Plans take shape for JCPS Girls of Color STEAM Academy

Plans take shape for JCPS girls of color STEAM academy

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Plans are taking shape for a Girls of Color STEAM Academy in JCPS and it could be open as soon as next August.

After a successful first year of the W.E.B. DuBois Academy for young men, school leaders say it's time to start locking down plans for a Girls of Color STEAM Academy.

This time around they think the process will be shorter and smoother because they already know what works.

“This might be the first school where you don’t see all the presidents on the walls,” said John Marshall, JCPS Chief Equity Officer. “But you’ll see a whole bunch of black women on the walls and that makes a different statement all in itself.”

Like DuBois, the all-girls program will have an afro-centric curriculum with a STEAM focus

“I had the privilege to experience a similar type of education in my college and it just created a sense of pride and power,” said Jon’a Joiner.

Joiner is on the all-female committee Marshall and the other decision makers are consulting with on the plans.

“I know firsthand what it means to have folks look like you, who can relate to you when it comes to education in general,” Joiner said. “And how important that is to see folks that look like you, because representation matters.”

150 sixth-grade students would be accepted the first year via application and lottery.

The district wants to build toward a sixth to twelfth grade academy.

“JCPS will really be a pioneer in this field as far as identifying a school and curriculum that is specific for girls of color to help truly enrich them,” Joiner said.

The district is looking to re-purpose their facilities, but can’t say yet where the program will be housed.

“We do have a good idea of where that’s going to be and we won’t let the difficulty of finding a building prevent us from making sure this is successful,” said Superintendent Dr. Marty Pollio.

Marshall believes finding the right leader is imperative.

“We’re looking for energy; we’re looking for a belief in the mission of what this story will entail and then the understanding that this has to be different,” Marshall said.

The board is set to vote on the plan at the August 27th meeting. If it passes, work would begin right away. They want to name the new principal by early September.

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