10/10/18—Later this month, ten students from Girls Preparatory School (GPS) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, will compete in the Head of the Charles Regatta, the largest two-day regatta in the world. In addition to racing crews from across the U.S., this year’s event has teams from Canada, Mexico, Australia, China, South Africa, and across Europe. “Our girls will be racing crews from every corner of the United States—California to New England, Florida to Seattle, and everywhere in between,” said Head Varsity Rowing Coach David Hall. More than 11,000 athletes will compete and hundreds of thousands of spectators gather to watch.
This will be the third time GPS students have competed in this distinguished Cambridge, Massachusetts race. GPS was previously selected to send teams in 2000 and 2015.
Coach Hall reflected, “Our athletes have been working extremely hard this season, with their eyes set on this opportunity since this time last year. The girls know the expectations that naturally come with a regatta like the Head of the Charles. I’m excited to see what they can do with their combined experience in one shell on an international stage like this one.”
One of the team captains, Larkin B. ’19, noted the ways in which the GPS rowing program has shifted in preparation for the Head of the Charles. “We’ve worked a lot on the mental side,” she said. “Coach Hall has been instrumental in that, and we’ve grown a lot closer and have higher expectations of our team.”
Rebecca G. ’19, another team captain, added, “Rowing is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but also the most rewarding. You have to trust your boat-mates completely and work together.”
10/5/18—It is a complex time for girls and young women as they work to make sense of the world around them. As a result, it is an important time for our girls’ schools to support students as they learn and grow—particularly as we work to foster their independence, confidence, and compassion.
Needless to say, the theme of our fall Educating Girls Symposium, School Communities: The Power of Many Voices was a timely one, and the keynote speakers and sessions did not disappoint.
Our keynote speakers highlighted the power of voice and language, and how we best support our girls in their use.
Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, President Emerita of Spelman College and author of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race, opened with a powerful session, reminding us of the importance of speaking up and ensuring that from our youngest girls to oldest, they are supported and guided as they notice and learn about difference such that we are fostering environments that are equitable and inclusive. She impressed upon us that we must nurture our girls’ voices in a productive and constructive manner.
At the end of the day, psychologist, executive director of Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, and author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood, Dr. Lisa Damour, challenged us to stop being critical of our girls’ use of language so that we can be more curious about it. Rather than suggesting that our girls avoid particular ways of speaking, we should be providing them with a toolbox of language skills that afford them choices depending on the circumstances. As Damour suggests, “Voice is not, and should not be, a unifying thing. [We must] aim to recognize all voices in a community and all of the voices in each girl,” such that they are able to challenge traditional structures in a way that best suits them and the situation.
Bottom line? Voice and language are powerful and important tools for our girls and young women. As a Coalition, and as educators of girls, we must always be thinking, modeling, and guiding our girls to speak up and out in ways that allow them to be heard and that positively effect change.
10/2/18—Mark Cuban, an American businessman and investor, recently announced he would donate $10 million to women’s advocacy nonprofits following an investigation into sexual harassment in the NBA. Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA) of Fort Worth, a member of NCGS and Fort Worth’s only single-gender school for young women, is receiving a $100,000 donation as part of Cuban’s pledge.
Principal of YWLA Tamara Albury said, “They see the value in what we’re doing and in my students… It’s fantastic. It’s heartwarming.” The school plans to use the funds for STEM and visual arts education, as well as programs in leadership, service, and health/wellness.
9/28/18—The Bishop Strachan School (BSS), Canada’s oldest independent day and boarding school for girls, recently unveiled She’ll Decide, an advertising campaign aimed at empowering young women faced with difficult contemporary decisions. The campaign tackles issues ranging from technology addiction to self-confidence to the current relevance of classical literature, and encourages girls to blaze their own trail when deciding how to address these topics. Each poster artistically depicts the challenges faced by young women with striking imagery accompanied by the bold statement, “She’ll decide. At BSS, we inspire girls to find their purpose and voice, so they can make their own choices and a real impact in their world.”
Judith Carlisle, Head of School at BSS said, “At a time when the #MeToo movement is encouraging women to use their voices, this campaign brings to life some critical issues girls face every day, and ladders up to greater self determination as they make an impact in their world.”
9/6/18—Crofton House School announces the appointment of Ena Harrop as the next Head of School, effective August 1, 2019.
Harrop currently serves as the Head at the City of London School for Girls (CLSG) and as Executive Head at City of London Primary Academy in England. She is also a director of Lancing College. During her time at CLSG, Harrop has furthered the academic and co-curricular programs while placing well-being firmly at the heart of the school. She has also concentrated on developing a culture of professional learning and research among staff, creating opportunities for student leadership across the school and in the wider community, and growing their bursary program.
“I am utterly delighted to have been appointed as the next Head of Crofton House at this exciting stage in the school’s history,” said Harrop. “Girls can be such a force for positive change. It is a real privilege to play a part in girls’ education, and to see them step into their lives not just fully equipped to deal with the challenges ahead but also ready and willing to make the world a better place for all.”
6/19/18—The York House School Board of Governors recently named Julie Rousseau as their new Head of School, effective immediately.
Rousseau joined York House in 2015 and has held a number of senior administrative roles with increasing responsibility across the whole school. The Board named her Acting Head of School in December 2017. Drawing on her 26 years of experience in education, leadership, and administration, Rousseau will, in conjunction with the Board, continue the work of moving the vision of York House forward.
