Southfield schools to separate boys, girls in classroom

Southfield Public Schools announces changes in 3 of 4 of its high schools

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - Students in Southfield will show up to different looking classrooms this fall.

Thursday afternoon Southfield Public Schools released details on changes it's making to high school classes including creating single-gender classes for many students.

Southfield Public Schools superintendent Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson said the research backs up what they're doing.

"The research shows that when girls and boys are separated, they each tend to have higher achievement," said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson.

Three of Southfield's four high schools will pilot the gender-specific classes come September.  

Southfield High School, and Southfield Lathrup High School will start ninth graders in gender separate core classes while Southfield Regional Academic Center will have separate core classes in eighth, ninth and 10th grades.

Students already attending a high school in Southfield seem to like the idea, but not necessarily for all grade levels.

"Girls, I want to say for most guys, can be a distraction, so I think that the gender isolation is actually helpful," said student Michael Washington.

"Definitely in the ninth grade, you might be a little hesitant if there are males in the class, you know, just being a girl, but I'm sure after a few years you definitely get used to it," said student Shannon Palmer.

"Girls can be a distraction but I also think they can also be a pro in some situations. More specifically in discussion based classes because you want to bring in all perspectives in a discussion based classes, so that's usually particularly history and English," said student Austin Little.

Southfield High School and Southfield Lathrup High School will also sequester ninth graders from the upper classes for the first year of high school to help with the transition.

"If you were to bring your high school child to our district, we would talk with you about your child, look at your child's needs and then we would decide which of those four settings would be best," said Dr. Wanda Cook-Robinson.

The district said three of the secondary education facilities will also be introducing eighth graders into high school experience, and there will be special mentoring programs.

If these changes work, they could be expanded into other grade levels.

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