News / USA

    Dallas All-Boys School Lets Young Men Shine

    New academy based on similar program for girls

    The Barack Obama Leadership Academy in Texas will be an all-boys school when classes resume later this month.
    The Barack Obama Leadership Academy in Texas will be an all-boys school when classes resume later this month.

    Multimedia

    Audio
    Bill Zeeble

    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 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, principal of the academy, has been giving many tours of the new school to incoming students and their parents.

    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 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.”

    Nakia Douglas, principal of the Barack Obama Leadership Academy, a new all-boys school in Dallas, Texas.
    Nakia Douglas, principal of the Barack Obama Leadership Academy, a new all-boys school in Dallas, Texas.

    Research by the U.S. Department of Education shows boys get worse grades and drop out more than girls. 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 so that’s what we’re looking forward to here.”

    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. For now, the school teaches grades six through nine.

    Jamarcus Preston, who will be entering 6th grade at Obama Academy, shows off his new school uniform.
    Jamarcus Preston, who will be entering 6th grade at Obama Academy, shows off his new school uniform.

    In addition of offering standard courses like English, history and math, there'll also be Latin, Mandarin, Spanish and aviation classes. College prep courses, along with weekday and weekend leadership sessions, enhance the curriculum.

    “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, 12, wants it all as he enters 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. Safety is also a concern, considering the bad things he’s heard about Oak Cliff, the neighborhood where the school is located.

    "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.

    According to Douglas, the slots will go to deserving students whose character and desire qualify them for entrance into the unique program.

    You May Like

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora