Community leaders in New Haven are trying to garner support for an all-boys school geared toward African American and Latino students.
The New Haven school district would need approval at the state level, but both Mayor Toni Harp and auperintendent Garth Harries have expressed an interest in the idea.
Rev. Boise Kimber, the pastor at the First Cavalry Baptist Church, said this type of school would help at-risk youth in New Haven reach their full potential in the classroom.
“They can become more focused in a stabilized environment, more disciplined, in reference to how they dress how they look how they perceive each other,” Rev. Kimber said.
Rev. Kimber and other community leaders want to model New Haven’s all-boys school after the Eagle Academy Foundation for inner city students in New York and New Jersey.
“They saw the need of helping and trying to save African American boys and Latino boys,” Kimber said.
Harries told NBC Connecticut he likes the idea of launching an all-boys school, citing his own education. He also points out minority students make up 80 percent of the district.
“It fits for us in New Haven with a long history of portfolio schools that have themes and focal points,” he said. “It fits with a long history of orienting on the human development and the social, emotional learning of students. We know that boys and girls learn differently in different contexts.”
New Haven parent Kimberly Nelson said she has her doubts about this proposal.
“I don’t want them to do it,” she said, “They just can’t. The kids need to stay together. Boys need to be in schools with females and females need to be in school with guys.”
There are still many questions that need to be answered, like what would the school’s grade structure be, Harries said. He added the district is not in the position to open a new school, but would like refocus an existing one.