Parents speak out on AISD boys-only school proposal

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist DATHAN HULL

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on November 26, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 27 at 8:07 AM

AUSTIN -- It was not a packed a house at the Delco Activity center, but those who signed up to speak at a public hearing concerning the creation of additional gender-specific campuses within the Austin Independent School District had strong opinions.

Most opposed making changes to current schools. Even a student stood up, arguing to keep her middle school, Covington, the way it is.

Of the speakers, only one was in full support of a boys-only school. There are several options under consideration.

President of the Board of Trustees Vincent Torres said the idea behind single-gender schools is to help students who are underperforming.

"There's a significant body of research that says females learn different than males. We certainly see that in Ann Richards school," Torres said.

One plan is to create a school similar to the existing Ann Richards school, which is AISD's female-only campus, for boys.

It would draw from the entire district and would locate within an existing school or the district's Alternative Learning Center.

"If we are going to consider a district-wide all male school, then that one would probably go at the ALC," Torres said.

A separate proposal involves Pearce and Garcia Middle schools in East Austin. Boys would attend one, girls the other.

Torres said there is even a third option of having single-gender classes within the school so that the whole school wouldn't necessarily convert over.

"We're trying to see which of those options the community continues to support," he said.

The Board of Trustees hopes to make a decision at its meeting on Dec. 17.

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