Single Gender
Successful Education Programs

In Co-Ed Schools or in Single-Sex Schools…

Over the last decade, the Gurian Institute has trained thousands of teachers and administrators in hundreds of schools and districts, both co-ed and single-sex. We have been all across the USA and in many countries internationally. What we have learned is that single-gender programs can be a very positive option for many schools. However, research clearly shows that for the successful implementation of single-sex classes, teachers and administrators MUST have training and be supported in the theory behind and in the implementation of best-first, gender-friendly strategies.

Army and Navy Academy

Since its inception in 1910, the Army and Navy Academy’s curriculum has combined rigorous college-preparatory classes with a leadership training program. As the only military boarding school for boys on the West Coast, the Academy in Carlsbad, California ensures that the Cadet experience focuses on responsibility, citizenship, and character development.

Army and Navy Academy educates tomorrow’s leaders through small class sizes for young men in grades 7-12. The Academy is pleased to be named a Gurian Institute Model School, in recognition of its commitment to single-gender education and use of teaching techniques developed specifically for how boys learn best.  The Academy is proud to be the only military school and only one of ten nationwide to receive this designation

Hillsborough County Schools

Hillsborough County Schools in Tampa, Florida has added single gender academies – both for boys and for girls – to their educational landscape and utilized Gurian Institute theory and practice for school success.

Carla Sparks, Supervisor of Magnet & Choice Programs, shares her Summer Institute experience: “Attending the Summer Institute in 2011, just as we were launching our Boys Preparatory Academy and Girls Preparatory Academy (grades 6-8) in Hillsborough County, had a great impact on my work as a district administrator supervising single gender programs. Having the opportunity to learn the latest research in gender and the implications of that research on classroom instruction and school culture in a single gender setting has been invaluable. The knowledge I gained at the Summer Institute has guided me, school site administrators, and teachers in developing successful single gender programs that are truly changing the lives of students.

The opportunity to become a Gurian Certified Trainer for our district has also been a great benefit of attending the Summer Institute. Two Lead Teachers and I became certified, and we have used the excellent resources of the Gurian Institute to train the teachers in our schools. I am continually amazed at the increased effectiveness of our teachers who are employing their understanding of how the male and female brain learn on a daily basis in their classrooms.”

Sacred Heart School

“When Sacred Heart School started their journey into Single Gender Education in a co-educational building, we needed a foundational resource that would apply to both an all Girls class and an all Boys class. Dr. Gurian’s book “Successful Single-Sex Classes” was the perfect place for us to start. Once we learned about brain research in relation to how boys and girls learn differently, we really started to see a change in pedagogy with our teachers. They just could not unknow what they learned and treated their students in the same manner.

We invited Michael to come and help us grow in our knowledge and skills in year 3 of the program. He was so open to creating the most appropriate workshop to meet our teachers needs that we felt like he was more a member of the staff by the time the session was done. He toured each classroom and spent time with each individual teacher, offering suggestions and providing great positive support to them. The teachers felt very comfortable talking with Dr. Gurian about any and all Single Gender issues they were experiencing. After the individual sessions, Dr. Gurian came and spoke to questions that we, as a staff, had created and sent to him earlier. The discussions that followed were very valuable and the teachers wished we could have spent more time with him.

Dr. Gurian then presented to a group of teachers, administrators, parents, trustees and senior administrators. His presentation “How Boys and Girls Learn Differently’ was highly engaging, very entertaining and incredibly informative. He was able to get members of our school community, at all levels, to see something new in their students, their child and even their spouse. The response to his presentation was very positive and the group would have listened to him for many more hours.

Dr. Gurian, his books and his personal relationship with us, has helped us create an unique school environment by providing us with factual information that we could rely on and visiting us in person to provide critical, positive feedback on what was happening at our school. We hope this relationship will continue into the future.”

Leanne Timko, Principal
Sacred Heart School (K – 8)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
January, 2013

Did you know?

By 2007, more than 99% of public schools were co-ed.  However, with more opportunity to legally offer single-gender classes and schools, more public schools are exploring the option of piloting single-gender choices, especially when they face gender-gap issues in areas that affect performance for individual children, schools, and districts.

