JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti is offering students and parents a new option at Eugene Butler Middle School.  Vitti and the school’s principal, Maurice Nesmith, held a meeting for parents and students Monday night about single-gender classes.  The classes are aimed at improving students' success. 
 
“I am excited about this,” Nesmith said. “I think it’s going to be a wonderful program. I think it is exactly what this school needs. I think it’s what this community needs.  I think it’s what our students need, and I guarantee we’ll see some positive results when we fully implement this next school year.”
 
District officials explained that Eugene Butler Middle School has 900 fewer students than it should.  Part of the reason is a history of poor grades, and to try to change that all core classes at Butler Middle School will be split between boys and girls beginning next school year.  Students will be integrated during elective classes, lunch and physical education.  The program will also require students to wear uniforms to school.
 
“I think having the separate genders allows them to focus more, allows them to not be so consumed with impressing the opposite gender but to really focus and be about business,” said Cyrus Tookes, a Duval County parent. 
 
“If I was superintendent, I wouldn’t tend to agree, but I think it’s really good, because as my dad said, the hormones are kind of jumping and I’m guilty of that,” said seventh grader Hiram Tookes.
 
Vitti said if parents don’t want their children to participate in the program, the district will provide transportation to a different school for the child.