“I am honored and thrilled to assume the Headship at York House; a school that for 85 years has inspired girls to love learning and experience personal fulfillment and meaning in their lives,” shared Rousseau. “I look forward to ongoing work with our dedicated faculty and staff who, on a daily basis, foster caring relationships with our Yorkies.”
6/16/18—Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart announced the appointment of Mary Rose Guerin as the next Head of School, effective July 1, 2019.
Guerin currently serves as the Principal of Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart in Chicago, where her forward-thinking and visionary leadership, commitment to the holistic development of young women, and talent for uniting a diverse community has contributed to the recognition of Josephinum’s reputation as an excellent academic institution.
Guerin first became acquainted with Forest Ridge when she served on the 2016 Sacred Heart Commission on Goals visiting team. She was drawn to Forest Ridge by its steadfast commitment to empowering young women to change the world as well as its reputation of being a pioneer in the field of education. She is excited about the possibility of leading an innovative community, dedicated to creating cutting-edge opportunities for young women.
6/15/18—NCGS member Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA)—an all-girls math and science school in Los Angeles—is logging math scores significantly higher than its co-ed counterparts and already has a waiting list of 400 girls hoping to study at one of the state’s only single-sex public schools.
Elizabeth Hicks, GALA’s Principal and a member of the NCGS Board of Trustees, was the driving force behind the school’s beginnings in 2016. Having studied girls’ schools around the country, Hicks sought to create courses that would prepare girls for excelling in math and science in college. Since then, Hicks has seen girls more emboldened to participate in class, raise their hands, and ask questions. “Girls say they’re not intimidated,” shared Hicks. “Before, boys might have made fun of them for asking questions in class. Here, they’re more likely to talk, to dig a little deeper. They push each other to go higher. … It’s been an amazing two years.”
Girls’ school students have an edge in STEM over their coed peers, according to Megan Murphy, Executive Director of NCGS, because of the sheer volume of female mentors and role models at girls’ schools.
At girls’ schools, “girls take center stage,” shared Murphy. “The math team is all girls. The science Olympian is a girl. The student government is all girls. The editor of the newspaper is a girl. Every decision that’s made, is made with girls in mind. … And the results are quite astonishing.”
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6/5/18 — Six girls’ schools, which are members of NCGS and the Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN), were recently included in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools Rankings. Of the 601 Texas schools in the 2018 rankings, the following girls’ schools made it into the top 100: Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders (Austin), Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School (Dallas), Young Women’s Leadership Academy (San Antonio), Talkington School for Young Women Leaders (Lubbock), Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy (Houston), and Young Women’s Leadership Academy (Fort Worth).
5/31/18—Girls Preparatory School (GPS) alumna Taylor P. ’14 was selected to deliver the 2018 valedictory address at her college commencement ceremony. Majoring in chemistry in the Health Professionals Advising Program at College of the Holy Cross, Taylor plans to spend a year in clinical or biomedical research after graduation before pursuing a degree in pediatric medicine.
Taylor was selected as valedictorian from a group of academically outstanding members of her senior class. Each student submitted speeches for consideration, and the Valedictorian Selection Committee—composed of students from the senior class, faculty members, and administrators—reviewed the submissions. The final selection was made by Margaret Freije, Provost and Dean of the College.
“I give so much credit to the influence GPS had on me and how well it prepared me for a successful college experience,” shared Taylor. “I wouldn’t be nearly where I am today without the support of my GPS family.”
5/30/18—To commemorate its 15th anniversary, The Girls’ School of Austin (GSA) launched a “15 Years 15 Hours” challenge to its students, faculty, and staff. The goal was for each student to volunteer 15 hours over the course of the school year.
The girls started off strong with various Hurricane Harvey relief efforts that included fundraising, hosting diaper drives, and putting together care packages. They also ended strong by giving of their time throughout the year to organizations such as the Ronald McDonald House, Urban Roots, Austin Pets Alive, Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Girls Giving Grants, and more. Some students even created their own community service projects.
Students were recognized in school-wide community meetings throughout the year as they reached five, ten, and 15 hours of service. Once individual students reached the 15-hour goal, they received a Community Service Award. All 150 girls participated in the community service challenge with 66 girls reaching the goal of 15 hours before the end of the school year.
“It was quite incredible to see the girls step into this challenge without hesitation,” shared GSA’s Service Learning Coordinator, Shanna Prewitt-Hines. “To see every single girl, from the youngest to the oldest, engage in work around the community to make Austin an even better place was awe-inspiring. These girls are amazing, and the future certainly looks bright with these girls at the helm.”
5/16/18—Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and congressional districts. This year, Girls Preparatory School (GPS) senior Phoebe M.’s painting placed first for the Tennessee district and will hang in the U.S. Capitol for one year.
The work, Watercolor Window, was done in oils and painted from a photo Phoebe took of a friend riding on a bus with fogged windows. “I remember when Phoebe brought this picture to me,” shared Julie Deavers, GPS art teacher. “She told me the story of how she captured this image and that she wanted to paint it—bubbling with excitement. Fast forward two years later to a much more confident and skilled artist, Phoebe decides to tackle this painting […] Of course she handled it beautifully, and this painting is evidence of how much she has grown as an artist.”
Phoebe’s entry was selected by a panel of district artists for national consideration. She was awarded two plane tickets to attend the opening reception and award ceremony in Washington, D.C. in June 2018.