5/24/19—Hockaday’s middle school robotics team, Saturn V Girls, were in Houston last month to compete at the World Festival, a celebration of champions who competed and won in the 2019 FIRST LEGO League season.
Among a field of 469 teams, they took the first place Champions Award at the North Texas FIRST LEGO League Regional Championship Robotics Tournament in February. “Our team is all girls, and it’s important to have girls in STEM. And we’ve been inspired by astronauts in space,” said team member Jana D.
Team member Anika K. explained, “Every year there’s a theme that has to do with a real-world problem, and this [year] it’s Into Orbit and helping astronauts on either a physical or mental problem they face in the real world on long distance spacecraft. People are wanting to get to Mars, so this is how we can help, and it’s kids’ ideas.”
Starting in August, Saturn V Girls researched and studied contemporary problems in space and designed innovative solutions using the STEM skills they learned in the Hockaday classroom. The girls identified an issue that could be solved with an unconventional approach: scratch-n-sniff stickers.
“In space, there’s no gravity so the body fluids of an astronaut rise up and it feels like you have a head cold all the time. Since taste is 80% smell, the astronauts can’t taste,” Anika K. explained. “So this would allow them to taste what food actually tastes like.”
“These skills they’re learning through the core values, the gracious professionalism, the treating others with respect, collaboration as team will pay off as they move forward in college and careers,” said Terer Lenling, VP of School and Community Engagement at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science, which hosts the competition.
5/22/19—Greenwich Academy (GA) recently received a prestigious $250,000 grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation Educational Leadership Grant to support the expansion of the school’s Girls Advancing in STEM Network (GAINS). The foundation supports independent secondary schools that pledge to collaborate with other institutions and schools, with a focus on improving the environmental sustainability of their campuses. The award is valued at $500,000, with the Edward E. Ford Foundation paying half and GA matching the other half through fundraising.
Over the next three years, GA will use the grant money to make upgrades to its GAINS program, which started in 2011 to connect girls who have a passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with each other and with women working and studying in these fields. The network has three arms: student-run clubs in schools nationwide, an online portal for networking with STEM mentors, and an annual conference open to independent schools across the U.S.
With the funds, the school will develop a blueprint for students of other independent schools to start their own clubs, upgrade the virtual networking platform, and continue funding the nationally recognized conference.
5/20/19—The Archer School for Girls recently celebrated the grand opening of its new Academic Center, further delivering on its mission to empower future female leaders in an environment specifically created for their success. The Diana Meehan Center features spaces that are flexible and light-filled, creating an ongoing dialogue between indoors and out. The new building comprises over 30 state-of-the-art classrooms, student center, and courtyards.
“Thanks to Archer’s early and passionate supporters, the iconic Eastern Star Home for Women became the school’s permanent home in 1999,” Head of School Elizabeth English said. “Being the steward of one of L.A.’s most stunning, historic buildings is a responsibility Archer takes seriously. Inspired by the myth of Artemis, the Archer, protector of girls and goddess of the hunt, our architects at Parallax and Associates designed the new Academic Center with Archer’s mission firmly in mind. While the design provides an elegant counterpart to our cherished historic building, it also signals to our students and our community that the empowerment of girls and women is critically important work for Los Angeles, our nation, and the world.”
Bridging the school’s 2018-2019 theme of “courage” with the new center’s grand opening, students from The Unaccompanied Minors, Archer’s a cappella group, and student dancers created an original rendition of Sara Bareilles’ anthem to courage, “Brave”.
5/17/19—Madeira recently earned the first College Board AP® Computer Science Female Diversity Award for achieving high female representation in AP Computer Science A. Schools honored with the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have expanded girls’ access in AP Computer Science courses. Out of more than 18,000 secondary schools worldwide that offer AP courses, Madeira is one of only 167 schools that earned the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award for AP Computer Science A.
“By inviting so many young women to advanced computer science classrooms, Madeira has taken a significant step toward preparing its students for the widest range of 21st-century opportunities,” said Trevor Packer, College Board senior vice president of the AP Program. “We hope this inspires many other high schools to engage more female students in AP Computer Science and prepare them to drive innovation.”
