The Value of Co-Education in Middle School

I think the more schools can be like real life, kids have a better shot at adjusting to those contexts.
— Anna L. (2001)

Early adolescence is a complicated and unique time. The bodies and brains of children are changing dramatically.  It is a time when we sometimes see girls become less assertive, self-conscious, and sometimes even less interested in academics. It is a time when students of all genders tend to isolate themselves from each other.


At Billings, we believe that preparing students to thrive in a diverse and challenging world means guiding them through the challenges of adolescence in an equally diverse environment. Billings intentionally chooses a model of co-education at the middle school level, both to reflect the diversity of our world and the challenges that may accompany it, but also to provide real opportunities to grow together, side-by side.


When all genders are given the opportunity to take risks, the safety to fail, and the structure to do so together, they find a strength in each other that is sometimes unexpected. Small class sizes and our individual advisory program allow students to develop strong relationships with teachers and mentors, providing them the guidance to navigate the social and emotional challenges that can arise between different genders both in and out of the classroom.

Further, our expeditionary education program and outdoor trips are uniquely suited to develop confidence in all students. They are guided by experienced teachers, and must work together to take risks, find personal strength, and overcome fear.


Our educational philosophy is intentionally co-educational.  Together, all genders can successfully navigate the challenges of adolescence and find academic success.


+ Watch: Billings alumnae reflect on the co-educational experience in middle school

I learned that I could hike 20 miles with everything I needed on my back.
— Maya J (2003)