2015 NCGS Conference - INSPIRE! Sessions: II

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INSPIRE! Sessions are 25-minute long discussions conducted in an intimate, roundtable-style format. They are currently scheduled to be held at 11:30 AM on Tuesday, June 23, and at 11:15 AM on Wednesday, June 24.

[II] Every Girl an Innovator

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: John Ball, Teacher| Emma Willard School (NY)

Successful innovators build prototypes, test them carefully, and then modify their designs based on what they learn. Thus, “teaching innovation” really means teaching how to experiment purposefully. With this in mind, we revised out 9th grade science program to provide 50 different lab experiences so our girls become confident and skillful experimenters. In our session, we will discuss both the thinking behind our program as well as well as how to make such an ambitious program run in your school.  Let’s explore how to make every girl an innovator!

[II] Four Year High School Academic Planning: A Connection to Your Future Success

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Erin Chamberlain, School Counselor| Lauralton Hall (CT)

The Four Year Academic Planning freshman seminar addresses the need for students to engage in the college process in a developmentally appropriate manner beginning in 9th grade. This presentation will mirror some of the interactive activities of the seminar highlighting the reduction of stress and fear of the unknown for students engaging in the college and career process. It will show that using tools such as games and role-play help students make important connections between their academics and course selections, and their future college and career goals. Five lesson plans will be reviewed and opportunities for differentiation will be demonstrated.

[II] Girl-Centered Innovation: A Latin Story

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Ralph Covino, Class Dean| Girls Preparatory School (TN)

Directives to innovate, to renew and refresh curricula in light of new research findings or technology, abound. We are often asked to make lessons more meaningful, more relevant, and -- especially in the all-girl environment -- to make them more girl-centered. But what if there is little to nothing in the literature to act as guide? This session examines one teacher’s departure from approaches to teaching and learning rooted in the most masculine of pedagogical traditions (Latin!) through to the adoption of a more girl-centered style whose methodology is more firmly planted in the literature about how girls learn today.

[II] Girls Solving Real Social Issues

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Catherine O'Kane, Principal | All Hallows' School (AUS)

In response to social issues increasingly faced by our young women, including social media issues, the impact of pornography on relationships, rising rates of mental health issues, family violence and the impact of drugs and alcohol, we have developed a Student Social Issues team who will work with senior and middle leadership staff to design, implement and evaluate initiatives within our school to address these complex issues. This innovation, which uses student voice to inform the design and delivery of both curricular and co-curricular learning experiences, seeks to empower our young women to lead change in the messages we give to our girls and also to lead change in wider society in the place of women. Examples provided will include the running of an "Say no to violence" forum, our student's response to our being named in an online pornography ring ( and ongoing leadership projects in which our senior students present to middle school students regarding online communication.

[II] Global Links -- Raising Globally Competent Girls

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Karyn Murray, Head of Global Links Program| Strathcona BGGS (AUS)

This session will explore the innovative thinking and programming behind the new Strathcona Global Links program which has seen a move away from a traditional "trips' program for only a relative few students to an all-inclusive, immersive, multi-dimensional program to ensure that all students are globally competent, connected and culturally aware. Whilst tours and exchanges still occur, they are not the "one-size-fits-all" tours of the past, but carefully considered learning journeys for the participants.

[II] Promoting Health and Wellness through Peer Educators

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Kathleen Goodman, Director of Learning Services| Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart (WA)

As educators in girls’ schools, we know the importance of teaching about balance and wellness. In the past, that programming has come from the adults. We invite participants to hear how the role of peer educators is transforming the culture of health and wellness by having the girls take the lead. With training and support from faculty sponsors, peer educators are promoting the education and awareness of critical issues to their peers in ways that are creative, empathetic, and empowering.

[II] The Real World Relevance of Math and Science

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Jessica Baker, Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Kaitlyn Delatte, Math Teacher | Ursuline Academy of New Orleans (LA)

This session will outline the development and implementation of a cross curricular project focused on the development, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer utilizing biology I and algebra II content standards. The presentation will highlight ways to frame traditional content knowledge in ways that help students make connections between various disciplines, while also investigating topics that have relevance to their real life experiences. Examples of student work, assessments, and project reflections will be provided.

[II] The Sacred Beltway: Religious Studies From The Ground Up

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Justin Maaia, Religious Studies Teacher| National Cathedral School (DC)

Through our capstone project, “The Sacred Beltway,” students learn about religious communities by doing firsthand fieldwork while also gaining widely applicable real-world skills and confidence in the process. After doing some bibliographical research, each student engages in a phenomenological site visit, constructs a photographic portfolio with detailed captions, and conducts interviews with two members of their chosen community. This research is then uploaded to a website where students can experiment with form as well as content. Websites are then linked to a Google Map representing all of the religious communities in the Greater Washington Area, creating a resource for anyone wishing to learn more about religions from the people who practice them.

