3/13/20—Currently in its 130th year, Saint Joseph Academy is the only all-girls Catholic high school in Cleveland, Ohio. They have just unveiled a multi-year capital campaign, “With Lifted Hearts,” that will raise funds enabling the school to move its campus forward for future generations. This campaign will help transform the bright minds of young women into the compassionate leaders of tomorrow’s global society.
President Mary Ann Corrigan-Davis ’71 shared, “Saint Joseph Academy’s vision for the 21st century is rooted in what has always defined and distinguished us as a school: we will support innovation and academic excellence in a community where faith thrives. Today, we stand at the forefront of exciting changes in high school education, making us a school of choice in the city we call home. The strength of our education is reflected in our strong enrollment and our students’ exceptional academic performance. Our growing student body and continued innovation means our beautiful Academy building no longer fully supports the number of students we teach or the collaborative, project-based education we provide.” She continued by stating, “This campaign is in response to a time of need—a time that demands compassionate female leaders who can create, innovate, and transform our world for the better. We have an extraordinary opportunity to ensure that Saint Joseph Academy’s most impactful years are still ahead.”
The planned campus renovations include new classrooms, expanding the Makerspace innovation lab to five times its current size, and additional space for athletic and performing arts programs plus a student commons.
3/12/20—Oakcrest School earned a spot in the Virginia Science Olympiad high school state tournament by finishing in fifth place at the regional. The unique component that separates the Science Olympiad from traditional science fairs is that every event is collaborative. To promote collaboration, a critical science skill, students participate with at least one partner, and at the end of the day the event scores are totaled for the whole team.
Oakcrest was the only all-girls school among the 11 in the high school competition and the only all-girls school among the 13 middle schools in the regional tournament.
“It was a wonderful team effort across the board. The girls represented Oakcrest very well,” said Science Olympiad coach and Oakcrest science teacher Dr. Kat Hussmann.
This is the second year in a row that Oakcrest sent students to the Virginia Science Olympiad State Tournament. In 2019, Oakcrest was the first ever all-girls team to compete in the state tournament and Dr. Hussmann received the Virginia Science Olympiad Coach of the Year Award.
3/10/20—Alaina V., a senior at The Ethel Walker School, has spent two years as a tax preparer, becoming adept at sorting through clients’ financial documents and working through extensive questionnaires to determine the biggest refund possible.
She and a group of fellow students are hosting Walker’s fourth annual tax clinic, operating a Hartford location of the nationwide and IRS-endorsed Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.
Over the last three years, the Walker’s tax preparers have found a total of $642,000 in returns with the average return last year being $2,454, which can be especially impactful for low-income individuals and families who otherwise may have unknowingly left money on the table.
Not only does the clinic provide a necessary service to clients, it also empowers the teen tax preparers. According to Head of School Meera Viswanathan, sorting through a stranger’s personal and financial documents “requires deep tact and respect.” It also forces the girls to take control and try their best, even if they are nervous. Viswanathan notes it is especially crucial for girls to learn this healthy risk-taking mindset.
3/9/20—[Excerpt from Newark Star Ledger op-ed by NCGS Executive Director Megan Murphy]
“Humans have carved statues and monuments to commemorate notable figures and moments throughout recorded history and long before. In our public spaces, these sculptures have taken the form of real people, mythical creatures and beings, and more.
But rarely do these statues take the form of real, historic women. March is Women’s History Month, and an opportunity to think critically about the state of our public art.
…Throughout all of the United States, fewer than 8% of statues honoring historic figures depict women.
Representation is important. Statues…help us visualize our society’s history by enshrining people and moments we collectively agree are important figures in our shared story. When women are virtually absent from this experience, not only does it skew our historical perspective, it also sets a poor example for our nation’s girls and young women.
Young girls need role models — both modern and historic. They need strong examples of real women succeeding in order to develop confidence, aspirations, leadership skills, and other attributes that will empower them to make a meaningful impact on their world as they become adults. These examples foster greater awareness of their own possibilities. Seeing what they have the potential to become is critical to becoming it.”
Read the full story as it appeared in the Newark Star Ledger.
3/7/20—Lincoln School’s Board of Trustees announced their unanimous appointment of Sophie Glenn Lau ’88 as the 17th Head of School beginning on July 1, 2020.
Lau has the remarkable distinction of having graduated from Lincoln in 1988. “This…marks the first time in Lincoln’s 135-year history that an alumna will be at the helm. We are so excited to see all the ways in which our community grows and strengthens under Sophie’s leadership,” said Chair of the Lincoln Board of Trustees Jane Jamieson ’71.
