NORTH BRADDOCK, Pa. (KDKA) – Pittsburgh has seen this before: police standing at a crime scene where a young African American male was murdered.
A new initiative wants to change futures by putting a book in a young man’s hand instead of a gun. It’s called the Life Male STEAM Academy.
“The Lord spoke to me on Sept. 1, 2014. It was a 911 call,” Pastor Darryl Canady of Rodman Street Baptist Church.
“He said, ‘You got to save the boys.’ I know what education has done for me. Education changed my whole life.”
Pastor Darryl Canady plans to open a new charter school — grades K through 12 for young African American males. The Woodland Hills School Board approved the school charter.
“We’re going to have a school, a K-12 academy that’s geared towards STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. We’re going to help these young men prepare for college success and career readiness.”
The school will start out with 168 sixth and seventh graders using several floors in a Wilkins Township building. Pastor Canady says they’ve done their homework, visiting similar schools around the country with plans to implement some of their best practices here next fall.
One reason why they chose the Woodland Hills District: over the last three years, at least seven students were shot and killed.
“We want to be able to make a difference,” said Canady.
“We are coming to partner with them. We believe that we have a message, to be able to turn around the trajectory of what I believe is our most vulnerable population, and that is African American males.”
The school will have programs to work with families.
Thirty percent of the students will come from Woodland Hills, and the rest from the Pittsburgh area.
And because it’s a charter school, it’s free. The state requires tuition to be paid by the school district where a student lives.