Breakout Sessions

Breakout Sessions are 50 minutes in length and include a presentation followed by Q&A

Be sure to check back frequently for new additions to this lineup of sessions!

#BelieveWomen and Achievement: Supporting Teen Survivors of Violence to Become Thriving Students

As 1 in 5 adolescent girls have experienced gender-based violence, and college campuses and tech industries where we encourage entry and equity surge with #MeToo’s, girls’ educators must understand the effects and address the needs of survivors of violence at a critical developmental age. This session will discuss daily student manifestations of sexual abuse, harassment, technological harm, and interpersonal violence, and how we promote safety and counternarrative healing in schools to combat core barriers to women’s empowerment and achievement. We will review case studies and practice classroom and counseling strategies that #BelieveWomen and bolster them by recognizing signs of trauma, regulating biases, and reacting with appropriate language and referrals to resources.

PRESENTER: Gayathri Iyer, School Counselor | The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria


#OwlsForLife: The Energy of the Student Alumnae Association

Stoneleigh-Burnham School has a vibrant sisterhood. Since it began in 2014, the Student Alumnae Association (SAA) at SBS has played a central role in growing alumnae engagement and has helped double the Annual Fund. Students are front and center at alumnae events including reunion, career night, trustee weekends, giving society gatherings, and more. Connecting with alumnae gives girls an opportunity to use their voice, think about the future, and connect more deeply with school history and traditions. During the School’s 150th anniversary in 2019, SAA members and the students from all grade levels were involved every step of the way. In this session you’ll come away with low-cost, effective ways to succeed with this mutually beneficial relationship. Students can gain important skills, have fun, and are inspired to become “Owls for Life.” The alumnae office has the extra help needed to run a small relations shop. Best of all, alumnae are inspired to help the next generation of girls become self-confident young women.

PRESENTERS: Susan Mattei, Director of Development and Alumnae Relations, and Darcy Tarbell, Trustee | Stoneleigh-Burnham School


Best Practices: Strategic Partnerships and Girls’ Education

Come learn about a stellar, multi-layered partnership relationship and how it impacts our girls’ education programming at The Young Women’s Leadership Schools. In this session, you will receive practical information on how to grow corporate partners.

PRESENTERS: Eunice Liriano, Director, Strategic Partnerships and Events, and Yahaira Gil Maestro, Associate Director | Student Leadership Network


Building Blocks of Civil Discourse: From Research to Practice

Civil discourse promotes understanding between individuals, encourages meaningful conversations, and helps students work through interpersonal conflicts. Based on a review of the literature, Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls identified six key, teachable building blocks of civil discourse: the emotional skills of extending empathy, accepting discomfort and braving controversy, and the cognitive skills of cultivating curiosity, taking perspective, and engaging effectively. This presentation will highlight the research basis and practical applications of these skills. Attendees will be invited to share their own challenging situations and will leave with pragmatic, actionable strategies for fostering civil discourse in their schools.

PRESENTERS: Tori Cordiano, Director of Research | Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls, and Megan Weiskopf, Director of the Upper School | Laurel School


Building DEI Teams Across the Divisions

As a three-division school, Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart has created a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion team to help support and execute DEI work at our school. We will share our journey from inception to execution. We plan to share our challenges and success with handouts and advice for DEI practitioners who work alone in their school communities.

PRESENTERS: Michelle Black, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Barbara Beachler, US English Teacher, US Diversity, Equity,and Inclusion Coordinator; Michelle Akaras, Lower School Assistant, Lower School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator; and Fallon Hitchens, MS Art Teacher, Middle School Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator | Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart


Building Programs of Empowerment in an Era of Fracture

This session will give tools to develop and evaluate programming that promotes female voice and empowerment in the context of these cross-cutting questions: How does building leadership frameworks in girls’ schools provide transferable leadership skills for students? Where are the pitfalls of establishing parameters for empowerment around single-sex viz-a-viz other intersectional differences? How does institutional structure influence the development of voice and empowerment in students? What opportunities/challenges exist in implementing programs of empowerment in a context of bipartisan divide? Participants will leave the session with resources for program evaluation, and a beginning rubric for deployment in their school environments.