Currently the Head of the Senior School at Shady Side Academy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Lau enters Lincoln with an outstanding record of strategic thinking, experience in the creation of programs and partnerships, and a deep dedication to the development of students. “She is an accomplished and dynamic leader who will build on Lincoln’s recent successes, including our award-winning STEAM Hub for Girls, our innovative partnership programs, and the expansion of our Little and Lower schools. Her experience in these areas paired with both her strategic approach and passion for learning will shape Lincoln’s future for years to come,” said Russell C. Carey P’16,’31, Chair of the Lincoln Head of School Search Committee.
“As a student, Lincoln was where I found my voice and learned how to be a leader,” shared Lau. “As an alumna, I have watched Lincoln’s incredible trajectory with a great sense of pride and enthusiasm. I now look forward to building on that momentum as head of Lincoln School, and to championing the power of an all-girls education on a national scale.”
3/4/20—Lincoln School recently broke ground on a $5M campus improvement project and campaign, Building Beginnings, to expand its Little School with a state-of-the-art new building.
With hardhats on and ribbon wands dancing in hand, the crowd heard from Head of School Suzanne Fogarty, “Little School, for boys and girls ages six weeks through 3 years old, with its Reggio Emilia inspired approach, emphasizes hands-on exploration, with a focus on language, music, and child-centered learning.”
Shovels were held by toddlers, partners, and leaders who ceremoniously broke ground to kick off this modern addition to Lincoln’s historic campus. The 4,700-square-foot Little School building, scheduled for completion in July 2020, will add two classrooms, feature a dedicated outdoor playspace, and a Reggio-Emilia inspired Studio with an emphasis on hands-on learning and discovery through play.
3/6/20—The Chapin School Board of Trustees have appointed Suzanne Fogarty as the next Head of School, effective July 1, 2020. She will serve as the seventh Head in the school’s history.
Fogarty will transition from her current role as the Head of School at Lincoln School. The only independent all-girls school in Rhode Island, Lincoln has benefited tremendously from Fogarty’s leadership. Working with Lincoln’s Board of Trustees, administrators, and faculty, she enhanced the curriculum by forming strategic partnerships with local and global institutions and thought-leaders, and significantly increased both enrollment and the endowment.
Fogarty’s girls’ school roots run deep with the first teaching position of her career being at The Brearley School.
Fogarty will enter Chapin with an exemplary record of driving performance, creating innovative programs, and fostering collaborations. “It is exciting to join the Chapin community, a leader in girls’ education,” said Fogarty. “So much has been accomplished under the remarkable leadership of Dr. Patricia Hayot. I look forward to learning more from Patricia and building on the extraordinary legacy she will be leaving. My interactions with Board and staff members in the search process clearly reflect Chapin’s commitment to continuing to blaze new directions in girls’ education.”
2/20/20—As I sit in the airport, my brain is running in circles as I truly analyze everything that I experienced this past week. I used to believe that time is always taunting me, never giving me the chance to experience everything that I have ever imagined, but I now realize how wrong my mindset has been. It is incredible the number of things you could learn and the number of people you could meet in a short time; in my case, four days.
I recently had the honor and privilege of representing the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools and my school, Academy of Our Lady of Peace, at the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia Student Leadership Conference in Sydney, Australia. With the theme of “Take Flight,” the conference, held at the Women’s College at the University of Sydney, focused on providing a range of experiences, skills, tools, and knowledge to help all girls attending learn how to “take flight” in their leadership positions.
The conference hosted multiple guest speakers, including adventurer and poet, Hayley Talbot, Founder and CEO of the Kokoda Track Foundation Dr. Guinevere Nelson, current Harvard University Student Xialene Chang, and many more. All of these fantastic changemakers gave us insight into how, as leaders, we should step away from traditional stereotypes to create a more inclusive society. This vibrant and inspirational conference has provided me the tools to confidently navigate my future and to champion women’s empowerment. With the beautiful parting gift of a network of friends, I have never felt so close to a group of like-minded women, all leaders, from Australia, New Zealand, and Zimbabwe, who are also embarking on similar leadership journeys.
