A downtown middle school catering to boys and girls with single-gender instruction was launched in Los Angeles Monday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the first of its kind in the United States.
Students who attend the Young Oak Kim Academy don’t have classes together, according to local television channel KABC.
Inside a new high-tech building, girls and boys are placed in separate classrooms studying science, technology, engineering and math. They are however allowed to mix during breaks.
The middle school students sat in the auditorium, girls on one side and boys on the other.
The goal is to build confidence in the girls and get the boys to focus, according to school officials.
The concept of the sex-segregated classes stems from studies, cited by administrators, showing middle school students process information differently and are easily distracted in a mixed gender environment.
Researchers also found that girls start losing their interest in math and science, and by high school their skills drop off precipitously.
Administrators say parents can opt to send their children to traditional mixed-gender school if they do not like the concept of gender-separated classes.
The principal says he already sees a difference with calmer classrooms.