[II] The Sharing Economy and School -- Are Schools Businesses?

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Urvi Morrison, CEO | Strategic EdTech (SET) (MD)

“In what is called collaborative consumption, the sharing economy or the peer economy, owners rent out something they are not using, such as a car, house or bike to a stranger using these peer-to-peer services.” Companies such as Uber and Airbnb demonstrate that the sharing economy has great benefits to both owners and renters. This begs the question: can schools join the sharing economy? Educational organizations have three large components that they can utilize that propel them to be both good for their students and effective businesses through the tenets of the sharing economy. Find out how your school can maximize its potential through unique and innovative service offerings that benefit students, parents, and the greater community beyond the classroom.

[II] Teaching at the Intersection: How students are Experiencing Contemporary Art through Social Media and Popular Culture

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Tim Lewis, Art Teacher/Department Chair of Visual and Performing Arts| Alverno Heights Academy (CA)

To innovate is to transform, a phenomenon that marks a distinct generational shift in the way my students are discovering and experiencing art. While teaching art in an all-girls secondary setting for nearly two decades, a striking pattern has emerged at the intersection of contemporary art, social media, and popular culture. This presentation will center on the changing ways our students are experiencing art in this cultural shift. Attendees will engage in this conversation and leave with applicable classroom strategies that attempt to unpack the “popular” in art, all while investigating the boundaries between contemporary art and its new audience.

[II] Walk of Awareness: Building Capacity for Social Responsibility

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Katherine Jackson, Director of Student Life and Leadership Programs and Jennifer Rundles, Associate Dean of Students/Science Instructor | Saint Mary's School (NC)

In a selfie generation, explore how we can position youth to lead from the "we,'" not "me" perspective. In this interactive workshop, we will highlight how we modified the collegiate model of Tunnel of Oppression to become the Walk of Awareness to fit the developmental level of sophomore students. Learn how to leverage local organizations and universities to tackle relevant social issues in partnership with your school. Students will develop skills to engage their school and outside community in the discussion of social responsibility.

[II] Middle School Electives: Inspiring Curiosity and Engagement

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Whitney Price, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Assistant Middle School Head, and Montanna Wilson, Middle School Head | St. Paul's School for Girls (SPSG)

Providing middle school students with choice in their education has proven to be effective in increasing engagement, encouraging positive risk taking, identifying interests and pursuing passions. By integrating interdisciplinary electives such as Social Justice, Urban Planning, Local Gardening and Global Agriculture, and Woodworking, students and faculty are stretched to think beyond traditional offerings and teaching methods. Join us to hear about buy-in, challenges, and successes in the implementation and growth of the program, which involves mixed-grade classes, non-graded work, and real world application.

[II] Fostering a Culture of Kindness: The ThinkGive Challenge

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Susan Lewis, 6th/7th Grade Science Teacher and Advisor | Nashoba Brooks School (MA)

Finding time to build character education into school curriculum can be a challenge. The ThinkGive Challenge is an easy to implement program that develops prosocial skills such as empathy, compassion, awareness of others, gratitude and kindness. Through the program, children in grades 4 to 8 are asked to give of themselves—with their time, a kind word, or their help—and experience what it means to impact others. Susan Lewis of Nashoba Brooks School has used the program the last three years and will demonstrate the web-based portion of the Challenge, review best practices, and discuss how the program impacted her students.

[II] Embrace the Edcamp Movement! Explore the Power of Free PD, for and by Teachers

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Sarah Edson, Dean of Academic Technology and Innovation | The Ethel Walker School (CT)

Explore the transformative power of educators sitting in the driver’s seat of their own professional learning. Learn about the global phenomenon of the Edcamp movement and how it benefits teachers and students. The Ethel Walker School, an all-girls school (grades 6-12) in Simsbury, CT, has hosted an annual summer edcamp since 2011. Educators gather on campus to discuss topics that feel relevant to them. The day is free; the connections are invaluable. The models of leadership and initiative are what we want our girls to emulate. Come learn how to take part in or host an edcamp yourself.

[II] A Case Study in Gender Identity

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Amanda Rosenblum, Girls' Education Associate Director, Programs and Partnerships | Young Women's Leadership Network (NY)

As students explore their gender identity at all-girls' schools, specific questions and challenges arise that involve students, teachers, parents, administrators, and school/district policies. Even with a clear vision around supporting trans and gender nonconforming students, it can be difficult to navigate the way forward with each scenario that can come up. Together, we will review two comprehensive case studies of situations that have happened at all-girls middle and high schools. While there is no one right solution, we will help each other figure out what could work in our school communities should similar scenarios arise, which will hopefully inform some proactive approaches we can engage with immediately following the conference.