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Do Single-Sex Schools Work?

This month, sixth and seventh graders begin classes at Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls, the first single-sex STEM public school in St. Louis. Hawthorn, says its news release, will offer “a hands-on, college-preparatory curriculum that focuses on science, technology, engineering, and math. Lessons will be reinforced through after-school and summer programming. Girls will wear uniforms and meet daily with a faculty adviser.” It is a charter public school sponsored by Washington University in St. Louis. It will add an additional class each year, ultimately enrolling 500 girls in grades 6 through 12. It emphasizes that its mission is to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math… in a single-sex school setting. And, it stresses its pedagogy rather than its exclusivity.

St. Louisans are very familiar with single-sex schools. A catalog of parochial and private same-sex schools has separated students for some families that could afford them. Hawthorn, which is free, removes the financial barrier. And it gives us the chance to ask you some questions about such schools.