The Work-It-Out Pilot Project (WIO) converted a vacant school building and grounds (the former Horace Mann Elementary School) into a model neighborhood educational and job-training resource for youth ages 16-21 that have left high school without a diploma. The project focuses on young people who are educationally, politically, and economically disenfranchised.


Our mission is to equip young people between the
ages of 16 and 21 that have left high school without
a diploma, with the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, social habits and life skills needed to become empowered and knowledgeable citizens, actively engaged in their communities.


Working with community members, businesses and public/private organizations, the Work-It-Out Pilot Project (WIO) positions young people to improve
their quality of life through five (5) strategic programs. Central to achieving WIO goals is the successful planning, execution and implementation of a non- traditional, small school model with an emphasis on personalization, collaboration, social action and learning experiences relevant to students lived experiences. Our integrated, project-based curriculum is designed around three key principles that research on effective small schools suggest is critical to the young people we serve:

Rigor: A challenging academic program preparing all youth for college, work and citizenship;

Relevance: Learning experiences that students find engaging and meaningful to their current and future lives;

Relationships: Small schools provide the opportunity for students and teachers to know each other well which results in close and supportive bonds among students and faculty.

During our first year of operation, we put in place
the infrastructure necessary to establish a small school model to carry out our mission through five (5) strategic programs:

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