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article imageAfricentric alternative school opens this year in Toronto

By KJ Mullins     Sep 4, 2009 in World
A school in Toronto opened their doors for the first time Tuesday for 85 students. The Africentric Alternative School is a controversial institution with the goal of lowering the 40 percent drop-out rate among the city's black students.
The new Toronto school is really a school within a school. Housed within Sheppard Public School there are only four classrooms for the 85 students. The kindergarten and Grade 1 classes will have their own rooms while Grades 2 through 5 will share rooms. There are five teachers to handle the students, most of whom have taught within the Toronto school system.
The only teacher who has yet to teach in Toronto is Leah Newbold. She recently graduated from the teachers' college at the University of Toronto reports The Toronto Star:
Of any school in Toronto, this is absolutely the one I wanted to work at right away," said Newbold. "I really believe kids in our community are brilliant, if only the schools set them up to succeed.
The one requirement to be enrolled at the Africentric Alternative School is to either be black or biracial.
The students will be studying the Ontario curriculum but with an African flair. The rooms are colourful with pictures of Nelson Mandala and Bob Marley on the walls.
It took two years of heated debate for the school to become a reality. Some were concerned that segregation should not be part of the Toronto educational scope. Others backed the school saying that its cultural awareness would benefit its students.
Thando Hyman-Aman is the small school's principal. She spoke to Digital Journal about her excitement for the coming year but couldn't expand as she was with the parents of a new student.
More about Toronto, Africentric alternative school, Black students
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