21st Century Girls’ Schools: For What Reasons are New Independent Girls’ Schools Opening in the United States?

Author(s): James R. Palmieri
Institution: Rutgers University
Year of Study: 2014
21st Century Girls’ Schools: For What Reasons are New Independent Girls’ Schools Opening in the United States?

To understand better how and for what reasons new independent elementary and secondary girls’ schools are opening in the United States, this study employed an exploratory qualitative analysis approach, utilizing a sample set of schools determined by their founding years (between 1995 and 2013). A thorough review and analysis of the ten youngest independent girls’ schools recognized by the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) — from coast to coast, provide a deep understanding of the similarities and differences of each school’s founding, and the total sample’s relevance to the current status and future of all-girls schooling. The results demonstrate, generally, school founders’ desires for: a more challenging academic environment; a greater focus on socio-emotional development; the removal of the distractions of coeducation; the promotion of gender equity and women’s leadership; a religious affiliation; and/or a combination of the above. Combining the latest research on how girls learn best, with both innovative and interdisciplinary approaches to pedagogy, technology, and social issues, these ten young independent girls’ schools have resulted in high-achieving academic communities that are exciting to students, parents, and educators alike. Providing this current research on the heavily debated topic of single-sex education is essential to determining its present value and future within the United States educational market.

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