Current research indicates that for some children, single-gender classes and schools can be a very position option.  Research also shows that teachers, administrators, and parents must be trained and supported to support a strategic implementation of the curriculum.  Most often the curriculum doesn’t change – it is for the teachers to learn, develop, and implement effective, gender-friendly strategies so that performance is improved, disciplinary referrals decrease, and more students become engaged and excited about learning!

How can single-gender schooling help boys?

  • By creating a “boy-friendly” environment
  • By allowing teachers to focus on delivering curriculum with boy-friendly strategies, including literacy
  • By creating a “safe” place for boys to ask questions they are reluctant to ask in a co-ed environment
  • By giving boys a peer environment that allows them to support each other’s efforts
  • By making school a place boys see as engaging, challenging and even fun
  • By removing the distraction of girls when puberty sends the hormones into overdrive
  • By breaking down gender stereotypes

How can single-gender schools help girls?

  • By creating a “girl-friendly” environment
  • By allowing girls to explore non-traditional areas more fully (computer science, advanced math and science)
  • By allowing teachers to focus on delivering curriculum with girl-friendly strategies
  • By creating a “safe” place for girls to ask questions they are reluctant to ask in a coed environment
  • By giving girls the opportunity to develop leadership skills that are often untapped in coed situations
  • By removing the distraction of boys when puberty sends the hormones into overdrive
  • By breaking down gender stereotypes

Test Data & Statistics on Success of a Gender Based Educational Approach

Hillsborough County Public Schools, Tampa, FL
An extraordinary amount of training was implemented by the Gurian Institute and the district  prior to the opening of the Boys and Girls Preparatory Academies and has been ongoing ever since. The original training focused on current brain research on the differences between the male and female brains, their developmental stages, and the implications on classroom instruction. The Gurian Institute has been instrumental in providing training to educators in Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) through workshops held locally, as well as teachers and administrators attending the Summer Institutes presented by the Gurian Institute in Colorado Springs.

Student achievement based on performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) and High School Credit End of Course Exams (EOC) in 2013.

Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy
(66% Boys of Color)
18% gain among 6th grade students passing FCAT Reading
14% gain among 6th grade students passing FCAT Math
11% gain among 7th grade students passing FCAT Math
7% gain among 8th grade students passing FCAT Reading
3% gain among 8th grade students passing FCAT Math
31% gain among 8th grade students passing FCAT Writes
7% gain among students passing the Algebra 1 EOC
100% of students who took GEO passed the EOC (first time this course was offered at BPA)

Other Achievements in 2013 Franklin Boys Preparatory Academy (BPA)
BPA earned the 2013 Magnet School of Excellence Award from Magnet Schools of America
BPA was honored with the Apple Distinguished Program Award on March 5, 2013, for its outstanding integration of iPad technolgy into all aspects of curricula
Every student at BPA has a school issued iPad 2 that he checks out everyday for use during schoo
BPA hosted national and international educators demonstrating how our students use the iPad 2 in all subject areas
Enrichment Academies are offered Tuesday – Friday after school, free of charge. Saturday Academies are offered monthly for students and families, also free of charge
BPA was named a Confucius Classroom with support from the University of South Florida Confucius Institute and the Office of Chinese Language Council International.

Ferrell Girls Preparatory Academy
(66% Girls of Color)

8% gain among 6th grade students passing FCAT Reading
8% gain among 6th grade students passing FCAT Math
16% gain among 7th grade students passing FCAT Reading
15% gain among 7th grade students FCAT Math
23% gain among 8th grade students passing FCAT Reading
14% gain among 8th grade students FCAT Math
4% gain among 8th grade students FCAT Science
4% gain among 8th grade students passing FCAT Writes
54.65% gain among students passing the Algebra EOC
Other Achievements in 2013 – Ferrell Girls Preparatory Academy (GPA)
GPA earned a school grade of an “A” making more academic gains than any other middle school in Hillsborough County Public School District
GPA was the only Title 1 School in Hillsborough County to receive a school grade of “A.”
GPA was honored with the Apple Distinguished Program Award on March 5, 2013, for its outstanding integration of iPad technology into all aspects of curricula
GPA earned the 2013 Magnet School of Distinction Award from Magnet Schools of America
Every student at GPA has a school issued iPad 2 that she checks out everyday for use during school
Enrichment Academies are offered Tuesday – Friday after school, free of charge. Saturday Academies are offered monthly for students and families, also free of charge
GPA was named a Confucius Classroom with support from the University of South Florida Confucius Institute and the Office of Chinese Language Council International

