2/25/19—The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools is partnering with seven member schools in the Toronto area to host a Girls’ School Advantage advocacy outreach event. Prospective families and community-based organizations are invited to learn about the effectiveness and unique environment of all-girls schools. The program will featured remarks from Natalie Demers, Director of Research Initiatives & Programs at NCGS, and a Q&A panel of student representatives from each of the participating schools followed by a school fair.
Girls’ School Advantage: Toronto
Sunday, April 28, 2019
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Upper Canada College
George Weston Hall
200 Lonsdale Road
Toronto, ON M4V 1W6
Participating schools include The Bishop Strachan School, Branksome Hall, Hawthorn School for Girls, Holy Name of Mary College School, St. Clement’s School, St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School, and Trafalgar Castle School.
2/19/18—Anne K. ’19, a student at Foxcroft School, recently received a U.S. patent for her “Retractable Limited Dexterity Eating Aid.” Inspired by her 94-year-old grandmother who was diagnosed with dementia and has difficulty with fine motor skills, Anne’s tool assists with eating. The device fits around a dinner plate and is designed to push food towards the middle of the plate. It also provides a raised edge to help users get food onto their utensils and prevent spills.
Anne conducted significant research on eating aids as she developed and refined her invention. She also took an online course to learn a sophisticated computer-aided design software called On Shape to help create the device. After she rendered detailed drawings of the device, she created a sample on the 3D printer in The Innovation Lab at Foxcroft.
Anne’s AP English Literature teacher Steve McCarty gave her the opportunity to write and revise the complicated patent application as her major writing project. “Last year I created an assignment in which each student gets to select her own writing project and I help to guide her through the process,” explains McCarty. “We talk about what the end product looks like and the criteria by which I will grade them. The idea is that they get to try writing something other than the typical English essay…The best-case scenario [with this assignment] is when the student gets to write something that she would do if only she had the time. This is what happened with Anne.”
Anne joins the small yet powerful cohort of female inventors who currently only hold about 10% of all U.S. patents.
2/13/19—Havergal College has announced the appointment of Catherine Misson, effective August 2019, as the school’s 12th Principal in its 125-year history.
Misson is an accomplished educator with over two decades of experience. She has led a progressive evolution of learning across the Junior, Middle, and Senior Years Programs at Melbourne Girls Grammar, where she has been Principal since 2008. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a commitment to fostering positive learning environments unique to the development of girls, one example being the Artemis Centre, Melbourne Girls Grammar’s facility for the well-being of girls, which opened under Mission’s guidance.
Martha Cohen Simmons, Chair of the Havergal Board of Governors, describes Misson as “an energetic and dynamic leader” and a “passionate and articulate big-picture thinker who will carry the torch onward for Havergal.”
2/8/19—Having just returned from our February NCGS Board of Trustees meeting, I find myself reflecting on how fortunate we are to work in—and for—girls’ schools. The NCGS Board and staff are grateful to Miss Porter’s School for hosting our meetings over two days and to The Ethel Walker School for hosting a wonderful dinner where we were thrilled to come together with colleagues from Emma Willard School, Greenwich Academy, Miss Hall’s School, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, and Westover School.
When opening our meetings, I always share a reading, poem or quotation, and felt words from Rosa Parks would be very appropriate during Black History Month. Parks said, “I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.” Parks’ wish is one to which we all—educators, schools, and our Coalition—aspire.
Time together with girls’ school colleagues always magnifies how important our work as educators is in facilitating our girls’ growth and learning. I believe we learn just as much from our girls as they do from us. While we know when our students leave us they are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and conviction to thrive, we also find our schools have learned and grown because of their presence. Our girls challenge us to keep things like freedom, justice, and equality front of mind—just as Rosa Parks would want.
At NCGS, our purpose to be the leading advocate for girls’ schools, connecting and collaborating globally with individuals, schools, and organizations dedicated to educating and empowering girls guides us in all that we do. Our advocacy, networking, professional development, and research is done with an eye to enabling you to do the best work you can for your students. Much has been accomplished by our Coalition since our last meeting in October, including but not limited to:
- NCGS’ research report on Fostering Academic and Social Engagement: An Investigation into the Effects of All-Girls Education in the Transition into University has been rolled out, and I encourage you to take advantage of the supporting resources and toolkit available for member schools. Email Olivia Haas, if you have not yet requested these materials.
- NCGS’ recently reformed its Transgender/Gender Identity Task Force (originally formed in 2014). Updated recommendations and resources to support member schools will be available in the weeks and months to come.
