Today, Borough President James Oddo and District 31 Superintendent Dr. Marion Wilson announced a Young Women's Leadership School for Staten Island, which BP Oddo has been pursuing since 2016 when he discussed it with then-Chancellor Carmen Fariña and visited the flagship school in Harlem.
The new school, serving girls and gender-expansive students in grades 6-12, promotes high-quality student learning opportunities. The schools are located in the four other boroughs currently and have a proven track record in improving educational outcomes for students of color, boasting a 96% on-time graduation rate and 100% college acceptance rate with 95% student enrollment. District 31 has an Eagle Academy for Young Men, which opened in 2014 and currently serves 322 students in grades 6-12, with rave reviews from parents and students.
"We started this journey five years ago to bring this exceptional program to Staten Island," said BP Oddo. "We are confident that this new school option for girls will open next year and offer opportunities to girls to build their character, teach leadership skills, encourage advocacy and lead them on the path to college. I have to thank Dr. Wilson and the Borough Hall dynamic duo Rose and Laura for making this vision a reality."
The Young Women’s Leadership School (TYWLS) will be co-located at the new PS 70, which is slated to open in September 2022 as a non-zoned option in the district. That school will have 773 seats, 96 of which are specially designed for District 75 students. There is space for the Leadership School to incubate there for up to five years. Throughout the incubation, the NYCDOE would continue to partner with the School Construction Authority to identify a long-term facility for TYWLS.
The Young Women's Leadership School will welcome students of all academic abilities, offer deep social/emotional learning opportunities, and introduce a comprehensive college guidance program, the CollegeBound Initiative, when the school grows to include 10th grade. Applications for incoming 6th grade middle school students will be available for all current 5th graders on Staten Island.
Classroom instruction, climate, and school culture centers around 11 effective practices in girls' education (practices such as voice, culturally responsive pedagogy, and courage cultivation) that provide opportunities for students to strengthen six competencies: leadership, self-advocacy, identity, self-regard, academic preparedness, and growth mindset. All aspects of the model are anchored in four pillars of programming: Leadership, Health & Wellness, College Access, and STEAM.
“I do something because I believe in it. So when the Borough President trusted me with his vision and said he wanted something, we were going to make it happen,” said Dr. Wilson. “There is a Marion Wilson sitting out there that’s going to be part of TYWLS and make the world a better place. This is teamwork at its best, and it’s an example of resilience. I want to thank BP Oddo and his team for their efforts, and of course for the partnership with the Student Leadership Network.”
“This is such an exciting day. It’s not my first time in Staten Island to try to make this school happen, but thanks to all of you here, especially to the Borough President and his wonderful office, this is really a dream come true,” said Laura Rebell Gross, Senior Managing Director of Girls Education, National Team, TYWLS.