The first Africentric school in Toronto will open in time for the new school year, the city's public school board has decided.

The Toronto District School Board approved the motion to open up the Africentric program at Sheppard Public School, located in the Keele Street and Sheppard Avenue area.

The school will only go up to Grade 5 but the plan is to add a higher grade each following year. A motion to include high school grades was denied.

Some parents said excluding high school students from the new curriculum defied the purpose of starting up an Africentric program.

"Without putting through a kindergarten to Grade 12 continuum right now it defeats the purpose of why we're here in the first place," said one man who attended Wednesday night's board meeting.

Supporters of the plan say the unique curriculum will help reduce the 40 per cent drop out rate among black students.

But critics say segregating a community is not the answer, especially when there are other minorities with needs.

"We have been ignoring the 43 per cent of our Portuguese students who have been underserved by our board. Arabic, Latino and many others...we have not been moving up and forward on that," school trustee Josh Matlow said at the meeting.