Tennis star Andre Agassi founded a school for children with special needs in his hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada in 2001. The Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy began with grades three through five and is now a complete K-through-12 school for at-risk and challenged children.
Agassi Prep, as the special needs school is known, is a model charter school located in Las Vegas' most at-risk area and was founded in part to create a sense of hope for the children of the community. The Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation set forth to raised $40 million to start and build the campus. Students are selected via a computer-based lottery system with preference given to children within a two mile radius of the school, which is in one of Las Vegas' most economically-challenged areas. There are no admission fees or entrance exams to be accepted to the school.
Agassi Prep hires the best teachers, administrators and staff members to teach and help these children with special needs. Classrooms feature top-notch equipment and computers and students get more time to use them. Students at Agassi Prep attend school two more hours daily and ten extra days each year than a typical public school. Parents and guardians are also expected to be active with the school, from checking homework to volunteering at the school.
Special needs students at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy receive a core curriculum of English, math, science, history, physical education, foreign language and the arts. They are also encouraged to participate in cultural activities and get involved in the community. The school's focus is on college preparation and the formula is working. The inaugural graduation class in 2009 saw all 34 members graduate and be accepted to colleges.
Among the special designations Agassi Prep has received are Cox Model Technology School (2001), National Model Charter School by the United States Department of Education (2003), "exemplary" designation for the middle school by the Nevada Department of Education (2005) and "exemplary" designation for the elementary school (2007).