Principal: Gender-separating classrooms improves graduation rate

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - One Shelby County School separates classrooms by boys and girls.

Booker T. Washington High School said it keeps classrooms separated by gender to help students get a better education.

A Shelby County School's representative told WMC5's Brix Fowler the move was the brainchild of BTW principal Alisha Kiner. After much research, she found single-gender classrooms lead to better collaboration among students and better educational outcomes.

Maria Wright's son attends BTW, and she remembers the day she learned her son's classes would only have boys in it.

"It was shocking. I never grew up to be in a different class," Wright said.

Wright added that she doesn't think classrooms separated by gender would have changed her education.

"It wouldn't have mattered. It wouldn't have it ever mattered to me," Wright said.

Wright said her son enjoys the innovative learning environment.

Since splitting the classrooms in 2006, graduation rates at the school increased from 55 percent to more than 90 percent.

Kiner said it is changing students' behavior in the classroom.

"Noticed that our boys stopped being written up and referred to the office and that our girls became more confident," Kiner said.

Once students reach the 12th grade, boys and girls are put back in classrooms together.

So far, SCS has not said if this initiative will be tried in other schools.

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