Single-Gender Classes

 Uncategorized
Jan 202004
 
Authors: Brittany Burke

Teachers at Sheridan Middle School in Denver began thinking of

ways to help their students achieve.

While attending coed elective classes, a group of seventh grade

volunteers from the middle school were given the opportunity to

participate in single-gender core classes in an attempt to further

their education.

Steve Beaudoin and Melanie Fuqua, teachers at Sheridan Middle

School, 4107 S. Federal Blvd., wanted their kids to enjoy school

and to be happy learning in the classroom environment. They began

researching the idea of single-gender classrooms around Jan.

2003.

“The real reason we did this was because we wanted our kids to

be more successful,” Beaudoin said. “We looked on the Internet and

for kids who are lower economically, this has been successful.”

Sheridan has 28 boys and 32 girls participating in the program.

A survey was sent out to the students to see if there was a desire

to try the new program, Beaudoin said.

Legislature is currently rewriting Title IX, the 1972 law that

prohibits schools from discriminating on the basis of sex. This is

giving Sheridan the loophole that is allowing them to try this

program.

According to Michael Poore, the Sheridan School District

Superintendent, the school board will discuss the single-gender

classroom pilot in March. At this time they will discuss whether or

not they will continue the program.

“I am very pleased with the results,” Beaudoin said. “Number one

thing I hear is that they feel good about coming. Attendance has

really improved.”

Beaudoin, a math teacher at Sheridan, believes this new form of

learning has motivated the students’ willingness to participate and

has helped them receive higher grades.

“(The students involved in the program) tested 37 percent behind

fellow students in math,” Beaudoin said. “Now they are 8 percent

behind. They keep narrowing the gap.”

A “Jump Start” test is given to all the students at the

beginning of the year to gage their level of understanding on core

subjects, such as math, according to Beaudoin.

Fuqua, a science teacher at Sheridan, thinks the ability to keep

her teaching style consistent with one gender makes a big

difference.

“Males don’t use the feeling side of the brain,” Fuqua said.

“It’s hard for them to hear as well unless you are in their face.

Girls need encouragement.”

Fuqua can now orient herself towards one gender during the

entire class.

“There are statistics that teachers call on boys more often than

girls,” Fuqua said. “That is so the teacher can keep them on task.

(Single-gender classrooms) help them to keep working.”

According to research from the Harvard School of Education,

teachers call on the boys four times more often than the girls.

Fuqua said this new program is creating very happy kids.

“I am so glad that we did this,” Fuqua said. “Now they aren’t

playing anything off or showing off.”

Fuqua thinks this would be a good idea to implement in other

schools around the country.

“I think all kids should make choices in their education,” Fuqua

said.

Blevins Middle School in Fort Collins, 2102 S. Taft Hill,

doesn’t have a similar program but with the proper research some

might think of starting a similar version in their own schools.

Brad Stone, a counselor at Blevins said although he doesn’t see

the benefit of single-gender classrooms he could be swayed by the

proper research.

“It’s really about all kids achieving,” Stone said. “Clearly

identifying the problem and giving students options would help kids

learn.”

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