- After a very successful Educating Girls Symposium hosted at Laurel School in Cleveland in October, we look forward to our next Symposium—which is sold out!—at The Nightingale-Bamford School in New York City on February 20.
- NCGS continues to focus on preparing for our NCGS 2019 Conference: Dream, Dare, Do: Girls as Makers, Inventors, Engineers, and Entrepreneurs, to be hosted at Westridge School in Los Angeles, June 24-26.
Finally, we are continually taking stock of our important work in order to inform our future. This reflection cannot be done without our members’ feedback. Our NCGS staff, in consultation with the Board of Trustees, is currently working on a member survey to be distributed later this year. Your input is invaluable, and we look forward to your full participation and valuable reflections.
2/1/19—The National Coalition of Girls’ Schools is partnering with eight member schools in the greater Boston area to host a Girls’ School Advantage advocacy outreach event. Prospective families and community-based organizations are invited to learn about the effectiveness and unique environment of all-girls schools. The program will featured remarks from Natalie Demers, Director of Research Initiatives & Programs at NCGS, and a Q&A panel of student representatives from each of the participating schools followed by a school fair.
Girls’ School Advantage: Boston
Sunday, March 31, 2019
1:00 – 3:00 PM
University Hall Amphitheater (2nd Floor)
1815 Massachusetts Avenue
Participating schools include Academy at Penguin Hall, Dana Hall School, Dexter Southfield, Montrose School, Nashoba Brooks School, Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame Academy, and The Woodward School.
1/30/19—Ashley Hall, the only independent girls’ school in South Carolina, recently opened Warren Street House, a new Humanities center and a signature component of a $10 million investment in the redesign of the school’s historic urban campus. The renovation of six historic buildings to repurpose nearly 40,000 square feet of state-of-the-art classroom, laboratory, and collaborative environments delivers on the school’s commitment to deep learning, healthy development, high achievement, and community impact.
At the same time, Ashley Hall Head of School and NCGS Trustee Jill Muti also announced the school’s bold plan to expand its footprint globally with the launch of a new Italian campus in Charleston’s cultural sister city of Spoleto, Italy. The campus will provide Ashley Hall students, teachers, and alumnae with immersive education opportunities that connect languages, the arts, and sciences against the backdrop of a historic center of creativity. The Spoleto campus is part of a national initiative—spearheaded and led by Ashley Hall and two other independent schools, The Culver Academies and Rabun-Gap Nacoochee School, under the umbrella of Spoleto Study Abroad—to fully utilize the campus throughout the year by like-minded, independent schools.
“There has never been a more important time for young women’s voices to be heard, and Ashley Hall’s dynamic education in Charleston and abroad prepares our students to be self-reliant, independent thinkers in our complex global world,” Muti said.
1/24/19—St. Mary Academy-Bay View will become the first elementary/secondary school in Rhode Island to obtain a state-of-the-art Anatomage Table—a groundbreaking scientific device that will vividly enhance instruction and learning within Bay View’s STEM-focused courses and programs.
Spanning 81 inches in length and providing the hands-on functionality of a tablet, the Anatomage Table offers a captivatingly interactive experience of anatomy and physiology that will benefit Bay View students of all ages. “With the Anatomage virtual dissection table, our students will be able to visualize and understand anatomical structures and interrelated concepts in as lifelike a manner as possible,” said Dr. Janell Johnson, the school’s Science Department Co-Chair. “This is a privilege usually reserved for medical and graduate students as well as organizations such as the Mayo Clinic.”
Sr. Marybeth Beretta, President of St. Mary Academy-Bay View, noted, “Our responsibility as educators is to facilitate the learning of our students—to not only ensure that we are providing them with the tools and skills necessary for present and future success but to stretch the scope of their imagination and personal potential. Acquiring an Anatomage Table at Bay View is a significant step in on our ongoing efforts to enhance the student experience in every way possible.”
1/23/19—St. Margaret’s School (SMS) has announced the appointment of Sharon Klein as the next Head of School, effective August 2019.
Klein is a member of the Board of Directors for CAIS (Canadian Accredited Independent Schools). She has served on the CAIS Strategic Planning, Standards, and Evaluation committees, and is a certified Fierce Conversations Facilitator, and holds National Coaching Certifications in four sports.
For the last four years, Klein has been the highly successful Head of School at St. George’s School (STG) in Montreal, Quebec, a leading progressive, co-educational school. She led the school through a strategic planning process, enhanced STG’s reputation with the creation of a new branding and marketing campaign, and developed a campus master plan initiating a $10 million capital campaign.