Beyond preparing students for AP Computer Science in the classroom, Madeira also provides real-world STEAM exposure through its Co-Curriculum internship program, giving students hands-on experience at engineering firms, labs, and technology companies. Trudy P. ’19 completed her senior Co-Curriculum internship at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, where she researched security vulnerabilities in ship navigation systems.
“Madeira has given me a strong foundation in STEAM and increased my knowledge about computer science. The personal development I experienced in an all-girls environment helped me feel really confident in going beyond my school community,” Trudy noted. “After my Co-Curriculum internship at Johns Hopkins, it is exhilarating to say that I improved ship navigation security. It was also a little scary because I was able to figure out how to hack into the system.”
Madeira is among the top AP Computer Science programs worldwide in providing inspiring opportunities for young women.
5/15/19—Dr. Patricia Hayot, Head of School at The Chapin School and former President of the NCGS Board of Trustees, recently announced she will retire after the 2019-2020 school year. Dr. Hayot has served in the role for 17 years and has led countless initiatives that have transformed the school in ways that will be felt far into the future.
Her achievements include, implementing a full K-12 World Languages program; enhancing STEAM offerings; introducing a comprehensive and innovative six-day schedule; developing the Focus Forward strategic plan, which ensures rigorous academics and profound character development for students; and overseeing the school’s current building project.
Chapin’s Board Chair LeeAnn Black remarked that Dr. Hayot “approached each of these initiatives and projects as she approaches everything she does—with tremendous compassion, extraordinary intellect, resolute determination, unwavering grace, endless energy and infectious humor.”
Dr. Hayot shared her “great affection and deep thanks” to the Chapin community and offered the following advice to students: “Chapin provides the tools you need to tell your own story, be your own person, build your own company, love your own job, create and nurture your own families, support and extend your own communities and work on behalf of your own country and your own planet, to give you, in short, the optimism of will and the strength of mind to make for yourselves a life that matters to you and to those around you. If, as we expect, this happens for you, I urge you to work to extend your luck, your dedication, your privilege and your happiness to all.”
5/1/19—Students at Marymount School of New York and The Nightingale-Bamford School recently welcomed high school students from fellow National Coalition of Girls’ Schools member Branksome Hall Asia, which is located on Jeju Island, South Korea. The visiting students performed “RISE—The Story of a Woman,” an original musical written for them that was inspired by Kim Mandeok, who lived on Jeju Island from 1739–1812, and is recognized as Korea’s first female entrepreneur. The musical’s major feminist themes are intended to inspire young women of the necessity of collaboration and to remind us that until all women are free, “none of us are free.”
The project to develop RISE began in 2017 when La Mór, the Head of Arts at Branksome Hall Asia, was frustrated by the lack of empowering material for a large female cast. The writer, Jessica Mór, is an artist from the UK who found in Kim Mandeok a figure who encapsulated the culture, community, history, and mythology of the “strong” women of Jeju island. And in whose life story she feels holds hope and inspiration for an international audience seeking solutions to contemporary struggles of equality and emancipation, both personal and political.
4/30/19—Dr. Terrie Hale Scheckelhoff, who has served as Head of School at St. Catherine’s School since 2012 and as a member of the NCGS Board of Trustees since 2014, recently announced she will retire at the end of the 2019–2020 school year.
“I am grateful that my time at [St. Catherine’s School] is the capstone of my life’s work,” Scheckelhoff said. “Most of all, the girls have filled my heart and given a lift to my step each day. They make me smile, and they model what greatness can look like in our world. I know that they are destined to live with purpose and integrity.”
Under Scheckelhoff’s leadership, St. Catherine’s has flourished locally and nationally, achieving substantial growth, progress, and financial strength. Notable achievements include introducing academic programs such as Girls Innovate Signature Program, increased STEM offerings, Lower School Clubhouse enrichment program, a 4-year/3-counselor College Counseling Model, and a school-wide health and wellness program; growing student enrollment to capacity and increasing students of color enrollment; developing the Center for Early Childhood Education; and renovating and/or building new facilities, including two libraries, a media lab, an innovation lab, maker spaces, Center for Early Childhood Education, and Phase 1 of the southern third of the campus.
