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By Max Niles '18
One of the main admissions selling points for the close schools is the Coordinate Program. With the Coordinate Program, the schools can advertise that they have “single-sex education on a coed campus.” In the Lower School, it means that chorale, drama, and some arts are coed. In the Upper School, the program expands; Cross Country, Track, and Crew are all coed, in addition to the Lower School options. By junior year, the english department becomes coed, as all junior and senior year English electives and American Literary Traditions must have both boys and girls. AmLit is the issue in focus.
Many complain about how they feel that the class is “forced” to be coed. People complain about how the curriculums are different between the two schools, how NCS prefers the Harkness method or how at STA discussions are guided by the teacher, and how at NCS essays have prompts and at STA you can chose anything. These are all totally valid concerns. I would agree that the classes are forced in some ways, and that there is a distinction between coed opportunities and coed requirements. But I think being forced out of your own comfort zone is a good thing before college. At some point, you’re going to have to learn how to deal with taking classes with the other sex and dealing with a method of teaching that you aren’t used to. The schools do offer opportunities to students, but people aren’t always going to take them. Sure, some of us are in Chorale, Cross Country, Crew, the plays, and have done every coed elective possible, but for a lot of the student body, they haven’t done that, and they’ve had almost no interaction with the school across the Close in a classroom setting. You need to be able to be in a classroom setting with members of the other sex before you go to college, and by forcing AmLit to be coed, you ensure that every student on the Close gets that opportunity before they graduate. There are growing pains that come with this; you may not be used to the teaching style and you may feel that it’s “us” against “them.” But, at least in my experience, you get used to the class, and you attain a different and useful experience in taking coed AmLit before you graduate.