California Educator

December 2018 / January 2019

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Page 40 of 75

for girls to enter these emerging industries," Mitch- ell said. "Gender bias is real, and once we confront it directly, we'll be in a better position to have a meaningful conversation about how we can change it." Mitchell plans outings every year with GALA's ninth- grade girls to give them exposure to women working in high-tech fields in the real world. She breaks into a big smile as she talks about the promise and enthusiasm in GALA girls, proclaiming that "they know they're our future, and they're ready." Physics teacher Hill said that Mitchell's support means a lot to the girls, whether its taking field trips to see the inner workings of the Culver City transportation system or helping the senator cel- ebrate women and girls in STEM in the state Capitol. "Knowing that Sen. Mitchell is connected to our school makes the girls feel special," Hill said. "She's a role model to them." Colleges come calling for GALA girls e diverse group of 11th-grade girls who excel in STEM subjects is now catching the attention of higher learning institutions. Hicks said prestigious schools like Massa- chusetts Institute of Technology and Denison University are already scheduled to visit. A school full of students who've taken AP Computer Science is a rarity anywhere in the country, and girls of color who've done so are even more scarce. "I'm so excited for them. ey're going to be attending colleges all over the country," Hicks said. GALA's popularity has already spurred an all-boys public equivalent in L AUSD — the Boys Academic Leadership Academy of Los Angeles, also founded by the visionary Hicks. While the verdict on whether the " Research shows … it's more dire than just potentials not being met — there are girls who aren't even given the chance to wonder and dream. STEM dreams are normalized, welcomed and nurtured here at GALA." — R O S E AGA M E GWA , U T L A Every 10th-grade student at GALA takes Jon Landa's AP Computer Science class, a rarity for girls nationwide. special environment at GALA translates into achievement is still out until the school graduates its first class, initial assessment scores for math and science in sixth and seventh grades are off the charts — more than double the districtwide proficiency rate. And the educators there say their girls wouldn't remain silent if they felt their experience didn't live up to their expectations. "I have girls that are so eloquent about their needs and desires," Nur said. "ey have a vision." 39 D E C E M B E R 2 018 / J A N U A R Y 2 019

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