PRESENTERS: Robert Quinn, Academic Dean | Notre Dame Preparatory School, and Lisa Singleton, Student Activities Coordinator | Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School


Catholic & Feminist?: The Challenges and Successes of Teaching Women’s Studies in a Catholic Girls’ School

It has become increasingly difficult to teach human rights and social justice issues within a faith-based framework without being pegged as having a politically charged and “leftist” agenda. I will share my journey and story through the joys and difficulties of teaching feminism, white privilege, racism, and sexual violence in an all-girls Catholic high school. I will share how the students and I have struggled to navigate what at first glance appear to be opposing identities – feminist and Catholic – and how we have overcome our reluctance and biases in order to embrace both as complementary and complex parts of who we are.

PRESENTER: Amanda Rosas, Spanish & Women’s Studies Teacher | Visitation School


Choice Amplifies Voice: Classes & Curriculum That Increase Engagement

When students are given the ability to make even small choices around how and what they learn, their engagement with a course or program changes in a range of positive ways. We see students work more efficiently, be driven to perform to the best of their abilities, and find space for creative exploration. When students have greater agency, they amplify their voice through deeper and more authentic engagement. Armed with this awareness, how do we leverage choice in the classroom and in the curriculum more broadly? In this session, we’ll look at both perspectives. Participants will learn how schools have increased choice in their curriculum and how they can embed choice into daily classroom routines in homework, assessment, and mastery.

PRESENTERS: Brad Rathgeber, Head of School, and Elizabeth Katz, Director of School and Student Support | One Schoolhouse


Critical Conversations and Decent Discourse: Creating Empathy through Dialogue

When students are given the ability to make even small choices around how and what they learn, their engagement with a course or program changes in a range of positive ways. We see students work more efficiently, be driven to perform to the best of their abilities, and find space for creative exploration. When students have greater agency, they amplify their voice through deeper and more authentic engagement. Armed with this awareness, how do we leverage choice in the classroom and in the curriculum more broadly? In this session, we’ll look at both perspectives. Participants will learn how schools have increased choice in their curriculum and how they can embed choice into daily classroom routines in homework, assessment, and mastery.

PRESENTERS: Claire Lorentzen, Director of Mission Engagement | Network of Sacred Heart Schools; Kelly Weber, Head of History Department | Sacred Heart Academy Bryn Mawr; Cristina Hiddleston, English/Education to Mission | Duchesne Academy; and Amanda Codina, Dean of Students | Convent of the Sacred Heart


Design and Implementation Considerations for Experiential Social Innovation Programs

Entrepreneurship education has the potential to transcend the domain of business. Entrepreneurship can be a mindset—a creative problem-solving framework applicable to many situations and opportunities—one that is fundamental to students’ long-term success in school, work, and life. Through this lens students can see opportunities where others don’t, make risk-adjusted decisions, persevere through adversity, and develop owned power by creating value for others and themselves. This workshop provides attendees with a behind the scenes look at the design and implementation considerations involved with launching an experiential social innovation program in a girls’ school environment.

PRESENTERS: Rich Sedmak, Executive Director / Founder | Schoolyard Ventures, and Justin Curtis, Senior Director of Academic and Strategic Initiatives | The Bryn Mawr School


Developing Thoughtful Learners and Leaders Through Mission-Based ePortfolios

Committed to educating the mind, soul, and spirit of girls, we embarked on an ePortfolio program encouraging teachers and students to see curriculum through the lens of our school’s mission. ePortfolios moved us from the limits of traditional content silos and challenged us to rethink curriculum and instruction. Students synthesize learning more deeply, reflect more meaningfully, and focus on school-wide priorities of Wellbeing, Diversity, and Global Competence. After sharing our process for developing a mission-based ePortfolio program, participants will examine their own school’s mission to determine the lenses through which students could reflect on demonstrations of learning at their school.

PRESENTERS: Mary Dobroth, Assistant Academic Dean; Christy Diefenderfer, Lower School Director; and Linda Baily, Chair of Computer Science | Holton-Arms School


Disrupting Gendered Mindsets: Walker’s Capabilities Approach Program

In this presentation, we introduce a curricular innovation at The Ethel Walker School that seeks to reimagine education by teaching to the whole student with her simultaneous identities fully engaged in the world. Our adaptation of the Capabilities Approach focuses on disrupting gendered mindsets by recognizing freedom and social justice as primary goals, drawing on the work of economist Amartya Sen. We see young women coming together to bolster one another while developing this constellation of capabilities within themselves to develop their full humanity. We hope to inspire lively discussion about the future of education for young women and girls.

