A popular classroom alternative won’t be returning in the fall, much to the disappointment of all those involved.
Same-sex Grades 6-7 classes that have been offered at Glenmerry Elementary School will no longer be available in the fall because there are not enough teachers willing to teach in that environment, according to principal Patrick Audet.
“It made our school special,” he said.
“It became a drawing card where we had parents interested in coming to our school because of that program.”
The program was started in January 2005 in an attempt to address the disparity between boys and girls performance in the classroom.
The segregated classrooms turned out to be a huge success.
“We were very pleased,” said Heather McQuiggan, one of the teachers who started the program.
“We were also pleased that the parents and students wanted us to continue for that term three of the first year we started and it just rolled on, no one questioned anything, we just continued.”
Besides greatly improved grades, students in the classes looked forward to coming to coming to school, bond better with classmates and overall have more confidence, she said.
But none of that matters as this is the last time students will learn core subjects with those of the same gender.
April Anstey, Brayden Stanton and Ross St. Jean are all grade six students who were a part of the program this year. They are sad that it’s ending and would do it again next year if they had the choice.
“If you’re around a bunch of girls and you think they know the question and you don’t you feel stupid, but when you’re just around the guys you feel more comfortable,” said St. Jean.
“I’ve learned more in the same-sex classes because I would get my work done better and wasn’t distracted,” Stanton added.
Anstey admitted she’s a little relieved about the decision, as sometimes it was difficult being in a classroom of only girls for a whole year — they could get pretty emotional.
“In academic subjects I like being with the girls but in physical education it’s more fun to compete against the boys.”
“It’s an end of an era of excellence,” added Bev Kanda, another teacher who has been working with the program for five years. “We’ve been striving for excellence in so many ways — academic excellence, leadership excellence.”
Audet said if the school had teachers who were willing to teach the program again in the future the school would definitely be open to bringing back the program.