Roosevelt Middle School, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
(73% Children of Color)
Submitted by Marilyn Vrooman, Principal. “In 2005, we had a gender gap in reading achievement of 17%. Our boys scored 55% satisfactory on the 8th grade CRT reading test and our girls scored 72%.   I began looking for strategies that would correct this problem and came up with gender separation in classrooms.  The teachers agreed, the parents agreed and we separated the boys and girls in language arts, math and technology education.” “Immediately, we saw positive results with the girls.  They took to it like ducks to water.

We are 100% free lunch; 65% Hispanic, 25% white, 8% black, 2% other. We are an urban school district with 900 students grades 6, 7 & 8. The boys were not so quick to work.  They complained that they needed the girls, the classes were louder, and the maturity differences in the boys caused problems in class.” “So, researching more, I came upon the Gurian Institute that had many books written about learning differences in males and females.  I contacted Kathy Stevens and had her come for two days.  The first day, she just observed classes, took notes and studied behavior.  The second day, she conducted an all day in-service for our faculty.  She helped us understand the differences in boys and girls regarding brain-based learning, behavior and strategies for success.  After she left, our teachers were charged up again.  The teachers realigned their classrooms to meet the needs of the genders and changed the materials used to teach.” “We have found that our boys do not like touchy feely stuff.

They like non-fiction, cars, action, etc.  Keeping totally with our state standards for each class, the teachers used different materials to teach the standards, and the boys took off.  And in terms of discipline success, our total fights on campus went from 125 to 30.” “On our CRT scores, at the end of last year, our boys scored 71% satisfactory on the reading CRT and the girls scored 80%; narrowing the achievement gap to 9% in one year. This year is the first year we have been off the states “at risk” list in four years.  This year, we have students separated by gender in all core subjects and in computers.  In order to overcome the maturation problem with the boys, we have the students grouped by ability, using last year’s test scores.” “Honestly, we would not have had the success we had if the Gurian Institute had not come in and worked with us on teaching strategies by gender.”

Pine Tree Elementary School, Avon, Indiana
Kari Mize, the principal of Pine Tree Elementary School in Avon, Indiana shared this success data with us.  “There are many things that we have done at Pine Tree to improve our practice, our earliest change being our professional development on gender learning differences.  To give you an idea of how life has changed at Pine Tree, I share this information with you. It is important to know that we are a Title 1 school.”
—–Language Arts ISTEP* Scores – Third Grade—–
Girls passing:
2007 – 77%
2011 – 93%        up 16%

Boys passing:
2007 – 80%
2011 – 90%        up 10%

—–Math ISTEP* Scores – Third Grade—–
Girls passing:
2007 – 69%
2011 – 82%        up 13%
Boys passing:
2007 – 81%
2011 – 90%        up 9%

*(Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress) “We also measure academic progress using the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA), which we give three times per year. We look at the percentage of students meeting their target RIT by spring for our second, third, and fourth grade students. What follows is the improvement we’ve seen on NWEA.”

Percentage of students meeting target RIT in Reading:
2007 –  32.9% to  37.9%
2011 –  63.8% to  91.5%
Percentage of students meeting target RIT in Math:  
2007 – 52.9% to 59.2
​2011 – 75% to 91.5%

Contact the Gurian Institute at info@gurianinstitute.com for information on how a professional development plan can be designed to meet the needs of your organization and the families you serve.

Single Gender Successful Education Programs - GURIAN INSTITUTE