"We want to see if having gender-specific classrooms will lead to better academic success," said teacher John Gerhart.
The first thing you might notice in a gender-specific classroom is the noise, or lack of it.
"Boys usually shout out and act rude and stuff, and when it's just girls, we act normal and calm," said Katalena, one female fifth grader.
"Most people have been fascinated with it," said teacher Erica Borcherding. "They want to know, 'Well, why are we doing this?'"
One reason for the change is Field students failed to meet federal standards for annual yearly progress on state tests.
"All of my teachers are in that mindframe of thinking outside of the box," said Principal Carol Garman. "What can we do to help kids raise their achievement?"
If boys can raise their hands without thinking about girls, teachers said that can lead to more focused learning. Fifth graders learn in separate mobile classrooms, but teachers also said that's not enough: teaching methods have to change, too.
"I still want to say, 'Sit down and be quiet,'" said Gerhart, "but if they can learn by getting up, not having a chair, and standing up, that's fine, as long as they're learning."
Some research indicates test scores are higher in same-sex classrooms while other research contradicts that finding. Field teachers said they'll scrap the experiment by this December if it doesn't seem to be working. However, for an early indication of a good separation between the sexes, just ask Katalena about her visit to the boys' classroom.
"They were really loud," she said. "Their classroom stinks because they had their shoes off and they're laying down in the chairs."
So, for now, Katalena is happy with her fellow females.
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