If I had any superpower in the world, I wish I could hand you my experience. Put all of my memories, thoughts, and adventures in a jar and give you the beauty of this trip. But, sadly, I don’t have this in my possession, so, I have decided to provide you with a fantastic list of the most important things I learned as a leader, sister, daughter, and, most importantly, as a human being. Throughout this conference, I was the human version of a sponge, absorbing every piece of information that was presented to me. In this world, we need more leaders that:
- use their voice to help the voiceless,
- are eager to step out of their comfort zone and help others step out of theirs, and
- are ready to take on challenges with an inclusive and genuine approach.
I recognize the privilege of having experienced this revitalized event. Now that I am home, I want to ring out my educational sponge and pass along the information I learned. With these new skills, I hope you will become inspired to dance with your potential, ultimately helping you start new habits that will lead you through your journey of becoming the bold leader that you were born to be.
1. You need more than one goal!
When setting goals, it is easy to get caught up on one thing, often making us forget about what we will do once we reach that goal. Hayley Talbot, the first person to solo kayak and navigate 400km Clarence River in Australia, said, “The nectar of living in your dreams, is that you can always start a new one.” Beautifully said! Make a series of goals so that when you achieve one, the others are like a magnet that pulls you forward and allows you to feel success in your heart and let you continue to grow as a person.
2. Take off your glasses
Everyone wears glasses. We all have a perception and implicit bias that affect the way we see the world around us. Our race, economic status, family, friends, childhood, values all create an unconscious bias. We, as people, need to learn how to take off these glasses and empathize with others. This is one of those things that is easier said than done. It is manageable to be empathetic towards people who are similar to us because their shoes are similar to ours. Learning to take off our glasses is a work in progress. When we decide to understand one another, it makes us more sensitive as people and more respectful of others’ boundaries and limits.
3. Fear builds character
One of the most challenging things that we encounter in life is fear. It is inevitable and something that everyone has to overcome. When you face fear, don’t let it stop you from chasing the life you desire. Even if you really want to give up, strategize a new way to reach your goal and accept that fear got in your way. Move forward and know that people support you even in your slight detours.
4. Tell everyone about your dreams!
It is difficult to tell others what your biggest aspirations are in life when you fear rejection and failure. I can certainly empathize with others on this as I typically hold in my dreams. It is hard to tell everyone, but once we know that fear builds character, there is nothing that can stop us. If any quote caught my attention at this conference, it would be this one: “You can’t do anything by yourself.” Inform the world about your hopes and let others help you so your dreams can flourish and eventually come true.
Sofia ’20 is a student at Academy of Our Lady of Peace
2/7/20—Executive Director Megan Murphy stood last week before the largest audience ever gathered at an NCGS Educating Girls Symposium to thank our generous host, The Hockaday School, recognize our talented partners at the Young Women’s Preparatory Network, and welcome the opening keynote speaker, Michelle Kinder. As is typical, Megan’s comments focused on the work of others—our host school, our strategic partner and sponsors, the keynote speaker.
Dropped in the midst of her generosity, Megan humbly issued a bold claim, “In the landscape of schools, I believe that ours have always been the most strategic. We’ve had to be. Each of our schools was established by a trailblazer with the singular purpose to advance the lives of girls.”
There you have it. Our charge was clear. The NCGS Board had arrived in Dallas, Texas, and it was time to think big. It was our moment to coalesce around a shared vision: to begin in earnest a process of strategic planning that reflects the best thinking of our schools and strives to match our schools’ aspirations with the Coalition’s assets. This is no small task.
We commence our work with the knowledge that our Coalition is operating from an unprecedented position of strength: the 2019-2020 membership roster includes greater diversity and more schools than ever before; attendance at NCGS conferences and symposiums and enrollment in online professional development offerings continues to surge; newly sponsored and recently released research informs our practice and advocacy efforts; and new ventures are on the horizon with our first cohort of Global Action Research Fellows hard at work.
And yet, still, it somehow seems like we are just getting started. There is such good and important work ahead for all of us.
Nearly thirty years ago, NCGS co-founders, Meg Moulton and Whitty Ransome, recognized that together our schools can do more.
NCGS members rise and fall on the collective coalition-wide belief that our schools do better for girls. NCGS, as an organization, takes our inspiration from our membership and believes that if we do better for our schools, then they can do better for girls. And if our schools do better for their girls, then those girls can in turn do better for their world. Our alumnae stand one million strong. That is a lot of better for our world.
Make no mistake that when we come together in shared vision, it matters. Only then can we have what Danielle Heard, Head of Nashoba Brooks School and Vice President of the NCGS Board, calls a “cascading effect where all benefit—students, teachers, parents, and alumnae.”
