Samantha Oliphant '18

"I chose Father Ryan because I felt that going to a co-ed school would better prepare me for my future not only in high school but in college, work settings, and beyond."
There is a wide range of debate on the advantage of a single-gender school vs. a coed school. Which will provide the best experience for my child? Are the brains of boys and girls wired differently so that learning apart from each other is the only way to learn?

At Father Ryan, we can answer that question from a unique perspective, because we have been both types of schools. And after 46 years as a coed school we firmly believe the opportunities at Father Ryan today provide a real CO-EDvantage.

Founded in 1925 as Nashville Catholic School for Boys, Father Ryan served…and served very well…the educational needs of the Catholic male student population of Nashville. Our graduates from those days were and still are exceptional individuals who have achieved success national and internationally in the business world, in journalism, in science, in service and in so many areas.

However, the decision to open our doors to the female student population created a whole new environment that benefited both our young men and young women.

And the success of our male and female graduates, as doctors, musicians, fashion designers, entrepreneurs, authors, military service men and women and members of the religious affirm the benefits they received in the coeducational environment of Father Ryan.

Add in the benefit of boys and girls experiencing high school together, seeing each other as people, as friends to respect and learn from in a real world setting, and yes, we believe there is a real COEDvantage at Father Ryan.

The Advantages of Co-education

  • The concept of co-education dates back to Plato's time. He stated that co-education creates a feeling of comradeship and advocated teaching both the male and female sexes in the same institution without showing any discrimination in imparting education.

  • In a co-ed school setting, both boys and girls take on leadership roles, exposing students to varied management styles and personalities. These interactions help to disprove negative gender stereotypes.

  • In a study that analyzed standardized math test scores from 86 countries, researchers found that math scores for both girls and boys were better in countries that have greater gender equality and have more women in the paid labor force. The data from this study also did not indicate that performance is any better in single-sex schools.

  • Segregating by sex during high school can make the transition to college more difficult for many students.

  • Neuroscientists have not found hard evidence that shows different learning styles for boys and girls.

Sources: ABC News; American Psychology Association; Arizona State University Sanford School of Social & Family Dynamics American Council for CoEducational Learning, Dr. Lynn Liben; Penn State University, Science (journal); American Mathematical Society, Jonathan Kane and Janet Mertz.