The school realized that in many cases mixing the classrooms would free their teachers up to offer more classes.
In Dr. Edward Spurka’s brief time in charge, (approximately 6 months) he said the Pinecrest administration has been considering the idea of integrating their higher-level students, looking at data and studies, while talking to their stakeholders on what their expectations were.
“These whole last six months have been about clarifying what we do here at Pinecrest,” he said. “It wasn't just in the classroom, it was the school environment, and it was the social atmosphere.”
Spurka said that like other Catholic schools around the country pondering this same question, he and his staff wanted to know how they could better meet their students’ needs and whether going coed could help them do that.
Spurka said they realized that in many cases mixing the classrooms would free their teachers up to offer more classes.
“We were putting our ninth-grade honors and on-level in the same classroom, by prioritizing separating our boys and girls,” he said. “So by making it coed, we could have a class straight for honors and a class straight for on-level.”
Spurka said that even though they still see the benefits of teaching boys and girls separately in some areas, they determined that by integrating their classrooms they will be able to focus on “each child's learning ability and put them in classes that are more appropriate academically for them” rather than lumping kids all together by gender.
After realizing that they needed to mix the classrooms, Spurka and his staff took the data to parents, teachers, staff, students and the school’s founding families to get their input and see if it was something they actually wanted.
Overwhelmingly, the stakeholders agreed with Spurka and welcomed the change, he said.