Monday marked the first day of school for kids across the District, and the first day ever at Ron Brown College Preparatory High School-- the city's first all-male public high school. More than 100 boys make up the school's first ninth grade class.
Open enrollment was done earlier this year for all rising ninth grade boys. Students will participate in a rigorous academic environment, and school officials including the school's new principal, Dr. Ben Williams, say they are really trying to prepare students for their next step: college.
The new school is located in northeast DC, at the site of what used to be Ron Brown Middle School. The building was renovated, and construction on phase two is actually still underway. The school will host just one grade during the 2016-2017 school year, and then add a grade each year after until grades 9-12 are all served. The school hopes to have 600 students by 2020.
DC Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, who will leave her role with the District later this year, appeared on FOX 5 News Morning to talk about the start of the new school year. Henderson said DCPS students are all improving, boys are improving at a slower pace. Specifically, Henderson said, African-American and Latino boys are lagging their peers-- and that's where Ron Brown College Preparatory High School comes in.
"We wanted to create an environment where we could radically up their chances of moving faster academically, where they could be reinforced as young men and learn character building and service," Henderson told FOX 5's Allison Seymour.
When asked if there are plans for an all-girls school in the District, Henderson said it's being talked about.
"Our girls have very different challenges from our boys, and so we want to make sure that as we tailor a girls' solution, that we're putting together the right set of strategies," she said. "It might not be a school. It might be something very different, but we're working on a strategy for girls."
According to DCPS' website, the school's curriculum will emphasize humanities and classical languages like Latin. Class sizes will be smaller, and other learning opportunities like leadership and mentorship programs will also be offered.