About Us

Progressive Leadership Academy (formerly Charles Houston High School) offers opportunities to get back on track by completing classes needed to get a diploma. Our mission is to reduce high school dropout rates, increase academic achievement and learning through competency based instruction, and empower students by preparing them for the next stage in life.

A CPS Level 1+ High School

Welcome to Progressive Leadership Academy

We provide a wide range of academic & extracurricular activities that encourage students to discover & build on their strengths. Our students are amazing! They excel in academics, the arts, athletics, & STEM.

PLA is a community-based learning campus which offers opportunities to complete classes needed for a high schol diploma. We provide flexible scheduling, dual credit/dual enrollment courses, career assessments, employment placement services, & students only need 18 credits for graduation.

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Not just an ALTERNATIVE, but an ADVANTAGE

Our teachers, all certified and rated as “highly qualified” by the State of Illinois, are themselves “lifelong learners” who continually seek creative and innovative ways to engage our students and enliven subject matter through real-world connections. We have redesigned our school to create a learning atmosphere that will show the commitment we think is important for our students.

At Progressive Leadership Academy, we offer a wide variety of educational strategies & programs that give at-risk high school students who have failed a class, or been sidtracked in other ways, the opportunity to redo coursework or retake a course through alternate means, & thereby avoid failure & earn academic credit if the student successfully completes the course requirements.

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Our history

YCCS meets the individual needs of students through programs committed to academic excellence, human development, cultural enrichment, & social equity.

1997

Y.C.C.S IS FOUNDED. Y.C.C.S is chartered by the state of Illinois in partnership with a consortium of 28 community-based organizations in the city of Chicago.

2000

1,336 GRADUATED. The Y.C.C.S Board implements a number of innovative initiatives, including our Math Science & Enrichment Academies.

2002

The Chicago City Council & Mayor Daley publicly recognize Y.C.C.S, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, for our achievements in serving Chicago’s at-risk youth.

2004

2,500 ENROLLED. Y.C.C.S implements Quality School Measures, & develops and provides occupational skill training on-site on one of our campuses.

2006

5,927 CUMULATIVE GRADUATES. Y.C.C.S is a leader in the development of a state-wide task force on Growth Models for high schools serving at-risk youth.

2009

NEW VIRTUAL HIGH SCOOL. Y.C.C.S opens a brick & mortar campus offering online education for students who are under-credited & over-aged.

2015

RENEWED FOR 4th TIME. Our charter is renewed for another five year contract with 20 campuses. We achieve a Level-One rating on the C.P.S S.Q.R.P.

2015

YCCS EARNS TOP PERFORMANCE. Y.C.C.S performs at a Level-One rating on the C.P.S S.Q.R.P rating for the second consecutive year.

20000

Graduates since 1997

Level 1+

SQRP Performance

15:1

Student to Teacher Ratio

Career Pathways

PLA strives to make sure that all programs are intersting, exciting & relevant to the real world, to not only transform youth into productive individuals, but also to spark intellectual curiosity & develop a capacity for participation in their futurre communities.


PLA provides its students with a world-class education in an urban setting. Our curriculum provides an opportunity for YCCS students to graduate with a diploma & confidence to demonstrate their mastery of the core competencies that are essential for academic & personal success. Every student is prepared for college, careers & beyond.


Student Life - Activities & Clubs

Our afterschool programs are offered in the following 4 primary content areas: Arts (dance, photography, & food preperation), Communications & Leadership (social media, video editing, & community organizing), Sports (Basketball, Cheerleading, Boxing), & STEM (computer programming, repair, & robotics).