Virginia Schools Look at Results When Separating Boys and Girls in the Classroom

Patricia Hawke

Having separation between boys and girls in the past has always been a way many private schools run their classrooms. Motivation for this might be for religious or moral reasons, or just because they don’t want boys and girls being distracted by the opposite sex in the same classroom. Recently, public schools have been separating the boys and girls, and for entirely different reasons. The public schools are separating the sexes due to different learning needs depending on the gender. Apparently girls and boys learn differently. The public schools are not going as far as to completely separate the sexes by putting them on different campuses, but they are all intermixed on one campus but separated in the classrooms.
Some give the reason for separation in part to the fact that boys and girls distract each other when in the classroom setting and they may not pay much attention to the lesson plan when the opposite sex is in the room. They say by separating the genders, they are removing the distraction and helping test scores go up because students can focus more on the schoolwork and lessons.
Girls have the reputation that Math, Science and Technology is not the best subject for them. The schools are hoping that by separating the boys and girls, they can adjust the lesson plans for the girls to be geared towards the female brain and how to teach the girls effectively. In result the girls will do better on their tests and have better understanding of the subjects.
They are calling this separation of the genders in classrooms, Dual Academy. One school that has adopted this new Dual Academy way of teaching is Imagine Southeast Public Charter School, in Virginia. This single sex education really is showing improvement in the schools that have taken on this dual academy teaching style. Teachers that were critical of this new way were astounded on how much more focused the students were. They said the students were not only focused but they participated more, because of lack of shyness since the opposite gender was not present. Also, the teacher noticed that students took more pride in their work, they were proud of getting good grades and loved that they didn’t have to feel embarrassed in front of the opposite gender when presenting in class or asking questions.
When we think of separating boys and girls we normally think of three things; private schools, religious reasons or old fashioned morals. Now that we are seeing a trend in public schools starting to separate boys and girls we wonder if that is good for our children’s character to only be around one sex. In real life us adults aren’t segregated anymore. We have to work on a daily basis with the opposite sex and by going to school with the opposite sex, we learn to resist distractions in the classrooms and learn to work with the opposite sex on projects or present projects in front of them. By us segregating genders to boost test scores, is this really helping our youth become diverse and help them feel confident around the opposite genders one day?
Patricia Hawke is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. For more information please visit  Virginia Schools and Virginia Public School Rankings