Kudos to the Buncombe County School System for its innovative methods to reach and to educate our children this year. Some Asheville students at Randolph Learning Center will not only be attending single gender classes this year, they may also be sporting new uniforms as well. The proposed goal here is to eliminate inappropriate behavior by reducing ways in which students may stand out as being different. I must admit, when I first read about this goal of eliminating differences it did give me pause. Each kid is unique and special in their unique and special way and that needs to be affirmed in my opinion. However, there are the societal differences of race, gender, class, etc. that children begin to learn about at this age as well. Children at times can be unbelievably insensitive and even outright cruel to one another at this age, not to mention that Randolph is and alternative school for children who have had behavioral problems in the past.
Generally speaking, girls begin to lose confidence and self esteem in late grammar school and early middle school, while boys develop later than girls in reading writing, and math. Kids in general have different learning styles and teachers of course are sensitive to this fact. Single gender classes may assist in tailoring the academic instruction of the boys and girls at the same time being sensitive to the different stages of development of each student. No easy task. One must also bear in mind that this is the time when self identities are beginning to form, hormones begin to rage, and peer groups are formed. This can be extremely difficult time for students to focus on their academics.
Needless to say the parents active participation in their child’s education is crucial as the schools can only do so much. The school system can assist, and the parents must discipline and model for their children the behavior they want exhibited. Both parties must be held accountable. Asheville and Buncombe County school systems are also engaging the childhood obesity issue as one in three children in Buncombe County were found to be over weight in 2008. Nationwide, one in five children were considered overweight in 2008. Healthy food choices are extremely important for our children to develop and fully appreciate the life of the mind.