PROUD Academy, an "inclusive school" designed to meet the needs and interests of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning (LGBTQ+) youth and their allies, plans on starting its first class on September 5, 2023.
The Academy is intentionally starting small, with enrollment in its inaugural year limited to 20 students in just 7th and 8th grades. That means applicants to the $19,900/year program will be roughly 11-12 years old when they start in the fall. Pronouns and gender identity are required on the student application. Classes will take place in the Boys and Girls Club in Ansonia, CT, for now.
PROUD insists on incorporating inclusion, belonging, and social-emotional learning standards within the core of its curriculum, and by now most people understand what that means. It will also offer students activities through the Boys and Girls Club, youth Stonewall Speaker training, art, theater and other extra-curricular activities.
The Board of Directors includes President Carol Santos, Vice-President Dan Woog, Secretary Henrietta Small and Treasurer Kenneth Gatson, along with six other Board members.
The school has partnered with Southern Connecticut State University, Harvey Milk High School (NY, NY), Magic City Acceptance Academy (Homewood, AL), Alliance School (Milwaukee, WI), Albert Einstein Academy (Lakewood, OH), and The Future Perfect Project (FPP). FPP was co-founded by Celeste Lecesne, who also co-founded the highly controversial Trevor Project (which has been accused of grooming children in crisis on its helpline).
The partners signed a "solidarity pledge" to recognize that they are "more than a school" and instead call themselves a "movement".
The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) reveal the presence of a "gender-affirming closet" where students can change into more affirming clothes.
The school is planning to expand to other grades in the coming years.