As thousands of students across the region returned to school Monday, the morning bell also rang for a group of Wilmington kids in the middle of a new learning model for the state.
GLOW, Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, held its grand opening Monday morning. The facility, the first all-girls charter school in North Carolina, starts its initial year with 100 sixth-graders, most of whom come from disadvantaged neighborhoods.
The plan is to add additional grades each year and guide the girls through to graduation and help them get into college.
The school, at 606 S. College Road, is part of the Young Women’s Leadership Network, which began in East Harlem, and now with the new Wilmington location has 18 schools around the country affiliated with the network.
“This is a new day and a pioneering day for the girls of North Carolina and the state of North Carolina," said Ann Tisch, who founded the network and first school that opened 20 years ago.
Tisch spoke to the audience of a couple hundred who attended the opening ceremony, including students, parents, business leaders and city and county officials. She pointed out that girls within the network schools are four times more likely to attend and graduate from college than their peers.
“The achievement gap and earning gap in this country is widening,” Tisch said, adding that education has the ability to equalize those standards.
In 2013, at a Greater Wilmington Business Journal Power Breakfast, retired television executive Judy Girard and Georgia Miller, wife of then-University of North Carolina Wilmington Chancellor Gary Miller, announced they started
a nonprofit to develop the single-gender school.
And last year, state education officials approved the charter school
“Ann [Tisch] took a real chance on us because this is the smallest town” where a Young Women’s Leadership Network school has opened, Girard said to the crowd of supporters, many of whom have been involved in fundraising and philanthropy efforts to get the school started. Georgia and Gary Miller also traveled to Wilmington to attend the event.
Others are located in New York and Texas as well as Baltimore, Chicago and St. Louis.
To find out how businesses also have helped out other schools starting their new year, click here for a story from the current edition of the Business Journal.