NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The Reverend Dr. Boise Kimber has been a fixture in the New Haven Community for over 30 years. He is the driving force behind a proposal to bring an all boys school for children of color to the city.
“We will take time with them, we will nourish them. It will be an academy, it will be an all day thing,” said Dr. Kimber.
Kimber says there is a great need for a school that will cater to at risk youth.
“We wanna start with the sixth grade and then we wanna add a grade each year and then we will see that sixth grade class graduate as seniors, ” said Kimber.
The school, if it moves forward, will be modeled after the Eagle Academy for Young Men. Founded in 2004 by the group 100 Black Men of America, there are now six schools in New York City. On average, the schools have graduation rates of 88 percent, compared to a national average of just 50 percent for at risk males.
The success of the program has New Haven officials excited about the possibilities.
“The fact of the matter is we have an educational gap here. We have an achievement gap with our kids in New Haven and we have to think about what is the right environment for these young people in terms of learning,” said Jason Bartlett, Director of Youth Services for the city.
If it moves forward, the school will have extended hours, including Saturdays, and will offer additional services that cater to inner city kids.
“It’s a very intensive type of approach, but we do know that they graduate their kids,” said Bartlett.
With the general public, the proposal gets mixed reviews.
“I think it’s probably a good thing for the boys,” said Jenaelle Samuels, a grandmother.
“Honestly, I think it’s bringing us back in time. If it was for all boys, all race, I would say I’m for it. But, an all black school, it’s bringing us back,” said Tara Morin.
“If we can save ten boys, or fifteen boys, then that’s what we are out to do. It’s not a step backwards,” said Dr. Kimber.
The city says the planning is still in the early stages and there is lots of work to be done.