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BISHOP McNAMARA HIGH SCHOOLA Catholic, Holy Cross, Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Grades 9-12

The Coed Advantage

High School Admissions Family
Discussion Guide:

Co-ed or single-sex? What’s right for you? The world is co-ed. Should your school be? Find out what’s best for your child.

Selecting a high school is a major milestone. It’s a decision that can affect the entire family. When it’s time to choose, sit down as a family and explore the type of learning environment that will suit your child and your family.

Start by reviewing both sides.

Educators and parents have been debating the merits of co-ed and single-sex education for generations.


Do boys and girls learn differently?

Some researchers report there are natural differences in the way boys and girls brains develop and how they learn.

Others report that there are few differences in children’s brains, none that are known to impact learning. However, educational research does show that all students have different learning styles and that many complex factors affect a child’s learning profile such as the quality of the school and the child’s temperament, interests, ability, family upbringing, socioeconomic status, etc.

What happens when students are segregated by gender?

  • Some educators suggest that when the opposite sex is not present, it can boost student confidence and academic performance.
  • Other studies show that the healthy, balanced exposure to the opposite sex in co-ed schools improves how students perform in school, combats gender bias and stereotypes, and positively affects how students think and operate in the real-world.

Are students more distracted in co-ed schools?

Some parents think a single-sex environment removes distractions associated with the opposite sex.

Studies show that students who are distracted easily will be distracted regardless of the setting and suggest that students in co-ed schools are able to develop the skills necessary to navigate all types of distractions they will experience in the adult world.

Now, explore how the educational environment at the schools you are considering will impact your child and your family. What's the best environment for your child?

  • Has your child had a positive or negative experience in his/her current learning environment?
  • Does your child enjoy spending time and learning with boys and girls?
  • How might a different structure impact your child’s academic and social development?

How will the co-ed or single-sex nature of the school prepare your child for college and the workplace?

  • Will your child have opportunities to develop healthy, respectful, supportive friendships with children of both genders?
  • Will a co-ed or single-sex student body expose your child to a diverse range of personalities, activities, learning styles and perspectives that mirror what he/she will encounter the real world?
  • How often will your child have the opportunity to collaborate and practice leadership with boys and girls in the classroom and in extracurricular activities?

How do the schools you are considering embrace and reflect gender diversity and equality?

  • How do they actively combat gender bias and stereotypes and promote respect and inclusiveness?
  • Will your child interact with positive peer and adult role models who are male and female? Find out if there is a balance between male and female administrators, teachers and coaches.
  • Do current students seem at ease with members of the opposite sex? Do they intermingle comfortably in social settings?

Co-ed Experience

At Bishop McNamara, students have flourished in our supportive, co-ed Holy Cross environment for generations. Our programs are focused on engaging students and getting them excited about learning. Dedicated faculty use a broad range of teaching methods that appeal each student’s unique interests, aptitudes and learning styles, and an inspiring selection of courses spark new interests and allow students to carve a personalized path.

We believe high school is preparation for adult life. During these important formative years, boys and girls are able to develop healthy relationships and learn how to interact as equals in our co-ed environment. In the classrooms and extracurricular activities, they work side-by-side and collaborate in ways that mirror what they will experience in college and the work world.

Our students graduate with confidence because they are equipped with the tools necessary to face their next challenges: a set of values to guide them, academic preparation to ensure their success and the social skills to help them transition seamlessly into their adult co-ed lives.

Are you ready to take the next step?