“In addition to her intelligence, thought leadership, and insatiable energy, Terrie is an outstanding role model for girls and young women,” said Herbert A. Claiborne III, Chair of St. Catherine’s Board of Governors. “She has touched the hearts of many—from the youngest child in Early Learners to the oldest alumna—with her warmth, positivity, enthusiasm, and collaborative nature. Needless to say, we will miss her dearly.”
4/24/19—Janelle Bradshaw, Superintendent of Public Prep Academies, was recently interviewed about the benefits of single-gender schools.
The following is an excerpt from the New York School Talk interview:
“In our single-sex model, we place a large emphasis on character development and our core values of merit, responsibility, scholarship and sisterhood. Our girls are empowered to speak up and speak out with determination and confidence. They become empathetic leaders with bold intellect. The single-sex setting has also been linked to developing resilience and perseverance in young students.
On the academic front, the consequences of single-sex education appear to be significantly favorable for low-income and minority students. Disadvantaged students in single-sex schools, compared to their counterparts in coeducational schools, demonstrate higher achievement outcomes on standardized tests in mathematics, reading, science, and civics.”
4/19/19—Students from the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders were selected to perform in the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The school’s marching band, the Marching Stars, will join the parade to the call of “Let’s Have a Parade,” the iconic phrase that has signaled the beginning of every Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade since 1924.
“To have the Ann Richards Marching Stars, the only all-female marching band in the country, share the stage with other incredible band programs at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a dream come true,” said Stephen Howard, the director of bands at Ann Richards School. “This performance will not only have an impact on our band program, but also will showcase the leadership and success of the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders.”
Wesley Whatley, creative producer for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, added, “The Macy’s Parade has a long history of hosting outstanding marching bands from the state of Texas but we’ve never seen a band quite as unique and special as the Marching Stars. We are proud to welcome the talented women of the Ann Richards Marching Stars for their debut performance in the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!”
4/18/19—Our Ocean, a film created by a team of Hamlin School 5thgraders, was recently shown at the International Ocean Film Festival (IOFF). The student film explores the importance of the ocean and delves into the crucial environmental threats that it currently faces. Our Ocean blends beauty and splendor, with a call to action, echoing Hamlin’s mission to “meet the challenges of our time.”
The IOFF, now in its 16thyear, is an acclaimed festival of independent films from around the world on topics ranging from ocean adventure, science, and marine life to sports and coastal cultures. The festival features “films that not only entertain audiences but also educate and inspire people to participate in environmental efforts in and around the ocean, as well as promote better ocean stewardship.”
4/15/19—Stoneleigh-Burnham School recently welcomed Candace Hope to campus as part of the school’s annual Miriam Emerson Peters Speaker Series in Global Awareness. Hope, a documentary photographer based in Western Massachusetts, spent a month in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, documenting the work of the Kibera School for Girls (KSG) and the non-profit organization Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO).
KSG is a tuition-free school in the largest urban slum in Africa that is working to educate and empower girls to be leaders in their community. SHOFCO is a grassroots movement that catalyzes large-scale transformation in urban slums by providing critical services for all, community advocacy platforms, and education and leadership development for women and girls.
At the event, SBS facilitated a salon-style forum in which Hope and current SBS student Idah Mwongeli ’22, a graduate of KSG, discussed SHOFCO and presented Hope’s photography.
4/10/19—Students from Sacred Heart Academy received invitations to present their psychological research projects at the Association of Psychological Science (APS) National Convention in Washington, D.C. in May.
Scholars from all over the world will gather to share cutting-edge insights. The Sacred Heart Academy students, consisting of nine seniors and three juniors, will present and discuss their original research alongside professional researchers. Sacred Heart Academy’s Science Research Director Stephen Sullivan encouraged the students to submit their respective projects to the convention, suggesting Social Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, and Educational Psychology as relevant subfields.
“Sacred Heart Academy, especially the science research program, has offered so many great opportunities from day one,” said Madison E. ’20. “This opportunity in particular will prepare me for a future in the STEM field from independent research as an undergraduate student to Master’s and doctoral theses. I am very excited to represent Sacred Heart Academy on a national stage.”
Colleen O. ’19 added, “We all feel extremely humbled to be invited to present our research alongside undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdocs…we are also honored to have the chance to speak to and learn from experts in the field.”
A complete listing of student projects can be viewed here.