T.O. board considers launching an all-boys school
The top official at the Toronto District School Board suggests in a new report that an all-boys school might be the best way to improve performance and reduce drop-out rates among young males.
Board Director Chris Spence said male students must be made a priority and called for a new teaching strategy that is relevant to the struggles boys face in education.
"Boys really thrive in an environment where they are active," Spence said at a news conference Wednesday. "When every bone in their body tells them to move, we tell them to sit."
The report, titled "A Vision of Hope," was released late Tuesday and touched on a variety of issues that public schools have had to deal with in the last several years, including closures, violence and low-enrollment rates.
However, Spence says in the report that there is growing concern about overall test scores that male students tend to produce compared to their female counterparts.
"When we see the data around our boys, it's alarming," he said. "If we want to see a different outcome, we have to change the way we do things."
He suggests starting a "male leadership academy" in September 2010 for boys who are in kindergarten to Grade 3. Most, if not all, teachers at the school would be male. The program would expand by adding an additional grade each year.
He said such a program would give boys a sense of ownership -- an important factor in their success.
The program would be especially valuable to boys who don't have strong father figures in their life, Spence said.
"They'll learn the teacher before the curriculum," he said about the importance of having strong male leaders as teachers. "The teacher is the curriculum."
The reports conclusions are based on about 200 meetings with stakeholders.
Spence dismissed the notion that the initiative promotes segregation.
"This is not an issue of segregation, it's an issue of choice," he said. "In most situations, a co-ed environment is best but some individuals thrive in single-sex settings. Trying to provide those kinds of environments is important."