Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy
The Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy graduated their first class of seniors in 2015. There were only twelve students, but 100% of them graduated and all went on to college. Those twelve men started as freshman in 2011, the year BOMLA welcomed its first students.
The Academy is a magnet secondary school for boys in the Dallas Independent School District. It was modeled on the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School which has been earning accolades since 2004 and intended to provide a superior educational experience with an emphasis on math and science.
At BOMLA, students wear ties and coats every day at school. They use honorifics like “Sir” and “Brother” with their teachers and with each other. They also become members of one of four houses within the school. These houses compete for weekly, monthly and semester-end honors with goals such as reading the most books or logging the most parental volunteer hours.
The Academy opened with just 205 students in grades 6 through 9. Those ninth graders were the first graduating class in 2015. Now there are over 400 students and an enrollment waitlist.
Housed in the former B.F. Darrell Elementary School, a remodel in 2010 helped bring the building up to modern standards, but it couldn’t make the elementary-sized playing fields big enough for high school sports. Instead, BOMLA features some nontraditional offerings such as lacrosse.
Darrell, who died in 1919, was an historically important African-American schoolteacher and principal during the late 1800s in Dallas. While his place in history should always remain, when the Leadership Academy opened, it was felt that changing the name to honor President Barack Obama would be more likely to inspire today’s student body.