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Dallas all-boys school lets young men shine

[ 2011-08-17 14:44]     字号 [] [] []  
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Dallas all-boys school lets young men shine

Most publicly-supported schools in the United States are co-ed, but there are some exceptions. In Dallas, Texas, an all-girls school, which opened in 2004, has consistently graduated stellar students.

Now, the Dallas school district hopes its new all-boys school - the Barack Obama Leadership Academy - will do the same for boys when the school year resumes later this month.


Nakia Douglas is giving one of the many tours of the new school to incoming students and their parents. He is the principal at the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy.

Douglas was appointed, in part, because he used to be the kind of student this school wants.

Boys only need apply

"I was born and raised in south Dallas by a single parent," he says. "I was a neighborhood child. I was that child that I would work if I knew the teacher believed in me. But at the same time, I had a hunger and desire for more. A lot of our young men have that hunger and desire and ability now."

Dallas all-boys school lets young men shine

Research by the US Department of Education shows boys get worse grades and drop out more than girls of the same age. Studies have also found that boys mature more slowly than girls, and learn in different ways.

Combine that research with the age-old argument that boys are distracted by girls enough to interrupt learning, and Dallas school officials decided on this boys school approach. After all, they said, it worked for girls, why not for boys?

Kendell Keeter's daughter just graduated from the Dallas School District's only all girls' school.

"Our thought was to also give our son an opportunity that would best prepare him for college in the same manner she was prepared," he says, "and I can't imagine any other option that would have prepared her better."

It's what a lot of these parents, like Madeline Hayes, say they are looking for, too.

"This is something, as cheesy as it sounds, but what I've always dreamed about, that there will be a boy's school that doesn't charge $25,000 a year, but would give the same academics, the same level of interaction and leadership."

Elite students

Obama Academy, like the other magnet schools in Dallas - and other Texas cities - is not for everyone.

To be accepted, students must get good grades and pass a battery of academic tests. The school teaching grades six through nine for now will offer standard courses like English, history and math, but also Latin, Mandarin, Spanish and aviation classes..

Dallas all-boys school lets young men shine

There will be college prep courses, and says Douglas, weekday and weekend leadership sessions.

"Our young men grow together. But all of our young men we call 'brother.' So it may be Brother Malyk Davis or Brother Sam Keeter," says Douglas. "The young men understand they are their brother's keeper. And so the young men are really learning to be responsible not only for themselves but also for their brothers here at the campus."

Madeline Hayes's son, Kelvin, wants it all. He is 12, entering 7th grade.

"I've always wanted a higher academic purpose, always wanted somebody to challenge me when I make mistakes. I can learn from them," says Kelvin. "Then classes like science, computers, robotics, I enjoy them, especially robotics, building new technology. Because when I grow up I want to be an engineer."

When Malyk Davis, 14, grows up, he wants to cook. He's already been mentored by a professional chef and will study culinary arts at Obama. But the suburban resident admits he's still unsure about the boys-only aspect of the school, or safety, based on the bad things he's heard about Oak Cliff, the neighborhood where it is in.

"I was thinking about like I'm going to an all-boy school. Am I going to deal with this? Plus it is in Oak Cliff. But once I began to look at the options that they were having, I think I'm really going to enjoy this," he says. "It's going to be a long and tough road, but as long as I'm graduating in 2015, that's all that matters to me."

Unlike Dallas's other select magnet schools, which require high entrance scores, 10-to-15 percent of the seats at Obama Academy are reserved for boys who don't meet all of its academic requirements.

Douglas says the slots will go to deserving students whose character and desire qualify them.

magnet school: a public school offering a specialized curriculum, often with high academic standards, to a student body representing a cross section of the community 精英中学

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No girls allowed: public school tries single sex classes



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(来源:VOA 编辑:崔旭燕)