Same-Sex Classrooms in Harlem

By: Stephanie Baker
By: Stephanie Baker

January 5, 2006
Boys and girls in one Columbia County school won't be sharing the same classroom anymore, at least for the rest of this school year.

Harlem Middle is one of several schools that didn't meet federal standards under the No Child Left Behind Act. Studies suggest separating boys and girls can improve how well they learn. It's just the third day of the new separation, and eighth grade teacher Amy Bush says her students are more focused.

"They seem to be interacting with me and each other better. There's not as much competition between the boys and the girls,” Bush said.

Research suggests separating boys and girls lowers the Number of dropouts and raises test scores. Principal Walker Davis hopes this will work for his students.

"We know that middle schoolers have the other gender on their mind quite a bit,” Davis said.

And the research shows students are less intimidated to speak out in class. About a hundred eighth grade students are in single-gender classrooms right now. Harlem Middle
is going to continue this for at least the rest of the year and if it works well, other grades might start doing It next year."

Superintendent Tommy Price told the school board this morning the new program could bring Harlem Middle back up to federal standards.

"They really felt like this would work at Harlem Middle School," Price said.

Student Matthew Kane thinks it will, but he misses the girls.

"You can't really make everyone laugh and cut up in Class," Kane said.

Something Amanda Hamilton may not miss.

"The guys aren't there to make jokes and stuff, so it's a lot easier to pay attention," Amanda said.

"They seem to be able to concentrate better." said teacher Amy bush.

Which is why many teachers want to keep them apart till after class. Harlem middle will decide at the end of the Year if the change will be permanent, and the school board
May encourage other schools to do the same.

Harlem Middle joins about ten other schools across the State with same-sex classrooms, and it seems to be working.

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