PRESENTERS: Meera Viswanathan, Head of School; Kim Pereira, Interim Director of the Capabilities Approach Program/Grants and Foundations Officer; Chris Semk, Chair, World Languages Department and French Teacher; and Elisa Del Valle Cardona, Director of Social Justice and Inclusion | The Ethel Walker School, and Sara Minard, Adjunct Professor of Practice | Babson College


Empowering Girls Through our Strategic Vision

How should all-girls schools think about empowering girls to be trailblazers in a certainly uncertain future? Research shows that, to effectively engage and influence the changing cultural and social global landscape for women, our girls must learn to solve problems collaboratively, make connections across disciplines, and apply knowledge in real-world ways. We will share how Baldwin’s new strategic vision meets these needs by rethinking traditional academic systems and introducing new instructional models and interdisciplinary project-based programs – allowing our girls to apply their learning in authentic ways across disciplines and develop skills they’ll need in college and beyond. It’s what our girls need for their still-being-defined future.

PRESENTERS: Laura Blankenship, Assistant Head of School, and Marisa Porges, Head of School | The Baldwin School


Empowering Girls with Learning Differences

Beaumont School’s Academic Support empowers girls with special needs and learning differences for success across the college preparatory and International Baccalaureate curriculum. Girls in grades 9-12 develop organizational and study skills, time management, and self-advocacy skills to assist them to use their voice and believe in their ability to succeed. The program is designed to teach girls how to use accommodations and the best strategies to create independent thinkers and learners. Teachers learn to enlighten girls who have less confidence in their voice to understand their abilities and utilize forward-thinking.

PRESENTERS: Sue Barnett, Intervention Specialist, Department Chair Academic Support, and Kolleen Gregorio, Intervention Specialist | Beaumont School


Empowering Student Authorship Through Peer Consultancy in the Writing Center

The Saint Joseph Academy Writing Center enables writers to advocate for their authorial choices. Our student-consultant program reinforces this message by shifting students’ perceptions that teachers are the only reliable source of writing feedback. A consultation planning document allows writers to dictate the direction of their conversation, and an application process and semester-long apprenticeship establish peer consultants’ authority and furnish them with the foundational skills necessary for conducting consultations. The session will consist of an overview of program design, including application documents and training protocol, as well as a review of data-collection instruments and key metrics.

PRESENTERS: Becky McNulty, Writing Specialist; Holly Vinkovich, English Teacher; and Megan Regan, Assistant Principal | Saint Joseph Academy


Engaging and Empowering Girls Through Campus Capital Projects

Campus facility improvement projects provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to get a first-hand look at the design and construction profession and process. In support of the Foxcroft School’s mission, recent capital projects became excellent vehicles to engage girls and provide skills in powerful and relevant ways. Learn how Foxcroft, its architect, and its builder have collaborated to develop and lead a series of highly immersive classes aligned with these on-campus projects. By including students in facility design and construction, girls become contributors and stakeholders, gaining first-hand STEM and STEAM knowledge as a practical companion to their classroom instruction.

PRESENTERS: Cathy McGehee, Head of School | Foxcroft School, and Peter Winebrenner, Principal | Hord Coplan Macht Architects


Enrollment Management Planning: Myths, To-dos, and Must-haves to Make Your Work a Success!

Enrollment Management Planning in the world of an Admission and Enrollment Professional is understood to be a “must-have.” Yet an Enrollment Plan is not always a “we have.” Join AISAP’s Executive Director & CEO Janice Crampton and Director of Education and Learning Debby Murphy as they share with Admission and Enrollment professionals, and other Senior Team leaders, the five fundamental principles and the six key strategies that are mainstays of any Enrollment Plan and planning process. Participants can expect to take away the necessary knowledge to evaluate their present plan as to its appropriateness, and those who have yet to begin or are paralyzed by the potential daunting nature of “where do we start” will have a road map to take the important first steps. All educational content connects back to AISAP’s Learning and Development Framework for Admission and Enrollment Professionals.

