- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A Kentucky school district has approved the creation of an all-male middle school targeted toward serving black and Latino students.

The Jefferson County Board of Education voted 6-1 on Tuesday in favor of the alternative program set to open for the 2018-2019 school year, local news outlets reported. Jefferson County Public Schools officials have advocated for the program as a way to address the overrepresentation of boys of color in discipline referrals and low achievement results.

The yet unnamed academy is modeled after Lexington’ Carter G. Woodson Academy.

The school, which plans to enroll 150 sixth graders for its first class, will use multicultural and Afrocentric lenses and creative teaching methods to “reinforce the notion of self-worth while making education personal and engaging,” according to the JCPS proposal. The proposal did not identify academy leaders, a location or a method for student and staff selection, but incoming acting superintendent Marty Pollio pledged to take responsibility for the program’s implementation.

The academy is budgeted to cost $5.8 million over its first three years. Although geared to students of color, the school is open to any boy within the district.

Board member Ben Gies cited concerns over Title IX adherence and the concept of separation in casting his dissenting vote.

“Is separate better?” Gies said. “No. Separate weakens us. Separate takes away our ability to build a diverse, shared world.”

Other board members said the proposal has the potential to reach students where traditional methods have failed.

“We are losing too many boys to gangs and drugs and violence. … This proposal is a crossroads for us,” board member Linda Duncan said.

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