Eagle Academy for Young Men

a season of searching

New York

Principals: Single-gender spaces can boost college readiness

When Principal Jonathan Foy wanted to improve college readiness for Eagle Academy's 500 male students, he added more advanced classes and staffed a college counseling office. Atleast two Brooklyn schools have done the same, and more, in a similar quest to boost achievement: At the Urban Assembly School for Law and Justice, boys can take field trips and converse with their male teachers after school through the "Young Men's Association." And one of the educational capstones of Bedford Academy's curriclum is Perspectives in Leadership, an elective taught by the principal to help male students to think about their roles in the world. The motivation behind each of these programs is similar, the high schools' principals say. It's the knowledge that only a small fraction of the city's black and Latino youth, particularly young men, are graduating from high school on time and ready for college. The Brooklyn high schools are among the 80-some schools that city officials and prominent education researchers say are already making strides towards solving the decades-old problem which has received new attention with the advent of the new college readiness progress metric and the mayor's Young Men's Initiative. Last week all three of them were awarded $10,000 by the Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, a national nonprofit, for their progress addressing the educational needs of young men of color. And two of them are among the 81 schools eligible to apply for the city's Expanded Success Initiative. The principals told GothamSchools they think one key to tackling this problem is creating single-gender spaces where young men are asked to think critically about their actions and plan for their futures.