Atlanta, Ga. — Workmen are putting finishing touches this week on Atlanta Public Schools´ two new single-gender academies that open along with the district´s 94 other schools on Monday, August 13.
The Coretta Scott King Young Women´s Leadership Academy and the young men´s B.E.S.T. (Business, Engineering, Science and Technology) Academy at Benjamin S. Carson will be inaugurated with a flourish on Sunday, August 12. The two new grades 6-12 schools are replacing the co-ed grade 6-8 Benjamin S. Carson Honors
Preparatory School, which will be phased out over the next two years.
The inauguration, to be held at Georgia Tech´s Ferst Center for the Arts, will showcase the new students for each school, in uniform, along with their new principals: Melody Morgan for the Coretta Scott King Academy and Curt R. Green for the B.E.S.T. Academy at Benjamin S. Carson.
On hand for the inauguration will be the academies´ major community and business partners — 100 Black Men of Atlanta, the Atlanta
Cluster Chapters of the LINKS, Inc., Morehouse College and Spelman College — and the parents and students from the academies´ five feeder schools — William M. Boyd, William J. Scott, Grove Park, A.D. Williams, and Carter G. Woodson elementary schools. As key partners, 100 Black Men of Atlanta and the Atlanta Cluster of the Links, Inc. will provide resources, mentors and support services.
The opening of the two academies is an historic event for APS because it marks a return to single-gender public education for the Atlanta metropolitan area, as well as the State of Georgia.
APS Superintendent Dr. Beverly L. Hall says the district selected Carson for this transformation to single-gender academies based on the challenging demographics of the community and the need to improve student performance there. "Research is clear," explained Dr. Hall, "that single-gender schools improve academic achievement, significantly increase graduation rates and produce a higher number of students attending college."
Doors to the separate single-gender schools will open for sixth graders on August 13. Each year, another grade of students will be added until, eventually, they each serve students in grades 6 through 12. Each of the schools will have its own faculty and gender-based curriculum.
Boys and girls will still have the opportunity to interact during co-curricular events and activities.
Current Carson seventh- and eighth-grade students will continue to attend the co-ed school until they complete the eighth-grade and move on to high school.