Separating the boys and the girls

CLOVER, SC (WBTV) - At Crowders Creek Elementary, teacher Susan Allen has her hands full with 5th grade boys and girls.

Next year will be different. "I will have girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon," said Allen.

Next door, Language Arts teacher Rena Coggins will have boys in the morning and girls in the afternoon.

Both teachers say boys and girls learn differently, and the separation should help each student succeed.

Coggins gave an example of how it might help during an essay assignment.

"With boys, using a timer is really effective," she said.  "If you just say, 'We're going to write a three-page essay,' that's kind of overwhelming for them," she said.

"Girls are more global. They like to make personal connections to things," she said.

Several national studies support single-gender classrooms, but with budget cuts and variables, the hard and fast numbers are hard to track.

However, every year the South Carolina Department of Education surveys participating teachers, students, and parents across 150 schools with single-gender classrooms.

The majority report better confidence, self-esteem and academic performance in the classroom.

Kim Pennington plans to enroll her daughter next year.

"One of the struggles for her in the classroom is that she doesn't like to speak out," she said.

Some of the behavioral distractions that come with 11-year-olds should take care of themselves.

"I think that's a huge factor, especially at the 5th grade level," said Allen.

The school will have 50 students participate in single-gender classrooms next year.

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