Board to vote on single-sex class

WINDER - Some Winder-Barrow Middle School eighth-graders might end up in all-girls or all-boys math classes this fall.

Two middle school teachers propose implementing single-sex math classes for eighth-graders in danger of failing the math portion of Georgia's Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. School board members will vote on the measure Tuesday.

To be promoted, eighth-graders must meet or exceed established standards in math and reading. More than one-quarter, 24.4 percent, of Winder-Barrow Middle School eighth-graders did not meet established math standards, according to scores released by the state Tuesday.

That is the highest percentage of eighth-graders in Barrow County that did not score high enough in math to be promoted to ninth grade.

At Russell Middle School, 20.4 percent of eighth-graders did not meet standards, compared to 17.3 percent at Haymon Morris Middle School and 16.6 percent at Westside Middle School.

Students who did not pass the exam must retake and pass it before continuing on to the next grade level.

Teachers Erica Boswell and Michael Lofton, along with Winder-Barrow Middle Principal Mary Beth Deaton, said they believe single-sex classrooms might be the answer.

Their research shows that boys and girls have the ability to learn all subjects, but biological differences cause them to learn in different ways.

The single-sex classroom will give teachers the opportunity to tailor their teaching to the specific learning style of their students, the proposal by Boswell and Lofton says.

Students whose scores hover around the passing mark in the math portion of last spring's seventh-grade CRCT will be selected for the class. Each class will hold 26 girls and 26 boys.

"There are quite a few schools doing it across the state," Deaton said. "This learning style targets the entire student. A single-sex classroom doesn't take any more money or anything else."