ERIC Number: ED567342
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
21st Century Girls' Schools: For What Reasons Are New Independent Girls' Schools Opening in the United States?
Palmieri, James R.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey - New Brunswick
For a multitude of reasons, the founding of an independent school in the modern-day United States is an extremely challenging undertaking. The list of essentials necessary to envision, prepare, open, and operate a functioning school are endless, yet school founders are driven to do so out of a commitment to and passion for a particular school environment. Independent schools benefit from four defining freedoms that make them truly independent: a) defining the school mission, b) admitting and retaining only those students who are well served by the school's mission, c) determining qualifications for hiring teachers, and d) determining how the school will fulfill its mission through curriculum and instruction (McConaghy, 2006). The primary differentiating factor for the start-up schools used in this study was single-gender education for girls and young women--"all-girls" schools. Interestingly, after years of decline, there is an increasing number of families seeking this type of learning environment for their daughters. Though literature on the mid-to-late 20th century decline of girls' schools is vast, literature on the current revival and projected future of all-girls schooling is limited. 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, provided 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' school 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. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page: http://www.proquest.com/en-US/products/dissertations/individuals.shtml.]
Descriptors: Females, Single Sex Schools, Educational Environment, Elementary Schools, Secondary Schools, Qualitative Research, Private Schools, Institutional Characteristics, Social Development, Emotional Development, Sex Fairness, Leadership, Religion
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A