Single gender education is powerful, particularly during the middle school years. The most impactful schools are the ones that have an established single gender culture. Girls’ schools create a culture of achievement in which academic progress is of great importance, and the discovery and development of a girls individual potential is paramount. “Time in the classroom is spent learning. Girls’ schools are a place where girls take center stage. And we think that is where they belong. Simply put, girls’ schools teach girls that there is enormous potential and power in being a girl. By subtracting boys an all-girls’ education adds opportunities. At a girls’ school, a girl occupies every role: every part in the play and every position on every team. Not only does she have a wealth of avenues for self-exploration and development: she also has a wealth of peer role models.” National Coalition of Girls’ Schools
As I look around our school and observe the girls and teachers in action whether it is during the wildly popular Hanger Hall Olympics, the re-enactment of Cyrano, or the testing of STEM fair subjects for experiments, it is obvious that girls are occupying each and every role from leading discussions, to leading teams, to creating strategies for success both inside the classroom and within their teams. They are leaders and participants. There is growing research on brain development in boys and girls and about the ways they learn. Our teachers at Hanger Hall are experienced at teaching in an all-girls culture. Cumulatively our teachers bring more than 50 years of teaching girls ranging in tenure from three years all the way up to 13 years! Additionally, professional development opportunities are available specifically for teachers in single-gender schools. As an example, our math teacher, Kizzi Danh earned her advanced STEM certification last year through the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools in partnership with the Online Girls’ School. Beyond the academics, our teachers are experienced in the emotional and social development of the girls. Fifteen years of teaching 200+ middle school girls positions Hanger Hall as being skillful and very knowledgeable about what to expect in each grade and how to best use those situations as learning opportunities for the girls to develop their own set of skills.
The best, most effective, girls’ schools are the ones created specifically for the sole purpose of educating girls in the living and learning skills necessary to succeed in school and in life. These schools were created with girls in the forefront, and with girls occupying each and every role. These girls are taught by 21st century role models well-versed in the philosophy of how girls learn best, and the passion to bring that to the girls.
“In the end, girls’ schools should not be judged by the absence of boys, but rather by the presence—the self-assurance, poise, and deering-do—of the girls themselves.” –National Coalition of Girls Schools This past Sunday was designated Day of the Girl around the world; at Hanger Hall each and every day is Day of the Girl!
The National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS) offers these benefits of attending an all-girls school:
- Nearly 100% of girls’ school grads go on to college.
- Three times as many alumnae of single-sex schools plan to become engineers.
- Girls’ school students spend more hours a week doing homework, attending study groups, tutoring others, and working with their teachers than co-ed school students.
- In a single-sex school, a girl can comprehend her value and her capabilities in ways that have nothing to do with how she looks or whom she dates. Not only is she not in a bubble, she’s utterly free to do anything and everything she wants. She can experiment and explore, trying out new things and trying on new identities.
- At a girls’ school, a girl occupies every role. She has a wealth of avenues for self-exploration and development and a school full of peer role models.
- While girls’ schools may succeed in drawing out the socially underdeveloped, they tend to attract the girl who is a misfit of another kind: one who is bold, socially independent, and smart as can be. She is untroubled by and indeed thrives in a single-sex environment. In her close-knit community, her individuality is nurtured and fed. As a result, a girl becomes more and more comfortable making her own decisions and determining the course of her own life. She becomes accustomed to speaking up and, more importantly, being heard.