So how will we arrive at a shared vision for a Coalition of over 250 schools and our 115,000 students? We start with you.
In October, before we began the formal strategic planning, we poured over your thoughts as represented in last spring’s membership survey. According to our schools, we dove deeply into areas such as: Where does NCGS add the greatest value? What resources are most valuable to membership? What gives your school the best chance of reaching its own strategic goals? Where is the strength in numbers?
Beyond the member survey, the Board asked our own questions regarding the four NCGS pillars—advocacy, research, professional development, and networking. Does one lead to another? When creating new programming, what takes priority? What are the core issues that unite an exceptionally diverse set of girls’ schools? How can we lead nationally and contribute internationally when there are seemingly real regional differences? How can we create a meaningful 2020 vision that is inclusive of all of our schools despite their differences in access to resources? Finally, how can we assure that all of our voices are given equal weight? We are, after all, united in our belief that elevating girls’ voices is at our core.
Michelle Kinder picked up where Megan left off. She combined scholarship with narrative to share insights into leadership “from the inside out.” Per Michelle, “People who can navigate the inside will be superheroes because the outside world is so challenging. When we are trapped by stress, ego, and fear we do things that are small.” One of her recommendations? “Zoom out and illuminate something that interests you.”
Therein lies the task before the NCGS Board, for now at least. We zoom out, illuminate, and strategically plan for this most promising of ventures: girls who will change our world.
2/4/20—NCGS members, the Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS) in Denver and Los Angeles, were featured among ten recently released case studies from the Chan Zuckerberg Institute (CZI). The profiles highlight schools expanding the definition of student success by going beyond academics to more fully encompass the developmental needs of the whole child. GALS, Inc. operates a network of public, single-gender middle and high schools with the holistic vision that “healthy bodies fuel healthy minds.”
“Student success is often defined in academic terms, alone. These schools are expanding that definition to include identity, physical, mental, and emotional factors that can have a profound impact on why—and whether—students thrive,” said Brooke Stafford-Brizard, CZI’s Director of Whole Child Development. CZI uses technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges from preventing and eradicating disease to improving learning experiences for children.
GALS leaders have a long-term comprehensive vision for student success. As one leader shared, “We talk a lot about a well-lived life, self-possession, and self-sufficiency. We want to prepare students to lead confidently, succeed academically, live boldly, and thrive physically. We want students to leave high school ready to approach the world the way they see fit. We want them to embrace embodied living and leading. We prepare students for innovative leadership in a global society.”
Click here to view CZI’s case study on the GALS, Inc. schools.
1/30/20—The Board of Trustees at Sacred Heart Greenwich have appointed Margaret “Meg” Frazier as the 34th Head of School, effective July 1, 2020.
Frazier currently serves as Headmistress of NCGS member Marymount International School of London, an all-girls independent Catholic day and boarding school in the U.K. A passionate advocate for all-girls education, Frazier has also served as the Head of Upper School at Sacred Heart Greenwich’s sister school and NCGS member Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland.
“I feel so privileged to be selected as the next Head of School at such an outstanding all-girls Catholic school, with a well-known history of preparing young women for lives of leadership and service to others,” shared Frazier. “Now in the third decade of the 21st century, the school’s mission is just as important today as it has been in the past and our care for each girl’s needs will drive our brave work together.”
1/29/20—Roland Park Country School (RPCS) received a $1.75 million pledge from alumna Holliday “Holly” Cross Heine, from the class of 1962, and her husband John “Jack” C. Heine. The gift will create three separate endowments to fund a new K-8 STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) Director role, the existing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Director position, and the school’s signature STEM Institute.
Head of School Caroline Blatti said, “I am profoundly grateful to Holly and Jack for their generosity and enthusiastic support of our comprehensive STEM and STEAM curricula, which span every grade level and department. I am also so honored that as an alumna who has built such a successful career in this field, Holly shares our purpose of intentionally harnessing our students’ boundless imaginations and curiosity to give them the confidence, knowledge, and tools they need to build a solid foundation and deep understanding of these concepts.”
A graduate of MIT with a Ph.D. and from Suffolk University with a J.D., Holly turned her passion for the sciences into a thriving career as a patent attorney. She expressed, “My husband and I decided to make this commitment because we believe in the power of a STEAM/STEM education and in Roland Park Country School’s ability to equip more young women with the critical skills that are necessary to have a career in these fields, if they wish.”