Wednesday, November 19, 1997

CITY PAGES
Is Separate More Equal?
Inside room 33, the kids are suffering from Halloween hangover. "Did you guys watch House of Frankenstein?" asks a girl wearing a blue and gold Starter jacket.

"It was so good," says another girl.

"NiƱas, shhhhh!" implores Elizabeth Dwight to her sixth-grade charges at Emerson Spanish Immersion Learning Center, a public school in Minneapolis.

Dwight, like all Emerson teachers, is bilingual, but that's not what makes the school unusual. During the 80 minutes of daily math instruction, sixth-grade girls and boys are separated. Dwight teaches the girls; VaNita Miller, her colleague, leads the boys. It's a bold attempt to boost girls' classroom participation at a critical stage in their lives. And according to city and state education officials, it may be the first effort of its kind in a Minnesota public school. A suburban school, Roseville Area Middle School, plans to begin single-sex math and science classes next spring. Emerson, meanwhile, is in its second year of single-sex math classes.

Read more here.