“School is preparation for adult life,” says Dr. Diane F. Halpern, professor at Claremont McKenna College. “How can boys and girls learn how to interact as equals in the workplace if they have no experience interacting as equals in school?”
The greatest benefit of co-ed schools is their ability to provide a real-world learning environment, where students share experiences, develop friendships, and learn to work together with students of the opposite sex from day one. In this way, students can learn to interact appropriately and develop respect for the inherent intellectual abilities, talents, and personalities of all of their classmates, regardless of gender and stereotypes. At GSL, both female and male students are equal and active participants in academics as well as in extracurriculars such as art, athletics, theatre, music, clubs, student government, and much more. On a daily basis, our students get to know each other as individuals, study together, compete, share both joyful and difficult times, and, along the way, grow into young men and women of good character. School spirit also seems to be heightened in a co-ed school, as athletic and other school events offer opportunities for socialization and an outpouring of shared pride in fellow classmates’ accomplishments.
We are deliberately co-educational because we believe this environment helps prevent one gender from seeing the other as just that - other. By learning to communicate with all their friends, a child's ability to problem-solve and negotiate is enhanced. The workplaces our children will enter are overwhelmingly co-ed, and in the 21st century, the skills of working with a variety of people will be prized. Current research supports this. Girls and boys both benefit from a co-ed environment, and further, the benefits of single gender education have not been demonstrated. Co-education provides an opportunity to break down misconceptions about the opposite gender and lay the foundation for the development of authentic relationships between students.
We work hard to meet each child’s needs, not simply based on his or her gender, but on the child’s learning styles and preferences. Our teachers create rich educational experiences for all children that tap into varied ways of learning, such as kinesthetic, auditory, and visual modalities. Thus, both girls and boys are encouraged to think, reflect, move, manipulate, and create. All of our students are encouraged to develop leadership skills, critical thinking, and creative problem solving. As various researchers have indicated, separating the genders often leads to increased sexism, and the underlying biology of learning is the same. Giving our children meaningful experiences is what makes the difference, not single gender schools. As our students prepare to move into high school, college, and beyond, we prepare them for success in a workforce that performs best only when fully utilizing the strengths of both men and women.