The All-Girls Advantage
At St. Francis High School, we are committed to the transformative power of an all-girls education at one of the most important stages in a young woman’s life. Our students benefit from an inspirational environment that empowers them to express themselves freely, speak their minds and find their voice from their first days on our campus.
Here, a girl occupies every role, whether it is in the lab, on the field, in the studio, or at the front of the room. Every opportunity and program fosters self-confidence and leadership skills.
Our community is an empowering one. Extraordinary faculty and staff mentor, advise, teach, and support each student’s individual talents. St. Francis students celebrate each other’s successes and are enthusiastically involved in daily life. As our 11,500+ alumnae can proudly attest, the friendships forged within the community last long after graduation.
Along with the spiritual tradition of our patron Saints Francis and Clare, the all-girls experience at St. Francis not only allows students to recognize their potential, but also to use those gifts and talents to make a difference in our world.
While gender equality is absolutely possible at co-ed schools, it is more effortlessly achieved in an all-girls environment. Our students have distinct advantages that an all-girls education offers, and national studies support this. Backed by research and data from the International Coalition of Girls Schools, these advantages are felt by every St. Francis student and alumna. Some of the hallmarks of an all-girls education are:
Greater cultural competency
Girls’s school graduates help bridge racial and cultural divides.
When compared to co-educated peers, graduated of girls’ school are more likely to:
- to help promote racial understanding
- value improving their understanding of other countries and cultures
- count their desire to understand others with different beliefs as a strength
- view their ability to work cooperatively with diverse people as strength
A deeper connection to their communities
Girls’ school graduates impact their communities.
When compared to coeducated peers, graduates of girls’ school are more likely to:
- become involved in environmental programs
- deem it essential to participate in community social action programs
- be frequently active in volunteer work
Increased civic & political engagement
Girls’ school graduate informed, globally minded changemakers.
Graduates of girls’ school are committed to civic duty. When compared to their coeducated peers, they are more likely to plan to vote in elections and to value keeping up with political affairs and influencing political structures.—DR. TIFFANI RIGGERS-PIEHL, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-KANSAS CITY, FOSTERING ACADEMIC AND SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT: AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE EFFECTS OF ALL-GIRLS EDUCATION IN THE TRANSITION TO UNIVERSITY
A stronger sense of empowerment
Girls’s school students strengthen their voice and are encouraged to speak freely without interruption.
- Academic studies and countless anecdotes make it clear that being interrupted, talked over, shut down or penalized for speaking out is nearly a universal experience for women when they are outnumbered by men.
- Girls’ school students are more likely than their female peers at coeducational schools to experience an environment that welcomes an open and safe exchange of ideas. Nearly 87% of girls’ school students feel their opinions are respected at their school compared to only 58% of girls at coeducational schools.
- Students who attended girls’ schools, compared to coeducated peers, are more likely to publicly communicate their opinion about a cause.
Highly developed leadership skills
Girls’ schools empower students to become bold leaders.
- At girls’ schools, girls demonstrate great confidence in female leadership and become increasingly interested in leadership positions themselves. Data suggests that girls at coeducational schools actually become less interested in leadership positions with age.
- Programs at girls’ schools focus on the development of teamwork over other qualities of leadership, while the qualities of confidence, compassion, and resilience also ranked prominently.
- 93% of girls’ school graduates say they were offered greater leadership opportunities than coeducated peers and 80% have held leadership positions since graduating from high school.
Dedicated to how girls learn
All-girls learning environments capitalize on girls’ unique learning styles.
- To be successful, students need more than just a feeling of support. That support must translate into actions geared toward student success. Nearly 96% of girls’ school students report receiving more frequent feedback on their assignments and other course work than girls at coeducational schools.
- More positive academic and behavioral interactions were observed between teachers and students in single-sex schools than in the comparison to coeducational schools.
Girls take center stage in all-girls learning environments.
- The robust learning environment encountered by students at girls’ schools…provides unequivocal support for the value of an all-girls educational environment.
- Single-sex programs…create an institutional and classroom climate in which female students can express themselves freely and frequently and develop higher order thinking skills.
- Emphasizing their ability to learn independently, graduates of girls’ schools more frequently explore topics on their own, even when not required, compared to their coeducated peers.
All-girls learning environments create a culture of achievement.
- Girls’ school graduates are more likely to frequently seek alternative solutions to a problem and more than 2/3 report frequently supporting their arguments with logic, which coeducated graduates are less likely to report doing.
- Females especially do better academically in single-sex schools and colleges across a variety of cultures. …Single-sex schools help to improve student achievement.
- Nearly 80% of girls’ school students report most of their classes challenge them to achieve their full academic potential compared to only 44% of girls at coeducational public schools.
- More than 80% of girls’ school grads consider their academic performance highly successful.
Greater interest and confidence in STEM
All-girls learning environments champion the educational needs of girls as a group currently underrepresented in STEM majors and careers.
- Girls’ school graduates on average report greater science self-confidence than coeducated peers in their ability to use technical science skills, understand scientific concepts, generate a research question, explain study results, and determine appropriate data collection.
- Girls’ school graduates are 6 times more likely to consider majoring in math, science, and technology compared to girls who attended coeducational schools.
- Compared to coeducated peers, girls’ school graduatess are 3 times more likely to consider engineering careers.
- During the middle school years, girls show a decline in both their performance in math and theIr attitudes towards math. Research suggests that girls’ schools may mitigate the decline when compared with coeducational schools.
- Girls from all-female courses reported more academic interests in computer science or potential to pursue a computing career.
- All-girl environments with girl-only peers helped build community and increased girls’ self-reported amount of learning. Girls felt they could do computing because there were other girls doing it around them.
Students in all-girls learning environments strive for greatness.
- Students at girls’ schools have higher aspirations and greater motivation than their female peers at coeducational schools. 99% of students at girls’ schools expect to earn a four-year degree. More than 2/3 expect to earn a graduate or professional degree.
- Girls at all levels of achievement in the single-sex schools receive a…benefit from the single-sex school environment in terms of heightened career aspirations—an effect unprecedented in any other portion of our study.