Wake schools consider same-sex academies

September 20, 2011 8:39:20 AM PDT
Wake County Public School System leaders are working to create two leadership academies -- one for boys and one for girls.

Tuesday, the school board will decide whether to move forward with those plans. So far, the model calls for children to be separated by gender into two schools that begin at sixth grade and continue through the twelfth grade.

Wake Superintendent Tony Tata is spearheading the idea. He says the same-sex academies are an element of education that is missing from Wake County.

"There is demand for single-gender academies," Tata said. "There is demand for more structured academies, and more structured environment."

School system leaders say the academies would improve academic success for their students, ease the transition into college, and create longer lasting relationships between teachers and parents.

Administrators point to similar academies in Guilford County that are growing quickly with 100 percent of students going to college. However, it's not a concept some parents support.

"I think kids are going to be involved in life with both sexes, and it's important to know how to handle it," parent Michele Hardy said.

"I think my children both would not like it if they went to a school that only had boys or girls," parent Janet Brown added.

Parent Greg Carrett agrees with Hardy and Brown. "That's the way our society is these days, mixing boys and girls up, and that's the way it ought to be."

Tentative plans call for student acceptance into the two academies to be based on applications, or a mix of applications, and a student's proximity to the schools. Each academy would accept 400-500 students.

Locations for the academies haven't been finalized, but sites in Raleigh are being considered.

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