Schenectady County

Girls’ high school urged

A proposal to create the first all-girls public high school in upstate New York has been submitted t

A proposal to create the first all-girls public high school in upstate New York has been submitted to the State University of New York’s Charter School Institute.

If approved, it would open in September 2009 with spaces for 75 ninth-grade girls, with a grade added each year after. It would be Albany’s tenth charter school.

SUNY’s Charter School Institute must take action on the charter application by Jan. 1, 2009.

Margarita Mayo, co-chair of the Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls, called the new public school a “small, safe, college prep” alternative to Albany High, which has more than 2,000 students.

Mayo directed educational policy for the Business Council of New York State for 21 years, until her retirement earlier this year.

Albany Leadership High would be open to all students in a citywide admissions lottery and at full enrollment would serve just over 300 students.

“Our children need options today. Albany High is a very large school and may not be the right fit for each and every student,” said Deborah Rock, parent of a seventh-grader at KIPP Tech Valley Charter School.

“Choosing a school that best meets a child’s needs should be a choice for every parent, and having only one public high school means there are no options. I think this is a great idea and it couldn’t have come at a better time,” added Rock, whose daughter will be graduating from KIPP, a local middle school, in time to consider enrollment in the Albany Leadership High’s first class of girls.

Mayo said it would offer: a small-school setting, more instructional time because of a longer school day of eight hours and a longer school year of 200 days. It would also require two hours of instruction in English composition and literature and 90 minutes of math daily.

Albany Leadership High would train students to serve as peer mentors for each incoming ninth-grade class.

In its initial year, Albany Leadership High would share space with the Brighter Choice Charter School for Girls at its building at 250 Central Ave., at the corner of North Lake.

Private all-girls schools in the Capital Region include Emma Willard, Albany Academy for Girls and Academy of the Holy Names.

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