The Dayton Early College Academy was established in 2003 under the Bill and Melinda Gates Early College High School Initiative and with support from their Ohio-based intermediary, KnowledgeWorks Foundation. Located on the campus of the University of Dayton, DECA was opened as a Dayton Public School in partnership with the University of Dayton, and reorganized as a charter school in July 2007. DECA was the first early college high school in Ohio, one of the first 19 in the nation, and named one of the five most innovative high schools in the nation according to WestEd! In 2008, the junior high was added in an effort to better prepare students for the rigors of high school and more advanced classes. The junior high school is housed on the University of Dayton campus along with the high school. DECA primarily serves junior and senior high school students who are underrepresented in higher education, unprepared academically to meet college readiness standards, and unable to pay for college. In 2010-2011, DECA received an Excellent With Distinction rating on the Ohio Report Card. Recently, DECA was named on the U.S. News and World Report’s list of Best High Schools in the Country. The DECA Board of Trustees decided to pursue a K-6 charter elementary school as a result of requests from parents, faculty, and other community members. With help from the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation (as sponsor) and a Race to the Top Innovation grant, DECA PREP will open its doors for the 2012-2013 school year with a solid commitment to provide students quality instruction along with a foundation of character development. This Dayton Original is focused on preparing first-generation urban students to go to college!