomes near RiverScape that sold out in sixteen months, has changed the way people think about living downtown.
DECA was established in 2003 under the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Early College High
School Initiative, with support from the Cincinnati-based KnowledgeWorks Foundation. Located on
the campus of the University of Dayton, DECA was the first early college high school in the state of
Ohio, tenth in the nation, and was named one of the “five most innovative high schools”, according to
the Northwest Evaluation Association.
What makes DECA different is the “we will go to college” mindset. 100% of DECA graduates go on to
pursue higher education.
Since the first student entered that first classroom ten
years ago, DECA graduates have earned over 5,000
college credit hours while in high school, earned $7.6
million in scholarships and grants, and completed 30,340
volunteer service hours.
With 425 students, the school today represents a unique partnership of the DECA Board, the Dayton Public Schools (as sponsor), the University of Dayton (as operator) and Sinclair Community College. DECA serves students who are underrepresented in higher education, unprepared academically to meet college readiness standards, and unable to pay for college.
The revitalization of downtown Dayton is a team effort. By bringing in business leaders like Charlie, DECA shows they understand that these students need real life role models. They need to see that success is happening all around them, right here in Dayton. They are motivated by the knowledge that there’s a big team out there rooting for them, providing support and opportunities, while they work hard to achieve their goals.
We’re all in this together.
Share this Post