The SMS Search Committee was most impressed by Klein’s leadership skills and her commitment to all-girls education. “What I have learned over my tenure as an educator is that the culture of the school is of the utmost importance,” said Klein. “All students learn best in an environment where they feel respected, encouraged, and supported—one where they cite their relationship with their teachers as what they love best about their school… I care deeply about creating confident and inspiring women who will lead in whatever way they choose.”
1/5/19—A student at Girls Preparatory School (GPS) will travel to the 2019 #HouseofCode reception in Washington, D.C., as the winner of Tennessee’s Third District’s Congressional App Challenge. Seventh-grader Emerson C. won the competition with her game app, Litter Awareness, which features a polar bear that has to traverse a maze to reach her cub without getting caught in litter. If the polar bear entangles itself in litter, a message pops up regarding the dangers of environmental degradation.
Emerson designed the educational app through her Design & Discovery class taught by Karen Richards, GPS computer science teacher. “Emerson 100 percent deserves this win,” said Richards. “She had a vision of what she wanted to do from the very start. She started with a simple maze and gradually grew its difficulty over time. Emerson cares deeply for the environment. She worked diligently during class time, came to help classes, and even came to my room during a couple of her study halls to fix bugs along the way.”
Emerson’s success reflects GPS’s commitment to encouraging girls in STEM-related fields. Dr. Autumn Graves, Head of GPS, said, “We are so proud of Emerson—for her creativity and her passion for programming and the environment. Beginning in middle school, our students are given many opportunities to shine across the STEM fields, and Emerson approached the app challenge with much enthusiasm and support from her teacher.”
12/19/18—Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women unveiled plans for its new Cheryl Speranza Leadership Institute, a program launching in fall 2019, to recruit and mentor racially and socioeconomically diverse young women. The initiative is being funded thanks to a generous gift of more than $1.2 million from the Speranza family and the Cheryl and Paul Speranza Foundation. The late Cheryl Speranza was a 1965 Mercy graduate with a passion for serving others. Her husband Paul shared the couple’s commitment to Mercy, “One thing we saw over and over (in traveling across the country) was a lack of women of color in any high leadership positions in any segment of society…I’m stating the obvious, but it’s true. …We felt so strongly about Mercy and what Mercy can do for young women, and it all came together.”
The Institute will fund more than eleven “emerging leaders from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, such as young women with limited financial and emotional support.” Scholars will gain access to mentors and tutors, will partake in a leadership development curriculum, and receive life and career assistance throughout college, graduate school, and beyond.
Christian Jensen, Mercy’s vice president of institutional advancement, said “[The Speranza’s giving] is a lot bigger than 11 scholarships. They’re going to touch lives and inspire generations of future leaders.”
12/11/18—Lincoln School recently announced the formation of its Strategic Advisory Board, a committee made up of nine national and international leaders, experts, and innovators. The board members range from former White House Chief of Staff, Kenneth Duberstein to the founder of Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani. Together, they will offer advice and counsel to Lincoln’s Head of School, Suzanne Fogarty, on matters related to mission, curriculum, and strategic plan; identify and engage potential partnerships and opportunities for the school; and assist in cementing Lincoln School’s reputation as a top all-girls independent school founded on Quaker values.
Fogarty noted, “Lincoln School has long been an academic powerhouse where girls thrive, and the intellectual strength and professional accomplishments of the new Lincoln School Strategic Advisory Board takes our mission to the next level. This carefully assembled group of global thought leaders were appointed because of their expertise in their chosen fields, and their dedication to preparing Lincoln students for the world, and the world for Lincoln students.”
11/28/18—Stoneleigh-Burnham School (SBS) Debate and Public Speaking Society member Jacqueline “Jax” M. ’19 recently qualified for the 2019 World Individual Debating and Public Speaking Championship in Toronto, Canada, where she will represent the U.S.
SBS’s Debate and Public Speaking Society is one of the school’s signature programs, and Jax joins an elite group of former competitors. She is the 18th debater in the school’s history to qualify for the world competition.
Jax qualified for the championship during the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Competition held in Toronto earlier this fall, where she and SBS teammates Beatrice B. ’20and Joy L. ’20 competed with about 150 students from 47 schools from around the world.
Jax placed as a finalist in two categories, Impromptu Speaking, in which she finished 5th overall and 1st among U.S. schools, and Interpretive Reading, in which she finished 11th overall and 1st among U.S. schools. Her Interpretive Reading was so powerful that one of the judges reached out to SBS co-coach Karen Suchenski to say, “Congratulations on a spellbinding presentation…What an amazing performer you have on your hands … Her reading simply blew me away. I have never seen/heard anything like it.”