Bay Ridge

Xaverian High School is going co-ed

Female students to be admitted starting in 2016

March 6, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Genesis, the middle school program at Xaverian High School, has been co-ed for many years. In September, students took part in a Bay Ridge Goes Gold campaign to raise awareness of pediatric cancer. Photo courtesy Xaverian High School
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Xaverian High School, a Catholic high school in Bay Ridge that has been an all-male bastion in grades nine through 12 since it was founded during the Eisenhower Administration, is going co-ed.

The school will begin accepting female students in the fall of 2016, officials announced. The Class of 2020 will have the first females in the graduating class.

The announcement was made on March 5 by Xaverian President Robert B. Alesi, who graduated from Xaverian in 1978, and Brother Lawrence Harvey of the Congregation of St. Francis Xavier (CFX), who is chairman of the Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to allow female students to enroll at Xaverian, Alesi and Harvey said.

Located at 7100 Shore Road, the school was founded in 1957 by the Xaverian Brothers, a Catholic religious order.

In addition to a high school, Xaverian also has a middle school, called Genesis, in its Shore Road building. Unlike the high school grades, which have always been composed of a student body that is entirely male, Genesis has always been co-ed.

“We wish to provide young women, including our own middle school students, the same opportunities for a Xaverian High School education that our boys have,” Alesi said in a statement.

“The expansion of Xaverian’s grades nine to 12 to include both male and female students, as well as the continued enhancements to the school’s facilities and programs, will allow us to influence for the better an even greater number of young lives, as well as to create a larger community of faith, strengthening the mission of the school,” Harvey said.

Alesi said the Board of Trustees and school administration have been studying the potential of a co-ed high school program for several years. The decision-making process has included input from parents, students, alumni and the Diocese of Brooklyn, as well as insights from outside experts in Catholic education, including the Alliance for Catholic Education at the University of Notre Dame.

Reaction among Xaverian alumni was swift and largely favorable.

Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carlo Scissura, a 1988 Xaverian graduate, and Chamber Vice President Joseph Shaia, a 1999 graduate, issued a joint statement.

“Congratulations to Xaverian High School, President Robert Alesi and their Board of Trustees on their unanimous decision to become a co-educational school starting in 2016. Times have changed significantly since 1957, and we are proud that our alma mater is evolving and opening its doors to the best students in Brooklyn regardless of gender. Accepting the brightest female minds in the borough will only enhance Xaverian’s already prestigious reputation as one of the finest schools in all of New York,” the statement read.

But others weren’t so pleased. “I don’t know if it’s such a great idea. I would think that in Catholic education, single sex classes are the way to go,” a member of Xaverian’s Class of 1999 told the Brooklyn Eagle on Friday.

The admission of female students is only one part of a strategic plan at Xaverian, according to Alesi.

The parts of the plan that have already been completed include the implementation of learning environment in which all students are issued iPads; the creation of IPAX, an internship program; a pre-professional honors program for students interested in the fields of medicine, business, law, and the arts; and the introduction of the Michael T. Strianese STEM Education Program for students seeking to pursue the study of engineering or biomedical science.

Upcoming phases of the plan include the construction of a new middle school wing, a new visual arts wing, a new music rehearsal space, a new school chapel and the renovation of science labs.

 


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