How a Strong Coordinate Program Benefits Single-Sex Schools

Beth Gaffney ’79, Director of GPS | McCallie Coordinate Programs
In existence for over 37 years, the GPS | McCallie Coordinate Program provides community and connection for students through a variety of opportunities. Over the years, the program has evolved from simply offering coed academic classes during the school day to providing numerous cocurricular offerings both in and out of the classroom. 

Just consider: GPS is four miles from McCallie, we share bus routes for our kids, and our students can meet and participate in activities with theirs. (McCallie enrollment is over 30 percent boarding from ninth through 12th grades; 70 percent is a day program for sixth through 12th grades.)

Our two campuses connect as they should, offering interactions between boys and girls that prepare them for our world today. They form friendships and connections that grow through intentional activities. From our largest talent show, GPS | McCallie Got Talent, and the student sections cheering on the Big Blue and the Bruisers in athletic events, to prom, grade-level dances, field days, Rivalry Week traditions, and more, there’s something for everyone. Students can participate in fine and performing arts productions, offered for both our Middle and Upper School students, and just this year, new coed electives such as personal finance, US-China relations, and civic engagement have been added. Opportunities to serve our community (homebuilding with Habitat for Humanity is a student favorite!) further promote involvement while benefiting the greater Chattanooga area.

Juniors and seniors make up The Coordinate Crew and serve as ambassadors for our Middle School events, whether that means teaching them dance moves, showing them how to handle a bat for wiffleball, or welcoming students to holiday socials. Having older students serve as good role models is key to growing our middle-schoolers.

Through our Coordinate Program mission statement, and as sister and brother schools, we are laying a foundation to share, grow, learn, make memories, enrich experiences, interact, and form long-lasting friendships; that is our groundwork as we bring girls and boys together. Our goal is to offer activities that are participative, engaging, interactive, and yield student satisfaction. Student feedback and collaboration are key components to evaluating and evolving our events.

I could not ask for a better job these past 14 years that suits my passions—one where I get to be a big kid, learning from the best and the brightest. Not only do I get to work for the top-rated schools in Chattanooga, I also get to work with young people, watching them learn and grow, and developing fun programs with input from kids and adults alike. 

As a parent, an alumna, and as an individual who is a lifelong student, I believe in the core of GPS and McCallie Schools. I believe in their single-sex missions with the overlay of the coordinate program to best launch our children’s lives.

I deeply credit GPS for making me who I am today and GPS and McCallie for making who my children are. I believe our parents feel the same. Kids can be kids in our single-sex schools, growing as people in safe environments designed specifically for them. It is the connection, the underpinning of the GPS | McCallie Coordinate Program, that helps prepare them for life—for allowing them to form friendships and establish lifelong connections as a foundation for working and living in the real world.