WASHINGTON — Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a new school program Monday to empower minority girls by training teachers on “gender and racial equity.”
The program, called “Reign: Empowering Young Women as Leaders,” starts on June 3 and will provide training to teachers, in addition to expanding the curriculum on health and gender issues in the D.C. public school system.
The program will cost $1 million in its first year and provide grants to organizations that attempt to boost outcomes for minority girls in academic and social areas.
“As we continue making the investments necessary to give every student in DCPS a world-class education and the resources and support they need to reach their full potential, Reign will ensure that our young women of color are not left behind,” Bowser said in a press release. “We know that different students have different needs and that there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. Next school year is just the beginning for Reign and, in fitting with the goals of the initiative, we will continue to expand the program based on the feedback we receive from the young women in our schools.”
Bowser’s initiative has been in the works for some time and comes on the heels of a similar program for minority boys, who often severely lag in educational attainment and general life outcomes. However, in the case of the boys, the city created an all-male school called Ron Brown College Preparatory High School in 2016, in order to increase the graduation rate for black and Latino males. These students tend to have the lowest graduate rates and test scores in the district.
In 2016, public school officials talked to female students to determine what exactly would help them achieve greater success. Some of the female students requested programs on building confidence and places to talk about their feelings.
“This tells me that whatever is done is done specifically for their needs and not just a simple replication of what we’ve done for boys,” D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Antwan Wilson told The Washington Post. “It needs to be unique to them.”
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