A ribbon-cutting followed student choir, band and drama performances as staff, parents and students gathered for the naming ceremony for the Young Men’s Leadership Academy at Fred Florence Middle School, the district’s newest single-gender school for boys.
Math Instructional Coach Derek Thomas opened the event and served as emcee, and Principal Dawn Walker welcomed district and city officials and community members.
Speakers included District 4 Trustee Jaime Resendez, who reflected on his experiences growing up in the same Pleasant Grove community where the school is located. He said he owed much of his personal and professional success to hours spent reading in and out of school. He told students that the Dallas community and the global economy needs their talents and skills, and encouraged them to spend more time reading and stay focused on their education.
Deputy Chief of School Leadership Brian Lusk thanked the community for its support for the new single-gender school and congratulated the staff and students of Florence and its sister school, Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs on their commitment to the success of the single-gender educational model. Both schools serve students from the same community. The girls attend Young Women’s STEAM Academy and the boys go to the Leadership Academy at Florence.
Volunteer and Boy Scouts of America Outreach Director Espie Randolph said the scouts have made a sizable financial and staff investment in the boys’ school. He described the benefits of the program and urged students and parents to embrace scouting as a means of building character and achieving career success. The scouts provide several staff members who work with the young men at Florence daily during physical education classes.
The Academy, located at 1625 N. Masters Dr., opened as an all-boys school last August, and serves 950 students with a STEAM-based curriculum, which features arts instruction alongside science, technology and mathematics. Courses offered for high school credit include physics, astronomy and algebra.