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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid