EL PASO, Texas - UPDATE: The El Paso I.S.D. School Board of Trustees settled on a name for the district's first single-gender school during its meeting Tuesday evening.
The all-girls school will be named the Young Women's STEAM Research and Preparatory Academy.
ORIGINAL STORY (Monday, March 20)
By Tuesday evening, the community will know the name of El Paso's newest all-girls school.
The El Paso ISD Board of Trustees will make the announcement during its meeting.
The school will be located in Armendariz Middle School in Central El Paso and is already taking applications.
"The criteria for joining the program is simply based on interest," said Dr. Cynthia Ontiveros, the principal of the girls school. Ontiveros said the focus will be on STEAM subjects of science, technology, engineering, art and math.
"Girls get easily discouraged when they're not able to show that they can learn that subject matter and feel confident about it," Ontiveros said. "So, we're going to remove all those barriers."
The campus will also be part of the growing number of New Tech campuses in EPISD. The New Tech Network's philosophy is to change the culture in the classroom before focusing on the content. Part of becoming a New Tech campus requires reconstruction of classrooms.
EPISD officials said the lockers in the hallway where the girls academy will be located will be torn out and replaced with windows. It's so teachers and students can collaborate with others outside their own space, according to the district.
Dr. Cynthia Ontiveros
"Our hope and our goal is to develop these women into confident leaders where they're going to develop grit, persistence and just know how to maneuver themselves in the world," Ontiveros said. With a degree in microbiology, 17 years experience in education and two young daughters, she told ABC-7 that leading the all-girls school is her calling.
Parents are already calling her.
"They're asking when they can get their daughters on a waiting list. It's exciting," she said, smiling.
The school will start with 6 and 7th grades and will add a grade level each year until it caters to 1,000 girls through the 12th grade in 2021.
A new middle school will be built for the students attending Armendariz and Bassett.