Southfield high schools offer single-gender classrooms

District says new options provide dynamic learning

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) - Southfield Public Schools are looking to welcome freshmen in a variety of news ways, including splitting the boys from the girls.

It's a strategy the district says should give students and their teachers a dynamic backdrop for learning. 

It will be a brave new world for future freshmen like Whitney Beckham when high school comes around this fall.

"I'm excited," said Beckham, "But on the other hand, I'm nervous to see how it's going to be."

At Southfield, it's a world where Becham has the chance to choose between co-ed classrooms or class with just the girls.

"It's a good idea." said Beckham, "I think it would be less of a distraction, but on the other hand, I don't because when girls get together, it causes a lot of drama."

Southfield High School principal Michael Horn says the decision to offer core curriculum single-gender classrooms for incoming freshmen is rooted in research found around the country.

"Girls scores tend to go up," said Horn, "Boys are no longer embarrassed or ashamed to raise their hands and give the wrong answer because there are no girls in there."

Horn says students will have differing opinions, but biology teacher Kimber Wardell-Stone says the key is to find an option that brings enthusiasm.

"The best learning takes place when you have students that want to be there." said Wardell-Stone.

Horn says students will have the option to choose whether they would like to be part of the single-gender classrooms. If they feel the classrooms aren't for them, Horn says students have the option to attend Southfield-Lathrup High School, where the classrooms will remain co-ed.

The district says this move is part of a multi-pronged approach to better suit the needs of incoming freshmen. In some cases, 8th graders will have the option to attend high school early.

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