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Groups Coalesce To Tout Benefits Of Girls' Schools

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Two groups representing independent all-girls' schools nationwide hope their recent merger will increase support for single-sex education.

The National Coalition of Girls' Schools was formed late last year through the merger of the Coalition of Girls' Boarding Schools and the Coalition of Girls' Schools, a group that represented girls' day schools primarily.

The boarding-schools group included institutions such as the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, Conn., and the Madeira School in McLean, Va. The day schools' group included the Brearley School and Chapin School in New York City and the Marlborough School in Los Angeles.

Some schools, such as the Emma Willard School in Troy, N.Y., and the Hockaday School in Dallas, belonged to both coalitions.

The merged group includes about 60 schools, said Whitney Ransome, the co-executive director of the Concord, Mass.-based organization.

"We are marketing the concept of single-sex education," she said. "But research is a key word for what this coalition is going to stay focused on."

Girls' schools have become more aggressive in touting the single-sex concept over the past two decades as more formerly all-boys independent schools became coeducational and more girls opted to attend school with the opposite sex.

The all- girls' schools, individually and collectively, have focused their research and marketing on promoting their belief that single-sex education offers girls a better classroom environment, a more inclusive curriculum, and more leadership opportunities.

In an upcoming project, the coalition will compare mathematics and science teaching for girls in single-sex and coeducational schools.

"We hope the findings of that research will document what we know intuitively, which is that girls in girls' schools are taking more math and science courses than other girls," Ms. Ransome said.

On Jan. 30 in New York, leaders of coalition schools will convene with officials from other groups concerned with the education of young women to discuss common concerns and future research.

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