Dallas ISD Boy’s School Aims To Improve Learning Through Single-sex Education


Gym classes every Thursday at Young Men’s Leadership Academy in Pleasant Grove are unusual. Instead of typical sports or activities, Boy Scouts take over, teaching students about camping and other skills.

Something else sets this school apart: It is the first boys’ school in the district that is not a magnetic campus.

“This school is the only mixed-use neighborhood school where children do not have to take a test to enter. If you live in this eating pattern, you go to this school,” said Kevin Malonson, coordinator of the academy of Fred Florence. Middle school.

He says the only other boys‘ school in the district is Barack Obama Academy, which has an entrance exam.

“The district has tremendous pressure for the choice of school,” said Malonson. “And they wanted to try as many different formats as possible. We have visited many single-sex schools across the country. We spoke to many parents and stakeholders in business and community. And that was the model they thought was successful in this area.

Malonson says so far, everything is fine. The college, which has around 900 students, met state standards before the change and did so after. Still, test scores here are well below the state average.

Make the change

Sixth-year-old Andreous Devall, 12, says he agrees with the boys-only school.

“It didn’t bother me because all of my friends from last year came to this school,” Andreous said. “I didn’t mind because I had plenty of friends to protect me.”

Andreous had heard of older bullies in college, but he didn’t meet any. Sixth-grade student Adin Roberts also made the adjustment.

“I was going to be a little nervous at first,” said Adin, 11. “Because I’m not used to having only boys in my class. “

Adin’s nerves calmed down. He loves school and even learns the guitar in class. Her parents Justin Roberts and Sherise Rhodes also made the adjustment.

“If there had been a big problem, we probably would have changed schools,” Rhodes says. “But he’s settled down pretty well and seems to like her there.

Credit Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Justin Roberts, Sherise Rhodes and their 11-year-old son Adin.

School officials made this change with the hope, in part, that the absence of girls might improve boys’ education.

“I think some of them also find comfort in the fact that there aren’t any young girls in the room to be embarrassed out front,” Malonson said. “A lot of the distractions that you have are removed.”

There are two neighborhood girls’ schools in the Dallas District. A third school is a magnetic campus with admission requirements.

Benefits of single-sex schools

Amber Simpson, an assistant professor at Binghamton University in New York City, studied middle school students in science classes for boys and girls. She says girls tend to do better in class without boys. But she’s talked to boys in boys-only classes, and they tell her they’d rather have girls in class.

“They thought the girls gave them more competition,” Simpson said. “There seemed to be an atmosphere of competition. They were always competing against each other. And so two out of three actually preferred coeducation just because of this context of more competition. “

Simpson says that after decades of study, it remains unclear whether single-sex classes improve academics.

“It really depends on all of those external factors like teacher-student relationships, your experiences with family… I think it’s really hard to determine that being in a room or in a school with one gender is going to make a difference. so big impact, ”Simpson said.

Other education experts say that there are both good single-sex and co-educational schools, and students can thrive in both.

“It’s really hard to determine that being in a room or in a school with one gender is going to have such a huge impact.”

12-year-old Noel Peña seems ready for anything at this boys’ school. He is inspired to follow in his father’s footsteps. His father is a construction worker, but Noel wants to do something a little different.

“The subject I want to study is either math or reading. Mathematics, mainly because it will help me further pursue my dream as an architect, ”Noel said.

He is also part of the school debate team. And he likes it. He is therefore considering another career option: President of the United States.

“If the president doesn’t work, I have a back-up plan,” Noel said. “If the architect doesn’t work, I have the president. It’s always best to have a back-up plan if something doesn’t work.

Malonson says the kids asked him if this school will remain a boys-only school, and he says yes. In fact, he is convinced that when these boys finish middle school, the district will have to create a boys’ high school for them.


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