Coed advisery option should only be the first step

The New Trier Board of Education has approved a plan to let next year’s freshman class, the class of 2026, choose between single gender and coed adviseries. There will also be a no preference option.

We hope that this is only the beginning of a process to transition New Trier to coed-only adviseries

This is a significant change for New Trier, which has had the single gender advisery system in place for 96 years.

We endorse the Board’s decision to give students the option to choose the gender make-up of their advisery, which is aimed to make adviseries more welcoming and inclusive. We hope that this is only the beginning of a process to transition New Trier to coed-only adviseries.

For the next few years, however, it makes sense to give students the option to choose their advisery type, so that the school can test how students respond and adjust the advisery system and curriculum accordingly.

Like any change introduced, some students may be uncomfortable at first with this new option. When gender-neutral bathrooms were first introduced to the Winnetka campus, for instance, some students expressed concern that using the bathrooms could out them or falsely label them.

The Board’s decision comes on the heels of student opposition to the gendered adviser system, which many feel is antiquated.

Last year, students put forth and signed an online petition to end the single gender advisery system. Today, the petition has received over 1,300 signatures. Additionally, students have raised concerns about transgender and nonbinary students feeling uncomfortable in single- gender adviseries.

We hope students will embrace the new coed system. In order to gauge the popularity of the new option, the trial period will be important, but once the school has a few years of coed adviseries under its belt, making the switch would
be ideal. If the system were entirely coed, there would be no risk of students outing themselves.

Incoming freshmen are already familiar with coed adviseries, since all six feeder schools have them. This may actually ease the transition from 8th grade to freshman year.

The Board has said that they will try to make half of next year’s freshman adviseries coed. Eventually, we hope the school transitions to all coed adviseries.