Hillsborough County (Fla.) single-gender schools find success

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

How are they doing?

Consider that Girls Preparatory Academy at Ferrell Middle Magnet School and Boys Preparatory Academy at Franklin Middle Magnet School were two of only four elementary and middle schools to jump two full grades in the state’s recent grading period — from a C to an A at Ferrell and a D to a B at Franklin.

“It’s a tremendously rewarding feeling,” said John Haley, principal at Franklin. “The energy level from our staff that we have coming back this year is night and day. We know that we are close to an A, and that’s exactly what we want to do.”

At Ferrell, “Our girls are up there performing at or above district levels,” said principal Karen French. “The bottom line is this has been a complete team effort — staff, parents, and our kids. I’m very proud of everyone.”

The schools’ success could help defuse gender stereotyping and the idea that boys and girls learn differently. Competing camps, represented by groups such as the National Association for Single Sex Public Education and the American Council for Coeducational Schooling, regularly assert and debunk research on the subject, and the issue has been the subject of numerous lawsuits.

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