Reflections from an All-Boys Middle School

Is the pendulum swinging the other direction on coeducation? This year, the public school system in the Texas capital city opened its first all-boys school. Teachers and administrators say they’re happier, but how do the students feel?

By Kate McGeeFebruary 25, 2015 2:15 pm

The “My Brother’s Keeper” mentality runs the Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy.

As one of two same-sex schools middle schools opened in fall 2014, the campus is an example of the latest in Austin ISD reforms. A clear departure from the previous year, when both Pearce and Garcia Middle Schools were rated “Improvement Required” by the state and teaching conditions left much to be desired. Now, students are expected to be responsible for themselves and keep each other in check.

“You are your brother’s keeper if they’re missing an assignment or they need some help with their homework, you help them,” says eighth grader Bryce Gable. “And if they’re about to get in trouble, like if they’re about to walk out of class, if they’re about to get in a fight, you just hold them back.”

The young men can only help each other in some ways, yet the insight they absorb from everyday life is remarkably mature. Despite non-responsiveness from peers and possible issues in the home, the school is a consistent source of meals, an education and respect for these young men in the community.

Courtesy of Kate McGee & KUT Austin.

This story was prepared with assistance by Jan Ross Piedad.