PRESENTERS: Janice Crampton, Executive Director & CEO, and Debby Murphy, Director of Education and Learning | Association of Independent School Admission Professionals (AISAP)


Examining School Sexual Misconduct Policies, Procedures, and Practices in the #metoo Era

Join National Cathedral School’s Denise Brown-Allen, Associate Head of School/Head of Upper School, and Jessica Clark, Dean of Student Life, for a discussion on the challenges associated with drafting and implementing policies that address sexual misconduct. With the mission of empowering young women and amid the #metoo movement, the discussion will explore best practices for educating students on the appropriate boundaries for student-student and student-adult interactions. Using case studies, we will explore the challenges and opportunities provided by this work and capitalize on the wisdom of each other’s experience and expertise around these issues. We invite participants to bring their policies, scenarios, and cases to share.

PRESENTERS: Jessica Clark, Dean of Student Life, and Denise Brown-Allen, Associate Head of School/Head of Upper School | National Cathedral School


For Our Lives: Helping Girls Speak Out in the Aftermath of School Violence

After Parkland, students at Beaumont School demanded to speak out against the plague of shootings. Recognizing school violence as the life issue for young people, the school allowed students space for response, empowering them to organize protests and prayer services, encouraging them to write letters of support and advocacy, and beginning a dialogue. Guided by its mission “to educate women who will change the world”, Beaumont continues to discuss school violence through theater, producing Eric Ulloa’s docu-drama, “26 Pebbles”, about the healing of Newtown, CT, after Sandy Hook. Beaumont’s President and Drama Director will share how they encourage young women to advocate for social justice.

PRESENTERS: Kate Bernardo, Drama Director, and Wendy Hoke, President | Beaumont School


From Dreams to Beams: Transforming Priorities into Projects

The Bryn Mawr School’s strategic plan “The Bryn Mawr Way: A Contemporary Vision for What Girls Need to Thrive,” approved in 2016, builds upon the school’s powerful academic reputation and strengths, while ensuring that the school nurtures girls in every aspect of their lives. The plan supports experiences including wellness practices, leadership and scholarship opportunities, collaborative and experiential learning experiences, and a community that values and supports them. To bring the plan to life, Bryn Mawr renovated existing facilities to create inspirational spaces that encourage wellness and creativity, and that add to the daily experience for each Bryn Mawr student.

PRESENTERS: Casey Smith, Principal | Hord Coplan Macht; Sue Sadler, Head of School | The Bryn Mawr School; and Irene Knott, Vice President | The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company


From Micro to Macro: Leadership in Action!

How do you build leadership from the ground floor upwards? Learn how a (small) all-girls schools can provide unique, challenging, and rewarding opportunities for leadership that support students in developing their individual skills and in finding their voice. Leadership has become an everyday reality that drives positive change in our community—from the ground floor up!

PRESENTERS: Anna-Louise Simpson, Assistant Headmistress; Brianna Pickstone, STEAM Coordinator and a Teacher of Science and Design; Emma Burke, Director of Spiritual Life; and Ulrike Richter, Chair of Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education (PSHEE) and Teacher of Geography | Marymount London


From The Titanic to The Crown: How Scenario Planning Enabled a Support Team to “Stand up and Speak up” About Long Term Strategies

The use of scenario planning is a proven technique to enable an organisation’s strategy to incorporate a range of alternative futures. This workshop outlines how an Education Business Services Team, in conjunction with the CEO, created a set of scenarios which enabled it to adopt a more dynamic strategy and collaborate more effectively with education teams across the Trust. Participants will be able to access a series of tools to enable them to undertake their own scenarios. In addition, the will learn how to create alternative strategic options for integrating business and education planning; duild and create medium and long term scenarios; and transform a tactical, short term focused team into confident long term planners.

PRESENTER: Ian Wigston, Founder | Bright Field Consulting Ltd


Gender Inclusion: Moving from Theory to Practice at a K-8 School

To deliver on the mission to “Educate, Encourage, and Empower Girls”, Burke’s seeks to ensure that all girls can bring their full selves to school. This session will chart the path from a school-wide Strategic Plan that included diversity initiatives to a focus on gender inclusion curriculum and inclusive school practices. Participants will start to create their own “Operations Rubric” to bring back to their school to either start or continue the conversation around creating a gender-inclusive school community. Participants will come away with an example of a K-4 scope and sequence of topics and terminology for a deeper understanding of what goes into creating a gender-inclusive all-girls school.

