HISD board approves district's 1st all-girl school

HOUSTON The first step is to find an administrator for this new HISD all-girls prep school. They'll do a nationwide search for a leader, then a district-wide search for female students.

"We certainly hope to bring students into HISD who are paying tuition that are currently going to private schools, Catholic schools or schools within in our area," said HISD Assistant Superintendent Martha Salazar-Zamora. "We hope they will consider going to the all girls prep academy."

The HISD all-girls school is approved for the 2011-2012 school year. The campus location is undecided, but will have grades 6-12 with 75-100 6th graders and the same number of 9th graders welcomed the first year. The application process is open to everyone but will be a rigorous one, with HISD looking at grades and test scores, requiring three reference letters, and doing interviews with the student and her family. HISD says it will look at each student individually.

"It could be that student who has the ability, the aptitude, but perhaps has not always been at the top, the student who shows that potential," said Salazar-Zamora.

We stopped by Shearn Elementary just to get parents' take on the option of an all girl's school. Some of the ones we talked to were at least intrigued by the idea for their own daughters.

"Because she likes to be friendly with other girls, so that's why she would be interested in it," said HISD parent Maria Gonzalez.

"Do you think she'd get a more focused education?" we asked.

"Yes, she would," said Gonzalez.

"I think girls and boys should go to school together because, I mean, because of the difference in boys and girls," said HISD parent Carrie Washington. "

The location will likely be a campus property HISD already owns. This school will be open in partnership with the Foundation for the Education of Young Women. In the meantime, a boy's school is also up for discussion in the near future.

The board had one vote of note on the Apollo 20 program, that's the program which focuses on turning around the district's lowest-performing schools. The board approved the Apollo 20 principal incentive program earlier this year. It will include what some consider large bonuses and the board voted that those bonuses will be based on student attendance, achievement, grade-level performance and the graduation-completion rates.

The school board also approved a resolution to stop bullying and other forms of harassment. The resolution comes in response to several high-profile incidents nationwide of bullied students committing suicide. Asher Brown, 13, a middle school student in Cy-Fair ISD, killed himself in September after his parents say he was bullied about his religion and sexual orientation.

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