TAMPA (FOX 13) - There's band, sports, and classroom teamwork, but there is a noticeable exception to typical middle schools at Ferrell Magnet -- boys. Ferrell Middle Magnet is a girls' preparatory academy.
Students like Mell Vigoa see the up-side to her girls-only education.
"It does empower you a lot because you're surrounded by girls, so if you make a mistake we all laugh it out," said Vigoa.
"I don't have to compete with boys for grades and sports," noted student Reanna Shakespeare.
Physical education teacher Tavonda Lucas said the girls in her classes aren't afraid to try.
"They are willing to do and go above and beyond," she said.
Jason Osbourne is a believer, both as a teacher and as a father.
"That's one of the things that made me want to bring my daughter here is just seeing how much better the girls do when they are by themselves," said Osbourne.
On the flip side, boys are moving to their own beat at the boys' preparatory academy at Franklin Middle Magnet.
"It is more friendly in our classroom. We can speak differently than with girls," said student Anthony Durden.
And it's OK to get a little loud.
"We're trying to create an environment which accounts for movement which is okay with louder volumes than a normal traditional room would be," said principal John Haley.
Teacher Alyssa Grogan says the school allows for more activity and competition and students seem to enjoy it.
"Having all boys, you can learn at the same speed. I do like that," said student Noah Bosch.
Enrollment is up in Hillsborough County's same-gender public schools since they opened in 2011. College-bound goals are the same, even though the sexes are separated.
"We [have] a higher level of rigor. The students are prepared for advanced testing, higher levels of reading, things like that," said Osbourne.
The non-traditional approaches may not be for everyone, but students at these schools say it's helping them stay on track.
"I can relate [to] the other girls and it helps me focus to think ahead because I want to be a cardiac surgeon," said Shakespeare.
"Eventually you get used to it because you have no distractions and it's generally a lot better learning environment," added Bosch.