HOUSTON—Each day, HISD’s Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy (YWCPA) starts with a daily affirmation and the school creed. In unison, the girls state they are R.O.S.E.S.—responsible, organized and part of a sisterhood that is exceptional.
The Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy is a magnet school.
"We’re Houston Independent School District’s separate and unique magnet," said school principal Delesa O’Dell-Thomas. "We focus on stem: science, technology, engineering, and math. "
The academy offers a high-level private school education, although it’s a public school. There’s no tuition. The girls have to apply to get in and not everyone’s guaranteed acceptance.
Students readily admitted, "It’s a little bit challenging, the math and the science."
Another girl added, "We’re all taking pre-AP classes and AP classes."
"The work does get harder but it really does push you," said a freshman.
The school is for grades 6 through 10. Classes are intentionally tough.
One newcomer said, "It’s a lot more than I expected. All these electives and the classes are more advanced than I’m used to."
Do they miss having boys in the classroom? A seventh-grader said, "I think when it’s all girls we can all study better."
Most of the girls share the same sentiment.
The girls apparently feel more motivated.
"In this particular environment, our young ladies feel very comfortable in answering questions, being participants and not just sitting back and allowing the boys to take the forefront as that would be in a co-ed setting," said Principal Thomas.
The academy opened just last year, but already students are showing signs of success. Sixth-grade girls who took the 7th-grade math portion of the STAAR test outscored all 7th graders in HISD.
"We have some of the smartest, brilliant young ladies that you could ever dream of having in one school," said Thomas.
And for the most part they all get along. Many students express there’s a strong sense of sisterhood. It’s the beauty of their budding school.