Why an All-Boys School is Better
by Mike McPartlin, Headmaster, Bridgedale Academy
Something Needs to be Done to Help Boys Perform Better Academically
During the last 30 years, it has become increasingly apparent that boys are falling behind girls academically. Two prior Bridgedale Academy blogs have discussed this phenomenon is some depth. (See Bias Against Boys in Education and Is America's Education System Hurting Boys?.)
This occurs nation-wide and at virtually every level of education. And the gap is growing wider.
One solution that has been a God-send for many boys is the resurgence of all-boys schools. Perhaps the most significant reasons for the gap in academic performance between boys and girls is the fact that girls mature more quickly than boys. While there are of course exceptions, it is generally speaking true that during the pre- and early teens, girls will on average be as much as 2 years “older” than boys in many or even most respects.
And nowhere is this more noticeable than at school.
The most important factors at work appear to be:
- Boys are intimidated by the more mature girls
- Being less mature, boys’ mental faculties are not as developed
- Whereas girls can sit quietly and focus in class, as a rule boys cannot
- Boys therefore tend to be more disruptive, which impacts learning
- Academics at the younger ages tend to focus on subjects girls like but boys hate
- Language arts and reading are easier for girls at the younger ages
- Boys often become discouraged and lose interest in academics
Vive la difference
The physical differences between boys and girls are of course obvious, but it is clear there are also profound mental and emotional differences as well.
Much has been written recently about the gender differences. (One such author is Leonard Sax, an MD and PhD who has written “Why Gender Matters” and “Boys Adrift,” books that discuss these issues in great depth.)
Some even suggest that boys and girls “see and hear” differently.
- Boys eyes are drawn to movement, so better if the teacher moves around
- Girls are comfortable with teachers who remain in one place during lesson
- Boys prefer “cold” colors like blues and grays
- Girls prefer “warm” colors like reds and yellows
- Boys like the inanimate while girls prefer faces
- Girls hear higher frequencies than boys and so are more sensitive to sounds
- Boys are therefore less likely to be intimidated if a teacher raises his voice
The Resurgence of Same-sex Schooling
One of the offshoots of this new-found knowledge is the resurgence of same-sex schools. And this brings up the question: do boys learn better in an all-boys school?
The answer appears to be a resounding YES.
Here are some of the benefits of single-sex education for boys:
- An increase in academic performance (See our blog “Bias Against Boys in Education.”)
- Teachers can spend extra time with topics boys may struggle with
- Removal of the distraction of coed social pressures
- Easier for boys to concentrate, understand and learn their daily lessons
- Freedom to branch out and try new things without feeling the need to impress the girls
- Increased confidence because able to explore and discover their interests and abilities more freely
- Boys become more collaborative when freed from worry of girls’ opinions of them
- Lowers the need for gender stereotypes in the classroom
- A decrease in discipline problems
On balance it is clear that the advantages of same-sex schooling far outweigh any suppose drawbacks, and this is especially true for boys today.
With the academic performance gap between girls and boys widening, some would even say reaching crisis proportions, it has become all the more how important to put boys in an academic environment where they too can learn, where they too “love” to go to school.
And what do Bridgedale teachers say about Bridgedale?
"This is such a special place!! It is life changing for these boys as it centers around strong relationships that encourage strong academic growth. It’s a hockey school, but so much more than that.
"It’s a pleasure to come to work everyday. Thank you for creating such a positive, caring environment."
Kristi Florey, Bridgedale Math Teacher
Attention 4th Graders
Bridgedale Academy is accepting a limited number of 4th graders for the 2023-24 school year, on a case-by-case basis. Please call me at 708-712-5079 to inquire.
Mike McPartlin, Headmaster
Bridgedale students LOVE going to school,
and so they THRIVE in it.
They LOVE coming to school every day.
And as a result, they are thriving.
They engage academically ...
... and so they come to love learning.
They also love that they get to work on the sport they have such passion for, while also training to become better athletes, all as part of their school day.
They train athletically ...
... and so they more fully develop their skills.
They LOVE getting so much better ... so much sooner.
They are physically fit and mentally alert ... they are thriving.
“Every shot you don't take won't go in.”
Bridgedale Academy is an all-boys school for athletes, a prep school for serious youth hockey players. We offer the 4th through 8th grades. In addition to our winning combination of sports and academics, we focus on leadership training. We use a classical academic curriculum and our graduates go on to attend some of the most prestigious high schools in the midwest, including Lake Forest Academy, Culver Military Academy, Shattuck St. Mary’s, Northwood School, Benet Academy, Fenwick Prep, Loyola Academy, St. Ignatius Prep, Marmion Academy, St. Viator, Latin School and Providence Catholic. We pride ourselves on being the top youth hockey prep school in the nation. Our grads go on to top colleges and universities, including Notre Dame, Harvard, Denver, Ohio State, Bentley, Western Michigan, Miami (OH), Boston College, Tufts, Nebraska (Omaha), Hobart, Adrian, MSOE and more. More than thirty (30) of our graduates have already received their NCAA Division 1 college hockey commitments. Seven (7) of our grads have gone on to compete for USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program (NTDP). A number of our grads have been NHL-drafted (one made his NHL debut this past season). Our grads play at all levels of college hockey and many are now playing junior hockey in the USHL, the NAHL and the OHL.