School starts in about a week, and some Lubbock students are getting ready to go to the first single gender public school in the city.
When Lubbock Independent School District approved the creation of an all girls public school last year, one of only four in the state, Kim Perry knew she wanted to work there. "Whether I got to teach here or whether I was the principal here, in some form or fashion I just knew I wanted to be a part of it," said Perry.
She is the first principal of the school for young women leaders. "Single gender education has definitely some very positive benefits. You remove a lot of the distractions," Perry added.
The school opens to sixth and seventh graders this year, and is funded like any other school in L.I.S.D., but they receive an additional million dollar grant from the Foundation for the Education of Young Women.
"We have funding to go on field trips and school trips to provide a well rounded education," said Perry.
The students went through an application process to attend the school, including an essay and teacher recommendations.
Perry said, "We have three basic foundations to our school, this is a college preparatory school, we are going to work on leadership development, through service and serving the community. Also we are going to focus on health and wellness."
About 140 sixth grade girls applied for the school's first year, but only 75 are accepted per class. "Exciting to see all the new stuff, and the classes, and middle school," said Lauren Lopez, one of the school's first students.
Perry says single gender education isn't the only thing that sets the school apart. The teachers will have the latest in technology as far as instructional materials, like smart boards. They are boards that act as dry erase boards or giant computer screens in the classroom. L.I.S.D. will also provide each girl with a laptop to use while in class.
The girls start school 30 minutes earlier than other L.I.S.D. students. That provides ninety hours of additional instruction time each year, but Perry says the schools goals go beyond academics. "Adolescence is challenging, and so another goal that we have for our students is to teach them how to love themselves, how to understand more about what it is to grow up and to have more responsibilities, and to take care of themselves," she said.
Though the school is only ready for sixth and seventh graders, the district plans to add a grade each year until they have students in grades six through twelve.
If you're wondering about an all-boys school, Perry says a grant from the Foundation for the Education of Young Women made the all girls school possible, so if a grant was provided for an all boys public school, the district would be just as interested.
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