Bowie Junior High Boys and Girls Now in Separate Classes

By Sarah Snyder

Boys and girls at Bowie Junior High aren't passing notes anymore. 

As a matter of fact, they're not even sitting next to each other. 

A new gender-based learning method has changed classroom chemistry.

Classes at Bowie are a little bit different this year. Boys and girls are taking classes separately. It's a new method, trying to help students improve their grades.

"If you're a teacher, you want your students to pay attention and learn," Anyssa Mata, a Bowie 7th Grade Student, said.

Last year, the T.E.A. listed Bowie Junior High as "academically unacceptable" and school leaders are hoping this separation will create a better learning environment.

"We are constantly looking at ways to get our kids to a higher level," Bowie Principal Denise Shetter, said.

Math and science, 8th grade English, social studies, and P.E. classes are all taken separately.

"I like my science and math class, because there's just girls in my science and math class," Mata said. "Boys try to distract me a lot, and girls, they mostly pay attention."

And so far, there's less trips to the principal's office.

"We have had a dramatic decrease in what we call common classroom referrals: talking, not paying attention, we don't see those anymore," Shetter said.

"I felt a little bit comfortable with girls my age and they were in the same class as me," Mata said.

So far, they say most everyone has been on-board.

"Parents have generally been very accepting," Shetter said. "They like the fact that it's research-based. I have had one or two parents a little concerned more about the social aspect, than the academic aspect."

At the end of the year, school officials will compare current TAKS test scores with last year's to decide whether to continue the initiative.

"I'd like the classes to stay like this. I like it this way," Mata said.