More than 200 sixth- and seventh-grade girls eagerly descended this week on the campus of YISD’s new Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA) – the only single-gender public school in El Paso – for an interactive and motivational summer camp, just three weeks before it opens for the 2016-17 academic year.
The highly anticipated Aug. 22 launch of the Young Women’s Leadership Academy has taken more than a year of thoughtful, strategic, and innovative planning in conjunction with the Dallas-based Young Women’s Preparatory Network, which has played an integral part in planning and establishing YISD’s new college-preparatory school for girls in grades 6-12.
As part of its support, the Young Women’s Preparatory Network is providing $1 million in enhancement funding to help finance YWLA, which will be temporarily located at 7615 Yuma Drive (former site of Ranchland Hills Middle School) for the next two years before moving to its permanent home at 8040 Yermoland Drive (former site of Hillcrest Middle School).
In order to prepare its inaugural class of sixth- and seventh-grade girls for success, YWLA is hosting a special summer camp from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 1-4 to unite students before the school year begins, giving them an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the campus, fellow students, faculty, and staff before the official start of classes.
The interactive summer camp includes energetic daily team-building exercises, a scavenger hunt, and leadership sessions, as well as introductions to the students’ upcoming academic classes.
Students were also able to bring in school supplies for the year to their classrooms, received their school uniforms, and were given a sneak peek of the school’s new Nike sportswear. The camp ends at 3 p.m. Thursday with a half-hour yoga session.
During the school year, the YWLA curriculum will focus on science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM), and students will benefit from advanced coursework and a biliteracy component. It also includes three “core value” classes: Responsible Leadership, College & Career Readiness, and Wellness Life Skills.
In addition, YWLA students can choose to participate in a variety of elective classes and extracurricular activities, as well as language classes in Spanish, Chinese, American Sign Language, and Latin.
The YWLA’s mascot is the Transformers, and the school’s mantra is, “Imagine the Possibilities.” Its colors are navy blue, kelly green, and metallic gold, and it is under the leadership of Principal Malinda Villalobos and Academic Dean Lisa Boatright.