Janus College Preparatory & Arts Academies, Inc.  JCPAA, INC.  

             "The place where we nurture your creative gifts"


"Every child should be prepared for a full range of post-secondary options, including college".

JCPAA was founded by educator, Valerie Benton in 2010 as a non-profit community-based organization. For the past twenty years, she has educated, mentored, and assisted urban youth who live in a variety of neighborhoods in the Milwaukee area. Ms. Benton has worked collaboratively with parents and the community developing numerous partnerships with community-based organizations and political leaders of the Milwaukee community over the last ten years.

     Her passion and dedication to providing a quality education to the under-served was the sole reason for her commitment to create a school designed to specifically cater to the needs of middle and high school age students,  pregnant and teen parents. Academics as well as supportive services were a huge part of the curricular program.  Northern Star School (2001-2010), was one of Milwaukee Public Schools early charter schools in the district.  Northern Star staff educated over 350 at-risk students in grades six through nine, including pregnant teens, over-age middle/high school students and students on the verge of dropping out (90% of students were either not attending school or minimally attending).  As a result, ninety-two percent of all students moved to their next grade level, improved attendance, and met district proficiency standards.

      Valerie Benton has been featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel highlighting her work with students she has served, receiving a Teacher of the Year Award in 2009 by Learning For Life in recognition of her school initiative efforts, and has been a guest on radio station WMCS-1290 providing information and educating the public about her school initiatives. In 2004, founder/director Valerie Benton was featured on the John Walsh Show in 2003, and in 2007, the school was featured in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for its unique approach and commitment to assisting teen parents and disadvantaged youth.

     She holds a Bachelors in Social Welfare, a Masters in Educational Administration, and Certified by the State of Wisconsin as a  Professional Educator. She is currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of Janus College Preparatory & Arts Academies, Inc.


 Janus College Preparatory & Arts Academies, Inc.

We wish to launch Janus Liberal Arts High School, an independent school designed to prepare students for a post-secondary education and a career. Here we outline the school’s mission and approach as well as expected outcomes. Our goal is to open by 2020!

Janus College Preparatory & Arts Academies (JCPAA) provides a rigorous college-focused curriculum and a realistic approach to empower students to succeed in college and the global economy


We will accomplish our mission by providing students with:

§  Small learning communities to differentiate instruction based on the unique needs of students at-risk and highly capable.   

§  Daily programming of visual arts, dance, music and theater to provide opportunities for youth to explore their creativity and talents through the arts and instilling critical thinking and problem solving competencies.

§  Supportive services to increase student achievement, graduation rates and college acceptance rates, including college bound counseling, teen parenting support, nutrition and wellness and employment preparation.


      The learning process, in which students experience, explore/imitate, describe, label, practice create, and then maintain; is the key to teaching for higher order thinking. This learning process not only demands hands-on, brains-on teaching and learning, it is the process through which the arts are naturally assimilated and learned. Therefore, by teaching in, about, and through the arts, the arts become the lab for learning in all disciplines. They also become the avenue for learning how to learn throughout life.

                                       School Design:  Liberal Arts Education  

Comprehensive Art Education - as research confirms, arts education provides an important outlet for creative expression, strengthens performance in math and science and instills critical-thinking skills in youth as they prepare for success in college careers.

College Preparatory Programs - aim to increase college access, particularly for those students who are least likely to enroll. Some college preparatory programs focus on increasing academic readiness, college admission and financial aid. This program involves families and mentors, and others incorporate service  learning or recreational activities.


Approach: Small Learning Communities, the Arts & Supportive Services

Small Learning Communities- focus on specific transition periods.

Janus Freshman Academy, Grade 9, is the transitional program provided for students in 9th grade that are beginning their first year of high school. During this critical transition year, students will develop study habits and behaviors that lead to success in college, careers, and community life.

Janus College Preparatory Academy, Grades 10 & 11, targets students in their second and third year of high school with a college-bound curriculum. All students participate in the AVID college-readiness system and in the Pre-College ACT Prep and ACT Test Taking Experience programs.

Janus Senior Academy Grade 12, targets students in their final year of high school, when they are required to consider colleges, part-time jobs and careers. Students choose an art "major" to focus on as a possible career.  

Comprehensive Arts Education will allow young people opportunities to explore their creativity and talents through the visual arts, dance, music and theater.  As research confirms, arts education provides an important outlet for creative expression, strengthens performance in math and science and instills critical-thinking skills in youth as they prepare for success in college and careers.   

Supportive Services address the varied and unique needs of our students by providing mentoring,after-school support and activities and career resources.


How you can HELP!  

§  Learn!  Be our guest at one of our planning meetings or fund raising events.

§  Donate! Help us establish financial strength through pledges and donations.