Positive feedback for North Augusta single gender classrooms

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News 12 First at Five, August 24, 2007

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---Another local elementary school is teaching its fifth graders in same-gender classes. It's an effort to improve how kids learn. This is the second year for fifth grade students at North Augusta Elementary to have same-gender classes. So far, all the feedback has been positive.

Fifth grade teacher Mary Simpson teaches math to a classroom full of girls.

"It helps me as a teacher to be able to gear all of my instruction in a way that girls receive it better," Simpson said.

There are six fifth grade teachers at North Augusta Elementary that teach three sections of girls and three sections of boys. Simpson said the results since the change are encouraging.

"The girls seem to be a lot more relaxed, more apt to raise their hand, more apt to answer," Simpson said.

Fifth grade student Sarah White said, "There's no boys in the classroom and if we get an answer wrong sometimes they make fun of us but if its just girls, our friends just cheer us on."

And as for the boys, fifth grade teacher Patricia Simmons said her students are focused on team work.

"They're so busy helping each other, they don't have time to argue or find something to fight about," Simmons said.

Simmons said there have not been any discipline issues in the classsroom. The same-gender classroom concept has also helped student grades and concentration.

Fifth grade student Juliann Lloyd said, "My grade average has improved because you don't have the boys as a distraction or having to think eww, does this boy like me?"

"It's better because we can concentrate on our work instead of having girls bothering us," fifth grade student, Austin Collins said.

Principal Dr. Angela Burkhalter told News 12 she is impressed with the students' progress.

"We hope this is going to be just the right setting and the right environment to have the optimum progress for every student," Burkhalter said.

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