W.E.B. DuBois Academy finds permanent home on Liberty High campus

The school will eventually become a sixth- through eighth-grade middle school.

W.E.B Dubois Academy

By Toni Konz Tatman | JCPS Communications

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) Superintendent Marty Pollio announced Wednesday that the W.E.B. DuBois Academy will move into a permanent home this fall.

The school, which has been temporarily housed at Gheens Academy on Preston Highway for its inaugural year, will move to the current site of Liberty High School, 3307 East Indian Trail.

“I am elated and very excited about the possibilities,” said Robert Gunn, principal of DuBois. “There is nothing like having your own space, our own place to call home.”

The Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) voted last month to move Liberty High to the current site of Gilmore Lane Elementary School, 1281 Gilmore Lane, and to close that school as part of the first phase of the district’s Facilities Transformation Initiative.

As part of the initiative, Gilmore Lane will temporarily combine with Indian Trail Elementary School during the 2019-20 school year and move into a new school building projected to open for the 2020-21 school year. 

The W.E.B. DuBois Academy is designed to meet the needs of all males. It offers a multicultural and Afrocentric curriculum in an innovative learning environment in which all students receive iPads. In addition to literacy and numeracy, the school focuses on instilling PRIDE values—Perseverance, Resilience, Initiative, Discipline, and Empathy.

This fall, the school will welcome an additional 150 sixth-grade students, as its inaugural class of students will move to seventh grade. Next year, the school will add an additional class of approximately 150 students and expand to eighth grade, making it a full sixth- through eighth-grade middle school.

Nearly all of the school’s signage and décor was designed so that it will be able to move to its permanent home.

Gunn, who spent a year helping plan the curriculum and design of DuBois before opening the school at the start of the 2018-19 year, said moving into a larger, more permanent space will expand and offer more opportunities for his students.

“We have a lot of great momentum building and are excited that we will be able to move into a new building, and continue the same opportunities for growth, academic enrichment, and excellence,” he said.

DuBois had a total of 211 applications for its inaugural year, started the 2018-19 year with 157 students, and will end the year with 154 students.

The school received 380 applications for sixth grade this fall and has already accepted 137 students, with plans to accept another 13 or 14 more, Gunn said.

He will also add eight more teachers as well as three other resource positions.

“I know our parents and students will be thrilled to hear about our new location,” he said. “This has been the number one question that I have been asked since day one. I will be so happy to finally be able to tell everyone that we will finally have our home.”

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