The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison Speaks to Young Women’s Preparatory Network

(Dallas, Texas, September 28, 2015) – Young Women’s Preparatory Network, the largest all girls’ college preparatory network in the nation, held its Leadership Summit on September 14 and 15 with its principals, key team members and staff. A highlight of the conference was hearing from The Honorable Kay Bailey Hutchison at Joyce and Larry Lacerte’s home on September 14.

Lynn McBee, Young Women’s Prep CEO, introduced Hutchison. “Kay has done so much for public education. She is the one who championed the amendment making single-sex schools legal in public school district, and we now have the largest network in the country.”

Hutchison thanked everyone for the work they are doing to make an impact in education. She talked about how in the 1990s U.S. Senator Jack Danforth of Missouri introduced a bill to make single-sex schools legal in public schools, and she served as the co-sponsor. When he retired, she was the lead sponsor and continued trying to get the bill passed, but there was plenty of opposition. “Those who co-sponsored this effort included Democratic Senators Hillary Clinton of New York and Barbara Mikulski of Maryland along with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Senator Thomas Carper. In fact, Barbara and Susan both attended all girls’ schools. At last, President George W. Bush signed it into law on January 8, 2002, as part of the No Child Left Behind Act legislation.”

As a result, the Young Women’s Prep was founded in 2002. This network is the result of Lee and Sally Posey’s vision: the Texas philanthropists were inspired by a 2001 visit to a new single-sex, college preparatory, public school in New York City: The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem. Lee grew up in a home with a mother who had an 8th grade education and had to work tirelessly to raise her family. His desire to help educate young women led him to starting this network.

Hutchison added that it took years of battles and lawsuits in New York City, but the founders of that network persevered. “It just makes sense when it’s the right thing to do to offer this option to parents.”

She concluded, “Thank you, Lee Posey. This is what he dreamed of doing. I’m so happy to see the principals and the success now. This work is certainly in my top couple of favorites (legislation passed) that I did in the Senate.”

The first and largest of its kind in Texas, Young Women’s Prep formed the first public/private partnership with DISD in 2004, opening the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, the first all-girls public school in Texas. Since then, Young Women’s Prep has opened schools in Austin, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Houston, Lubbock and San Antonio. There are plans to open additional schools.
An astounding 100% of the students graduate from high school and are accepted to a college or university. In 2014-2015, the network’s 247 graduates received more than $29 million in academic and merit scholarships and have matriculated to 87 different colleges and universities.
Young Women’s Prep network schools serve students in grades 6 through 12 on seven campuses across the state of Texas. Approximately 70 percent of all students come from economically disadvantaged homes, and 68 percent of the students in the Class of 2015 are first generation college students.

About Young Women’s Preparatory Network:
Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN) provides leadership, forums for the sharing of best education practices, and funding enhancements to seven all-girls’ public schools in Texas, in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Houston, Lubbock, and San Antonio, working in close collaboration in each community with the public school district. Total enrollment as of last school year was more than 4,100 students in 6th through 12th grades. Each YWPN school features a STEM-focused curriculum and is largely attended by disadvantaged students who are second-generation immigrants. The programs are based on the core values of leadership development, college readiness and wellness life skills.  Each school serves as a laboratory example of an innovative public-private education model that results in high student achievement. More information can be found at http://youngwomensprep.org/.

For immediate release:
Media contact: Juliette Coulter, 214.394.5532, juliette@coultergroup.com

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