Adobe Stock Image.

Aldine ISD announced its newest Choice School, a leadership academy focused on the development of young men of color from grades one through eight.

In partnership with Prairie View A&M University, the academy is set to open during the 2022-2023 school year as an extension of the district’s five-year strategic plan, A New Way Forward. 

According to Aldine officials, the academy was born out of its dedication to identifying significant gaps in its focus on Black and Brown male students. Based on student performance data, Aldine ISD had to take a different approach to create better outcomes for the young men at a faster rate. 

Changing the paradigm

Dr. LaTonya M. Goffney, superintendent of Aldine ISD, discussed how the leadership academy will change the narrative in regard to poor academic performance statistics that often plague young children of color.  

“When we look at our males, specifically African American and Hispanic…and how they’re performing in literacy and reading in third grade it is alarming,” she said. “We know that early intervention is key. What a great time to intervene in the first grade and provide them with the preparation they’re going to need to take advantage of the different choices in high school…and ultimately graduate with access to those opportunities afterward.”

Partnership with Prairie View

PVAMU President Dr. Ruth Simmons said such academies are important. Her prior experience as a president of a women’s college helped her realize that there are things that one can do in a single-gender environment to address issues that are much harder to do in a co-ed environment.

Goffney stated that there was no other university or partner that Aldine ISD would rather be hand in hand with because PVAMU has shown what is possible when you have the right people and the right work to help marginalized groups. 

Dr. Tyrone Tanner, dean of Graduate Studies at PVAMU, said the university will provide mentors for the students, campus experience and professional development for the educators.

Academy location

Adrian Bustillos, chief transformation officer at Aldine ISD, said the district plans to utilize its campus, will announce the location in the coming months and is undergoing a process to find the right fit.

Enrollment

On Saturday, Nov. 6, Aldine ISD will host a Choice Schools Festival at the M.O Campbell Educational Center Arena, 1865 Aldine Bender, for families to explore options for the 2022-2023 school year and learn about the application process.

Applications will be available online on the Aldine ISD website as well. The district hopes to secure each grade level with 125 male students. If they exceed the number of slots, a lottery system will be held. The academy will also be open to young men outside of the district. For information visit www.aldineisd.org

Laura Onyeneho covers the city’s education system as it relates to Black children for the Defender Network as a Report For America Corps member. Email her at laura@defendernetwork.com