Why a School for Boys?

In 2004, when this school was conceived, a majority of students who lived east of the Anacostia River — particularly boys — did not read, write, or do math at grade level. Of the almost 1,800 boys who took standardized tests in the community’s 18 elementary schools in 2004, approximately 70 percent were not proficient in reading, and more than half were not proficient in math. It is well known that boys who are not academically proficient are more likely to develop behavioral problems in the classroom. East of the Anacostia River, elementary-aged boys were being suspended from school almost three times more frequently than girls.

 These young men also have a high risk of dropping out of school before they reach 10th grade. According to one study, over half of the students in Washington, D.C. who drop out of school do so before reaching high school. These young people are disproportionately represented among adjudicated and incarcerated youth; according to the American Prosecutors Research Institute, they are 3.5 times more likely than high school graduates to be incarcerated in their lifetimes.

 Often the young men in this community who do manage to achieve at a high academic level find themselves doing it alone with limited peer support. Based on current academic and social conditions, these boys’ long-term prospects for social and economic success are uncertain at best.

 The needs that prompted the launch of the Bishop Walker School remain today. The National Center for Education Statistics, reported that in 2013, fourth grade students in the District of Columbia who performed at or above proficiency level in reading was a mere 23 percent and 28 percent in math. Of the students evaluated, males consistently performed lower than females in reading and students eligible for free lunch scored an average 46 points lower than students who were not eligible. Black students, who make up 69 percent of the DC Public Schools population, scored an average 59 points lower than their white counterparts and 9 points lower than Hispanic students.

 The Bishop Walker School is committed to investing the energy and resources required to help improve the long-term prospects for the students entrusted into our care.