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HOUSTON -- The Houston Independent School District Board of Education trustees voted Thursday to create an all-male preparatory academy.

The preparatory school will be located at the current E.O. Smith Education Center site and will open next year with sixth- and ninth-grade students only.

The plan is to have grades six through12 by the year 2013.

The school will aim to prepare students for college and university enrollment.

Last month, the board approved opening an all-girls school.

Closing the male minority achievement gap is a top priority for everyone at Team HISD, and I am confident that the opening of this all-male college preparatory academy will be one of many proactive steps the district takes to address this growing national concern, said Chief Middle Schools Officer Dallas Dance in a letter released after the decision. It, like the all-girls school, will join the many other quality school choice options that are available at HISD.

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