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Girls-Only Class Teaches STEM Education to Young Women

Girls-Only Class Teaches STEM Education to Young Women

Schools across the country have been encouraging young women to get involved in STEM subjects, and some schools have classes where no boys are allowed.

One class at Sherwood High School in Oregon, “Imagine, Design & Built It – No Boyz Allowed”, does just that, according to an article on OregonLive.com.

“Nationwide, at most 3 percent of trades workers are women. But in a Sherwood High School welding, computer technology and woodshop class, it's completely the opposite. Every student is female,” the article said.

The first year, according to Woods and Construction Teacher Jon Dickover, “teachers hoped 60 girls would sign up. Instead about 120 expressed interest.”

"There's less pressure because we're all girls," said sophomore Maddy Griffin, who is taking the class this year, the article said. "You feel more confident. You can take a lot of these skills and use them."

According to the non-profit Oregon Tradeswomen Inc., “providing early skills training is crucial, as exposure during school can open doors to family-wage careers.”

“But traditionally, girls haven't signed up for Sherwood's trade-related classes, which prompted the school to start NBA,” the article said. “In one of his current woods courses, 32 of 36 students are male, Dickover said. In intro to welding courses, teacher Allison Meadows said she has only two or three female students out of a class of 30.”

Mary Ann Naylor, communications manager for Portland-based OTI, said “career ideas and goals start to materialize by the time girls hit junior high age.”

"If they don't have an opportunity to try the work," Naylor said, "it's going to be really difficult for them to envision themselves pursuing a career."

According to the article, Senior Megan Kittel, who has taken NBA twice, “admitted that welding can be a little scary at first. But she's learned that she can accomplish more than she realized, and hopes other girls take the class. Current students feel like NBA is a rare opportunity.”

"I got to learn something new," Kittel said. "It would open up girls' eyes to what other kinds of jobs are out there."

Read the full story and comment below. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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