CMS exploring single-gender schools

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools is considering offering single-gender schools as a magnet program parents could apply for.

The concept is one of several new themes the school district is exploring as CMS turns its eye on its magnet programs.

Others under consideration, as presented to the school board Tuesday evening:

▪ A school affiliated with an uptown museum.

▪ Montessori schools at the secondary level.

▪ Fire and police department academies, and other career-oriented partnerships.

▪ Career certificates within International Baccalaureate programs.

Single-gender classrooms have grown in popularity over the past 15 years as federal rule changes have made them easier to execute. Supporters point to numerous studies showing that girls and boys learn in different ways, and that teachers respond to them differently.

But the evidence is not concrete on whether single-gender education offers a measurable benefit, according to research highlighted by the National Education Association.

CMS has experimented with single-gender classrooms in the past. Both South Charlotte Middle and Hopewell High have tried the concept.

Assistant Superintendent Akeshia Craven-Howell said the district is looking at the option after hearing from parents that they were interested in it. A 2013 task force recommended an all-male school focused on black students.

CMS will visit a secondary Montessori school in Ohio later this year, Craven-Howell said.

Tuesday’s report to the school board comes as the district awaits a formal review of its magnet programs by consultants from Magnet Schools of America.

CMS is paying the firm $63,000 to evaluate 37 of the district’s 43 magnet programs based on attributes including student achievement, graduation rates and diversity.

Results are expected to be presented in late April or early May.

Dunn: 704-358-5235;

Twitter: @andrew_dunn