Local News

Wilson Charter School Experiments With Same-Sex Classes

Posted August 5, 2003

— A same-sex classroom experiment is under way at a Wilson charter school.

Laura Edwards, the curriculum director at

Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education

, decided to seperate boys and girls in grades four through six to see if students' grades improve.

Edwards decided to give the idea try it after reading an article about a school in Washington, D.C.

"Beginning about fourth grade, boys and girls start to become more interested in each other than the learning what's going on around them," she said.

The charter school's director, JoAnne Woodard, said the idea is simple.

"It's for the same reason we wear uniforms -- to minimize the distractions," she said.

Skeptics on a national level said it is unfair to separate children in a public school based solely on gender. The charter school director said parents who send their kids here want something different.

"They knew coming in -- all the parents that were here last year and new parents knew -- that this is what we were going to try and we promised we'd look at how kids did," Edwards said.

In grades four through six, there is one class of boys, one class of girls and one co-ed class. Grade seven classes are all same-sex and eighth grade classes are co-ed.

The school will compare results of the same-sex classes with the co-ed ones at the end of the year.

Parents of students in grade four through six were able to request what type of class they wanted their child in.

A national group that supports alternative classrooms said four more single-sex schools will open by next summer.


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