Jersey City School District plans to open state’s first all-girls public school

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The Jersey City School District plans to open the state’s first all-girls public school for students in sixth through 12th grade.

Acting Superintendent Norma Fernandez said the school would be open to all girls who wish to attend and admission would not be based on test scores, unlike the admissions process at Infinity Institute and McNair Academic. Highschool. She said that in November she visited Young Women’s Academy in Harlem and the Bronx and “we were very impressed”.

Fernandez said the district hopes to open the school in September with sixth and seventh grades. Grades would be added each year and the first class would graduate in June 2026.

“It’s something I would like to push forward,” Fernandez said. “I have just contacted the organizers for a meeting next week so that we can start the process. We would need to identify a location, grade levels and this would be implemented in stages so it would be a few grades each year.

She said the school would be housed in another school, similar to how Innovation High School is located inside Snyder High School.

“There are a number of schools that have room to do something like that,” Fernandez said. “By March we should be ready for more plans so we can also share with our parents to get them interested in applying and make any repairs in the planning of the building that we need to do.”

The all-girls public school would be called the Jersey City Leadership School for Young Women and would be operated in partnership with Leading Young Women, Inc. and the Student Leadership Network.

The Student Leadership Network (SLN) is a non-profit organization that works to expand education in underserved communities. According to the organization’s website, she opened the first all-girls public school in the United States in Harlem in 1996. She has since opened four other all-girls public schools in New York City and seven others across the country.

Council chairman Gerald Lyons said the organizations contacted the district and the school board to ask them to outline the benefits of an all-girls school.

Young Women CEO Tamika Quick Quick told the BOE she chose Jersey City because New Jersey does not have single-sex public schools for girls and broad gender students. She said the city’s schools had the highest dropout rate and the lowest graduation rate in the county for girls.

SLN’s director of new school leadership and development, Sarah Boldin, said 96% of her students graduate from high school and 95% go on to college. She said 64% of their graduates earn college degrees, slightly above the national average. The graduation rate in Jersey City is 83.1%

“Leading Young Women as an organization is committed to building critical thinking, self-awareness, strong voice, and confidence in our young women,” Quick said Jan. 27. “With the development of these skills, our students will learn to navigate and overcome societal pressures while maintaining a growth mindset.

Elizabeth Woodall, school principal at Saint Dominic Academy, a Catholic school for grades 7-12 in Jersey City, said students don’t have to worry about navigating certain social dynamics common in mixed schools, leaving all girls in team leadership positions.

“Because we’re a uniform school, (the girls) aren’t trying to impress anyone (on a ‘dress-up’ day),” Woodall said on Thursday, which happened to be a ‘dress-up’ day. “The filters of dressing, the filters of how they say things…are filters that a girl will have to go through in a blended learning environment to determine where she fits in.

“They will be more reluctant to use their voice in class because the social implications of coming off as smart aren’t always well received in a coeducational institution.”

Woodall graduated from an all-girls school and has worked in all-girls schools for over 30 years. And her three daughters attended all-girls schools. If the Jersey City school district is going to set up this school, they should talk to the girls.

“If you want to get it right, ask the people you’re trying to influence,” Woodall said. “Don’t assume what girls need. Do your homework.”

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