Editor's note - Susy Reyna is a staff writer for The Torch, South Houston High School's student newspaper
By Susy Reyna
South Houston High School is one of a growing number of schools across the country exploring single-gender classes in a public school setting.
BCIS teachers, Tim Keenley and Rhonda Carmody, who coordinated the effort are part of an eight-member team of teachers who have agreed to be a part of this year-long pilot program.
The program is funded by a $5,000 mini-grant, and features two English II classes for girls, three Geometry classes for girls, three Geometry classes for boys, two World History Classes for boys, two BCIS I classes for girls, and two BCIS I for boys.
"There are 500 schools nation wide trying this program and the results are impressive; students have significantly improved in grades and behavior," said Keenley.
Keenley is not alone when he says that single gender classes benefit students.
Principal Steve Fullen pointed out that research shows that male and females students learn different especially when separated.
"Research shows girls don't do as good in math and science because they don't want to appear brainy - they usually hold back - as well with boys, research shows boys behave differently when they are in single gender classes, their behavior is way better with no girls in there," said Fullen.
"Here at SHHS they are trying to create an environment free from distraction so what teachers teach is easier to understand," Fullen added.
Keenley and other teachers said the new single-gender classes are working well.
"My classes are going great," said Keenley.
"They are engaged and deal with each other in ways we understand and we do our work fast and well, it's exactly what I expected," said Keenley.
This year students were placed in these classes randomly. Many students were upset by this decision at first, but have realized how much single gender classes are benefiting them.
"I would stay in here because it is easier to learn," said Senior Hannah King.
Administrators are pleased with how the classes are going, too.
"From what I've observed in two classrooms with all male students, single gender classes provide for more student-teacher interaction and for students to focus their attention on material being presented," said Assistant Principal Ceci Rafati.
At the end of the year, teachers will evaluate the program and decide if single-gender classrooms met expected goals, as well as if there is a possibility for this program to be expanded school-wide.