PRESENTERS: Alice Moore, Director of Lower School, and Quise Edwards, Director of Inclusivity and Community Building | Katherine Delmar Burke School


Girls Gone Global: She Doesn’t Live Like You

In this session, the presenters will share their experience with teaching a global special studies program. This program intended to challenge Upper School students to consider their worldview and critically examine their own experience of girlhood. Taught over 8 weeks, the presenters discuss the achievement or otherwise of intended learning outcomes that sought to expose girls to the lives of others in contexts entirely different from their own. This was done with the help of virtual classroom connections, media sources, and guided conversations intended to help students develop a more culturally informed, holistic view of womanhood globally.

PRESENTERS: Alison Monzo, Director of Programs, and Manail Anis, Visiting Scholar | Center for the Advancement of Girls at The Agnes Irwin School


Girls of Color in Girls’ Schools: Critical Literacies, Resistance, and Resilience

This presentation examines the academic and developmental experiences of Black, Asian-American, and Latina girls who attend predominantly White all-girls independent schools. Based on the data collected from a pilot study at four different girls’ schools, the girls’ voices that we amplify comprise a sub-population of girls whose experiences in school continue to remain outside of the conversation among researchers and practitioners about girls’ learning and education. We will present findings that illustrate how the girls develop critical literacies which allow them to read, critique, and engage in transforming their schools into more inclusive spaces.

PRESENTERS: Charlotte Jacobs, Co-Director | Penn Independent School Teaching Residency Program, and Katie Clonan-Roy, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Foundations | Cleveland State University


GIRLS’ Day: An Opportunity for Girls to Foster their Voices

Help girls find their voices by allowing them to develop and lead workshops on topics they are passionate about. At Chatham Hall, we help girls foster their voices through our GIRLS’ Day celebration, a day that brings our entire community together to participate in student-led workshops. Hear how our school has successfully developed a program to help girls foster their voices, build self-confidence and resilience, and share their passions or explore new interests. We will share the details of the day, what goes into preparing for the workshops, what went well, and lessons learned.

PRESENTERS: Kirsten Blaesing, Associate Director of Residential Life for Student Initiatives, and Nicole Brown, Dean of Students | Chatham Hall


Heads of School Panel Discussion: Why (and How) We Prioritize Public Purpose Work

NCGS member schools are actively engaging their local, national, and global communities to provide their students with authentic learning experiences. Through a lively discussion with a panel of Heads of Schools engaged in this work, this session offers an overview of the programs they chose, how and why they chose them, why they feel this public purpose work is important for their students, and how they are making it a priority. Panelists will discuss how it adds to the overall curriculum, long term objectives and challenges, opportunities for faculty and staff professional development, and engagement of their broader school community.

PRESENTER: Kate Hurlock, Senior Director of Expansion | Horizons National


Hidden Histories: Empowering Girls With the Past

New non-fiction for elementary and middle grades uses techniques employed by Women’s History scholars to uncover the legacy—and sometimes very existence—of female leaders and innovators from our past. But exploring these titles can do more than correct historic misstatements. This panel of authors and librarians will offer an “intrepid historian’s tool chest” of research and interpretative techniques which students can use for their own projects, as well as introduce new titles featuring women whose contributions were obscured or erased, to give students a sense of heritage, belonging, and purpose, and to propel them to leadership.

PRESENTERS: Tami Lewis Brown, Author | Disney/Hyperion and Farrar, Strauss & Giroux; Lori Steel, Lower School Librarian | National Cathedral School; Debbie Loren Dunn, Author | Disney/Hyperion; and Winifred Conkling, Author | Feiwel & Friends, Algonquin


Inspiring Student Agency: Magic Sauce… or Institutional Values?

How does your school develop student agency? Our answer: values—expressed through Conversation Norms, Ethical Decision Making, and Portrait of a Graduate—create a framework which guides learning. In this session, participants will have the opportunity to discuss their own successes with inspiring student agency and will take away an understanding of how clear institutional values, internalized by faculty and students, result in student agency. Our alumnae report the ability “to take up space” and “raise their hands” in any setting. This session will help to move beyond a “magic sauce” to an articulated response of how all-girls schools inspire agency.

PRESENTERS: Jennifer Galambos, Head of School, and Julie Gentile, Director of Studies | Kent Place School


Making Creative Connections: Takeaways from 10 Years of a Signature Course

For a decade Linden Hall School has run an integrated course in the humanities anchored by a Yearlong Research Project to engage students in authentic analysis. In this session, we discuss how this program and our school community have evolved over time. How do we as teachers and role models bring in connections from multiple disciplines, collaborate, cooperate, and dissent from one another while managing the logistics of our individual courses? What connections have proved most effective for developing leadership, scholarship, and global awareness in our students? What benefits do courses and activities like these have for girls in particular?

