Q: What was the motivation to transition to co-education next year?
A: Kiski has debated admitting girls before, but current factors are driving the decision. Declining interest in single-sex education and a global decrease in boys' school enrollment are key influences. We recognize that concerns about limited social interaction with girls dissuade many families from considering boys-only schooling. Our goal is to enroll accomplished girls and draw in high-achieving boys, consistent with our 135-year tradition of admitting exceptional students.
Q: What are the financial implications of this decision?
A: Over the last decade, U.S. single-sex boarding schools' enrollment has dropped 20%, while financial aid need has increased due to pandemic-related international student decline. Relying heavily on donor funds to support operations is not viable for the coming decade. Welcoming girls and co-ed-seeking families will decrease this reliance, freeing resources for faculty, facilities, and programmatic growth over time.
Q: As a school with a 135-year history of educating boys, what does Kiski know about educating girls?
A: Most of our faculty have experience teaching in co-ed classrooms, and we will enhance their training through professional development. A Co-Education Advisory Board, with experts in co-ed and girls' education, has been assembled to guide us. A Dean of Girls position will be created to support the transition and manage parent communication.
Q: We appreciate Kiski's expertise in educating boys and designing a curriculum tailored to their learning style. Will this change when Kiski becomes co-ed next year?
A: No, our commitment to helping every student thrive remains unchanged. As experts in the education of boys, our teachers will continue to utilize practices and strategies that support the development of the skills they will need to thrive in college and beyond. Our curriculum will expand with more academic options while maintaining small classes that emphasize values like honesty, civility, and leadership development.
Q: Will any elements of the curriculum change as a result of the move to a co-ed model?
A: We do not anticipate any major changes to our curriculum. Kiski will maintain its strong reputation for rigorous academics and successful college placements. Those strengths will remain grounded in our commitment to highly-individualized instruction and developing authentic bonds with all of the students in our care.
Q: What athletic opportunities will be available for girls?
A: Girls will have abundant athletic options. In the first year of co-ed, girls can engage in year-round soccer and join other existing teams including cross country, swimming, track & field, golf, tennis. Fitness classes and yoga are also available. Athletic credit will extend to outside activities like gymnastics, dance, and equestrian sports. More girls' sports will be introduced over time.
Q: How will Kiski ensure that girls have equal access to leadership positions and extracurriculars?
A: In the first co-ed year, we will choose three or four girls as dormitory prefects and at least two as co-captains of the girls' soccer team. Girls will be recruited for roles like campus tour guides, dining hall supervisors, and Big Sisters mentors. They can also join and lead dozens of existing clubs and extracurriculars, with the option to create new ones as well.
Q: How will the dormitory and safety needs be addressed for girls?
A: For the first two years, girls will stay in the recently-renovated Hoag Hall dorm. We will adapt schedules for comprehensive supervision and safety, using our experienced faculty and staff, most of whom live on campus. We are equipped with a network of surveillance cameras and we employ three security guards, including a former state police officer who resides on-site.
Q: Will you be accepting girls in all grade levels and how does this change enrollment goals for Kiski?
A: We are not aiming to take our overall enrollment beyond our current capacity of 250 students. We are conservatively projecting an initial enrollment of 25 girls, with growth guided by the volume of applications. Transition data from other schools suggests a 6 to 7-year period to achieve a balanced 50/50 gender ratio.
Q: I still have questions. Who can I contact?
A: We welcome your feedback, and we remain grateful for your support of our efforts to place Kiski on a more sustainable path. If we can answer any questions, please contact the Head of School’s Office at 724-639-8024 or HOS@kiski.org