LOUISVILLE, Ky.-- When we first introduced you to a new take on public shools in Jefferson County, the sixth grade students at the all-boy school, W.E.B. DuBois Academy, were fresh in the halls of the brand-new model. In its first year open, the academy-- made-up of mostly minority students-- is improving student performance in math and reading. Spectrum News One's got a look at what's working.

  • The W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Louisville is a new school, in its first year operating, for male sixth graders in Jefferson County. It is made-up of 157, mostly minority, students.
  • According to district staff, students have shown the most academic growth on recent tests, improving performance in math and reading. 
  • Students are proud to improve, but also to learn about growing into proper young men and building brotherhood. 

There's a brotherhood being built inside the halls of W.E.B. DuBois Academy in Louisville. Sixth grader Marcellous Malone describes their mascot, the lion, as a model of courage... but there are also role models lining the halls for students to be inspired by, like Barack Obama, Muhammad Ali, and Frederick Douglass. 

"The legacy that we want to leave is just to continue to make our own history. And we don't set out every day wanting to be in history books, or even wanting to be spoken of. We set out every day to be better and to improve. And if we're able to improve each and every last one of these young men, they will then improve their homes, their communities, and our society overall," explains Principal Robert Gunn. 

Principal Gunn says there's real potential here to disprove stereotypes. On district tests, he says the young men showed the most improvement in math and reading among African American males in the entire district; the demographic does account for 93-percent of the population here.

"It just tells me that we have data and statistics that can push back against that dominant narrative and discourse that is always been amongst certain people- that young men that look like me that come from similar backgrounds as mine are not capable, like literally I think that some people believe that they are not capable of achieving," he says.

Malone likes math... but to him, the school is more than that. It's about manners, and becoming a proper young man.

"If you're not taught, then you might start doing ignorant stuff whenever you get older. And your life might not want it to be what you want it to be," says Malone.