New LAUSD girls schools to target math, science gaps

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girlsstudyingThe first two all girls schools in LAUSD history are on schedule to open next fall after getting the unanimous support of the L.A. Board of Education.

In approving the all-girls schools, Board members cited studies showing that test scores for girls in math and science drop off dramatically in middle school and high school. Fewer girls than boys also take advanced math, science and computer courses.

The new schools will try to close that gap. One will open on the campus of Los Angeles High school, in the Mid-Wilshire area. The Girls Academic Leadership Academy – or GALA – will start with grades 6 and 9, with plans to expand to grades 6 through 12. GALA will be overseen directly by L.A. Unified and will focus on science, technology, math and engineering. It’s modeled after a school in Harlem, in New York City.

Another all-girls school – this one a charter – is slated to open in the northeast San Fernando Valley, but it doesn’t have a campus yet. The Girls Athletic Leadership School aims to serve girls from Van Nuys, Panorama City and North Hills. School leaders are promising rigorous academics, along with a curriculum that pushes the girls physically.

District Superintendent Ramon Cortines says plans for an all-boys school are also in the works.