School reflects on first semester of coed classes

Aggie Kruse

After one semester of a coed program with SHHS, reactions remain mixed among students and administrators in the community.

“I honestly don’t know how the coed program is going,” science department chair Raymond Cinti said. “It’s great to have an opportunity to teach these gentlemen, and they are clearly interested, hardworking students, but there are too many variables at play here to make a definitive statement. How do we measure the success?”

Dean Rachel Simpson said she has seen a positive atmosphere develop in the recent semester.

“Teachers and students have said that they are enjoying the interactions with the boys,” Simpson said. “They are seeing these conversations as a great enhancement to their classroom experience.”

Initial discomfort arose with the male presence in the classroom, but according to students, many are now used to the change.

“I at first worried about raising my hand,” senior Charlotte Coover said. “I was thinking more about what I was going to say in front of class.”

Difficulties in the program’s implementation, such as the distance between the Stuart Hall and Convent campuses, continue to be discussed by the administration.

“There are still areas of concern and evaluation,” Simpson said. “But we are working on developing shuttles between campuses. We are working on program improvements that will preserve the depth, breadth and variety of our programs, including providing the unique single-sex education Convent has always offered.”

Curriculum alignment also presents an issue, especially in preparing underclassmen for higher level classes as juniors and seniors.

Questions were raised as to whether the new environment would present distractions to students, but for many students this has not been a noticeable problem.

“Everyone is focused because they’re in higher-level classes,” said SHHS junior Harry Conrad. “I like the coed program because I appreciate the chance to take these courses. Though it would help if the two schools worked together to try to make the course systems as similar as possible so that the girls and guys can be on the same page.”

The administration is still deciding which classes will remain coed next year.

“We are working to answer which classes provide for a positive platform of the coed experience,” Simpson said. “Overall we are finding a way to bring to life the concept of what is the best of both worlds, with positive coed development and aspects of Convent’s single gender academic environment.”