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A Gendered Choice

A Gendered Choice
Designing and Implementing Single-Sex Programs and Schools

Edited by:

Foreword by Jim Rex

November 2009 | 200 pages | Corwin

"Chadwell's book is a very useful guide for principals and administrators seeking to launch single-gender programs."
—Leonard Sax, Executive Director
National Association for Single Sex Public Education

"Any administrator following the process outlined in this book will impress teachers, parents and the board with their well thought out approach."
—Kathy Tritz- Rhodes, Principal
Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Schools
Marcus and Cleghorn, IA

"A thoughtful text and practical guide for educators who are considering establishing single-gendered classrooms."
—Pedro A. Noguera, Professor, New York University
Executive Director, Metropolitan Center for Urban Education

A comprehensive road map for single-gender initiatives!

Over 400 public schools in the United States offer single-gender classes or programs,and the number of schools contemplating such initiatives is growing at a rapid pace. In this book, David W. Chadwell, the first state coordinator for single-gender programs, offers a step-by-step process with practical planning tools for implementing high-quality single-sex programs and schools.

Organized into three sections—designing, initiating, and sustaining single-gender initiatives in local school sites and districts —this resource includes detailed, essential information on:

  • Restructuring to accommodate single-gender classes
  • Communicating with parents and overcoming resistance
  • Understanding relevant legal issues
  • Facilitating instructional changes
  • Creating a 1- to 3-year plan

Featuring numerous vignettes, current demographic data, and critical insights for professional development, A Gendered Choice provides everything educators need to know about creating single-gender schools or programs.

List of Tables
About the Author
Introduction: Defining Single-Gender Education
Part I. Considering Single-Gender Education
1. Gender Makes a Difference in the Classroom
Starting Point: Examining Gender Influences

Student Performance

Social Differences

Hormonal Differences

Brain Differences

Gender Is an Issue

Chapter One Planning Tool: Reflecting on Gender

2. What We Know About Single-Gender Programs
Demographic Data

Achievement and Other Data

Chapter Two Planning Tool: Using Data

3. Political Opposition to Single-Gender Education
The Legal Context of Single-Gender Education

Positions Against Single-Sex Education

Parting Words

Chapter Three Planning Tool: Debating Single-Gender Education

4. Frequently Asked Questions: Concerns and Options
Questions About Socialization

Questions About Planning

Questions About Instruction

Chapter 4 Planning Tool: Clearing Roadblocks

PART II. Designing A Single Gender Program
5. Rationale and Structure
Involve Key Stakeholders: Create an Exploratory Group

Learn Together About Single-Gender Education

Align the Program With the School’s Mission Statement

Develop a Rationale: Look at School Data

Decide on a Structure

Chapter 5 Planning Tool: Developing Rationale and Structure

6. Legal Issues and Logistics
Meeting the Federal Regulations for Single-Gender Programs

Single-Sex Schools

Creating a Master Schedule

Chapter 6 Planning Tool: Examining Legal Boundaries and Schedule Restraints

7. Communication
Communication With Principals and School Administrators

Communication With Teachers

Communication With Parents

Communication With Students

Communication With School Board Members

Order of Concerns in Communicating With Each Group

Avoiding Stereotypes

Chapter 7 Planning Tool: Preparing for Communication

8. Building Community
Integration of Single-Gender Programs Into School Culture

Identity of the Single-Gender Program

Location of Single-Gender Classes

Program Creed

Public Relations Plan

Coordinator for the Single-Gender Program

Team Building for Students

Chapter 8 Planning Tool: Creating Community

9. Program Price
Low-Cost Options

Moderate-Cost Options

High-Cost Options

Chapter 9 Planning Tool: Budgeting and the Impact of Gender

10. Professional Development
Professional Development Opportunities Prior to Implementation

Possible Timelines to Prepare Teachers Prior to Implementation

Continued Professional Development After Implementation

Timeline to Support Teachers After Implementation

Chapter 10 Planning Tool: Developing a Professional Development Plan

11. Program Evaluation
Ensuring Nondiscrimination

Reviewing the Rationale: Format

Reviewing the Data: Indicators

An Ongoing Review Process

Chapter 11 Planning Tool: Preparing for Evaluation

12. Sustaining a Single-Gender Program
Strong Principal Leadership

Institutionalize the Single-Gender Program

Keep the Program Manageable

Agree on Strategies to Use With Boys and Girls

Mentor New Teachers

Continue Professional Development

Instituting Change

Chapter 12 Planning Tool: Sustaining Change

Resource A: Sample Creeds From Single-Sex Schools

Resource B: Sample Proposal Form for Creating a Single-Gender Program

Resource C: Sample Team-Building Activities for Students

Resource D: Organizations for the Learning of Boys and Girls

Resource E: Sample Annual Single-Gender Program Review Form

Resource F: Sample Letter to Parents to Survey Their Interest

Resource G: Sample Letter to Parents Informing Them of Single-Gender Program and Surveying Their Interest

Resource H: Sample Letter to Parents (School Selecting Students With Coed Option Explained)

Resource I: Sample Letter to Parents (All Students in Single-Gender With Coed Option Explained)


"Single-gender education has reemerged as a sound approach to dealing with the academic issues of both girls and boys. This book provides comprehensive procedures for developing single-gender programs of all types. Chadwell covers every step of the process and points out where the pitfalls lie and how to avoid them. The planning tools at the end of each chapter involve the reader in the process and can serve as activities for workshops as schools and school systems begin the process of designing single-gender programs. This is a comprehensive handbook based on personal experience with developing single-gender educational programs. Chadwell knows what he is talking about not only from personal experience, but also as the statewide coordinator of single-sex initiatives for South Carolina. This is the book to read if you are considering implementing single-gender programs in your school."

Abigail Norfleet James, Adjunct Professor of Education
University of Virginia, Northern Virginia Center

"David W. Chadwell, an ardent activist for single-gender education, brings his passion and expertise to bear within the pages of this important book. It is imperative reading for all who seek to be informed about the viability of single-gender education. It’s a must read!"

Ron Walker, Executive Director
Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color

"David Chadwell’s book is a very useful guide for principals and administrators launching single-gender programs."

Leonard Sax, Executive Director
National Association for Single Sex Public Education

"A thoughtful text and practical guide for educators who are considering establishing single-gendered classrooms."

Pedro A. Noguera, Professor, New York University
Executive Director, Metropolitan Center for Urban Education

“The author does an excellent job of providing the reader with each of the steps needed to successfully implement this type of program and the foresight to think about many of the questions and concerns that will come up along the way. Administrators following the process outlined in this book will impress teachers, parents, and the board with their well thought-out approach.”

Kathy Tritz- Rhodes, Principal
Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Schools, IA

"This is a fascinating area and a subject that needs to be explored and researched. With books like this, a more open dialogue can begin, and educators can consider more options for improving the learning curves amongst boys and girls.”

Tara McGuigan, Science Teacher and GATE Teacher
University City High School, San Diego, CA
Key features
  • Clear, experience-based instructions on how to design and implement single-gender programs show administrators how to go about separating classes for boys and girls in their schools and districts
  • A section on dissenting voices helps administrators overcome resistance from community members
  • A section on the legal aspects of single-gender initiatives helps to ensure that programs are implemented within federal guidelines
  • A chapter on the transitional process at the classroom level helps administrators plan for the changes in instruction recommended for single-gender classes, and guides administrators and teaching staff to the most recent literature on effective teaching for boys and girls

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