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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid