Largest All-Girls Public School Network in Nation Establishes Footprint in West Texas
(Dallas, Texas, August 22, 2016) – Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN), the largest network of all-girls, public schools in the nation, and Ysleta Independent School District (YISD) opened its eighth school, Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA). The doors opened today—the first day of school—when 234 6th and 7th grade girls arrived at the first all girls’ public preparatory school in El Paso. YWLA will add a grade every year until the school has students through 12th grade.
YWLA joins seven other schools as a part of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network whose mission is to support single-gender, college-preparatory, public education in Texas and beyond, giving young women the academic and leadership skills to achieve success in college and in life. With a focus on STEM, YWPN’s other schools are located in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Houston, Lubbock and San Antonio and have incredible results: 100% of the students graduate high school, and 100% are accepted to college. About 68% of the network are economically disadvantaged, and 68% are first-generation college students.
YWPN CEO Lynn McBee said, “Our Network is excited to partner with YISD to expand our footprint into West Texas by opening this school patterned after our other successful schools. What was once unheard of when we opened the first all-girls school in Dallas and the first in Texas in 2004 is starting to take root because our public/private model is transforming public education.”
As the private entity of the public/private partnership, YWPN donated $1 million to fund the school. These funds will be used for enhancements such as a full-time college bound advisor, extended learning programs to reinforce STEM, summer programs, test preparation, college visits and leadership opportunities.
“The Ysleta Independent School District is proud to partner with the Young Women’s Preparatory Network to enhance, expand and enrich the educational experiences of young women in El Paso,” said Ysleta ISD Superintendent Xavier De La Torre, Ed.D. “With YWPN’s proven model of success and college preparedness, along with a rigorous curriculum and extensive leadership training, our YWLA students will have the opportunity to not only pursue higher education, but be competitive in the 21st century global workforce.”
According to YWLA Principal Malinda Villalobos, YWLA’s focus is on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) programs with an emphasis on the Network’s three pillars of leadership, college readiness and wellness life skills, which will be taught every day. The middle school teaching pathway is engineering, and the high school’s pathways include engineering, biomedical and computer science. The school hopes to offer several sports including basketball, cheerleading, cross country, golf, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and wrestling. In addition to athletics, YWLA will also participate in academic competitions.
Earlier this month, the new students participated in a week-long camp where they toured their new campus, wrote the school creed, bonded through games and team-building activities, and learned what it means to be part of an all-girls school. The students also talked about being a Transformer, the school’s mascot. Villalobos said, “Each girl has her story to tell, and with our help, she will transform into what she wants to be, where she wants to go to college, and what she wants to do in life. We can’t wait to see what she becomes.”
About Young Women’s Preparatory Network:
Founded in 2002, the Young Women’s Preparatory Network is a nonprofit agency that partners with public school districts in Texas to operate the largest network of all-girls, public, college preparatory schools in the nation. The organization provides funding and other resources to eight Texas schools with more than 4,400* students in 6th through 12th grade. Each YWPN school features a STEM-focused curriculum and is largely attended by economically disadvantaged students. In 2015-2016, the network’s 291 graduates received offers of more than $41.9 million in academic and merit scholarships and have matriculated to 115 different colleges and universities. More information can be found at http://youngwomensprep.org.
# # #
*self-reported, Texas Educational Agency numbers to be released in Nov. 2016.