Education Nation AllGirls High School

Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 9:22am

All-girls public school kicks off its first year in Phoenix.

"Education Nation," a week-long event examining education in America returns to NBC News on September 25th. One example of innovation in education is happening in Phoenix, Arizona, where an all-girls public school is kicking off its first year. More often a choice in private schools, there are few gender specific public schools.

The first day of school at this high school seemed a little less nerve wracking. All the 85 9th through 11th graders at girls leadership academy were still a bit shy. But everyone looks more relaxed when the camera wasn't in their face.

Yvonne Watterson, the Head of School, says "the research shows that young women who are educated in a single gender environment they're much more likely to speak. Public speaking comes a little bit more easily to them. They are more likely to be involved in their communities. They are more likely to be involved in politics"

And the curriculum is designed specifically for girls focusing on building self-confidence. It uses the same girl meets world curriculum Oprah Winfrey uses at her South African school where each student has a teacher mentor. This is why Marli traveled an hour and half by light rail.

Marli Mayon says "I think it cuts out a lot of those insecurities that we have in high school. I don't have to worry about boys. I don't have to worry about what i'm wearing we're all wearing the same thing. I can just focus on my studies.

Monique Faye McGee says "I think its a good atmosphere. Everyone is so open and interactive. It's great."

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