By Federico Martinez
Tribute Staff Writer
Boys and girls attending Muskegon Maritime Academy this fall will attend separate classes in many cases, a set-up that numerous national studies have shown increases the academic success for students of both genders.
The approach, which studies show cuts down on classroom distractions and helps to avoid boy/girl learning stereotypes, is only one of the many innovative approaches that the new charter school will be building into its curriculum, school founder Franklin A. Fudail said.
“This school was not created to mimic schools we already have in our community,” noted Mr. Fudail. “We are here to introduce a new model of what school should look like.
“Every idea we introduce is research-based. It’s important to note that there will be no difference in what they are taught, they just will be separate.”
Research collected by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools, reveals that graduates of all-girls schools are more likely than those attending coeducational schools to impact their communities; perform better academically; consider majoring in math, science or technology; and have higher aspirations and greater motivation.
Boys benefit also, according to a recent article published by the U.S. News & World Report.
“In single-gender schools, boys are often more willing to take risks because they don’t feel the fear of failing in front of the other sex,’’ saidi Matt Albert, executive director of the Center for Reflective Communities in Los Angeles Communities in Los Angeles, who is quoted in the article. “Single-gender schools can establish more relaxed environments [and] less gender stereotyping, and courses can be tailored to student needs and interests.”
According to the Harvard Kennedy School of Women and Public Policy Program, “Female students in all-female classes experience less stereotype threat and perform better in their mathematics grades than their female peers in coeducational classes, with no difference in their language grades.”
MMA, which will host K-5 students, isn’t the first Muskegon area school to institute single gender classes, Mr. Fudail pointed out.
In 2012 it was reported Reeths-Puffer Public Schools introduced separate boys and girls classes at their Intermediate School. The change was wildly popular with students, according to an article published by Mlive.com.
Despite the overwhelming evidence that boys and girls learn better in same-gender classes, most public schools continue to stick to the traditional mixed gender classes, education experts cited in the U.S. News and World Report article noted.
Mr. Fudail said what separates MMA and most other public schools is a willingness to buck tradition.
Not all grades and classes at MMA will be separated by gender, Mr. Fudail said. Kindergarten classes will include boys and girls and some classes in grades 1-5 will also be mixed.
“Revolution is needed in the public education space,” Mr. Fudail said. “For this school to be successful, we must transform and not conform. We are not here to follow the norm, we are here to trailblaze a new way.”
To Enroll Visit www.MuskegonMaritimeAcademy.org