PRESENTERS: Ligeia Jennis, History Department Chair, and Elizabeth Corlett, ESL Department Chair | Linden Hall


The McGehee Mentorship Program: Where Student Passion Drives the Bus

The McGehee Mentorship Program occurs entirely outside of the classroom. Participants are responsible, enthusiastic seniors who conduct independent work for the love of learning—student passion drives this bus. The program teaches girls to pursue subjects of personal interest with an emphasis on research and public speaking and then requires them to “defend” their research to faculty panels and make a presentation before the school community. We will share how this program has evolved to inspire deep thinking, to expose girls to the non-linear nature of research, and to build confident, scholarly leaders. Past mentorships include Rape Culture in America, Sustainability, and Rhetoric and Revolution.

PRESENTERS: Carolyn Tapp, Upper School History and Government Teacher; Catherine Cresson, Upper School Science Teacher; Noel Waddington, Upper School English Teacher; and Jessica Henricksen, College Counselor/Mentorship Coordinator | Louise S. McGehee School


Middle School Curriculum Alignment

This session will provide resources and considerations for vertically aligning a middle school history curriculum. St. Catherine’s Middle School recently realigned its curriculum to focus on students’ rights, privileges, and responsibilities as global citizens. This includes a greater emphasis on authentic experiences, diverse perspectives, civil discourse, and presentation of student views. We will tell the story of our alignment process through grade level teachers. After discussing the alignment process, each teacher will present 2-3 assignments that achieve the goals of the “Stand Up, Speak Up” conference. Alignment and lesson resources will be shared with the audience.

PRESENTERS: Rachel Smalley, Middle School History Teacher and Curriculum Coordinator; William Berry, Middle School History Teacher; Amy Blake, Middle School History Teacher; and Maggie Nunn, Middle School History Teacher | St. Catherine’s School


Middle School Philanthropy in Action

The student-run GROW Foundation at Hathaway Brown is a unique opportunity for middle school girls to engage in philanthropy. In this session, we will explain how Hathaway Brown’s middle schoolers manage our Foundation, from fundraising to volunteering at partner organizations to awarding grants every spring. We will walk attendees through the steps to establishing a Foundation, tips for guiding students through the complex proposal review process, and potential obstacles to working within an independent school.

PRESENTERS: Lauren Harlow, GROW Foundation Faculty Advisor, and Jennifer Oakley, GROW Foundation Faculty Advisor | Hathaway Brown School


Naming and Renaming Feminism in Girls’ Schools

What assumptions do our girls’ schools make about what an “empowered female” is? Which of these assumptions need to be re-examined, questioned, or updated? Are there, ironically, ways in which feminism itself can be a blind spot in girls’ schools? Through a consideration of recent writings from Rebecca Traister, Ruth Whippman, Ijeoma Oluo, and Lisa Damour, this workshop will give girls’ school educators an opportunity to critically examine feminist tropes in our schools, how current they are, and the degree to which our concepts of feminism allow girls to bring their full selves to school. We may also consider what power, if any, girls’ schools have in addressing more systemic change on the male side.

PRESENTERS: Andrea Kassar, Head of Upper School, and Paul Burke, Head of School | The Nightingale-Bamford School


Nourish, Flourish, Thrive: Effective Boards that Work to Empower Girls’ Schools

Empowered schools need empowered Boards. Join members of Little Flower Catholic High School’s board as they share their experiences about moving away from business as usual to business as possible and learning to lead by letting go. Hear how a young Board learned to navigate transition, embrace new leadership, and join forces to model what women’s empowerment looks like in terms of both Speaking up and Speaking Out. The session will include strategies of how board members can comfortably move away from the operational side of the house and instead focus their energies on mission advancement. This proven recipe has allowed Little Flower to boast its place as the top fundraising high school in the Philadelphia Archdiocese with the largest alumnae giving base of any private Catholic school in southeastern Pennsylvania.

PRESENTERS: Jeane McNamara, President | Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls; Kassie Bauman, Managing Director | PwC and LFCHS Board Enrollment Chair and LFCHS Alumna ’95; and Katie Schmidt, Director of Clinical Studies/Neonatology | Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and LFCHS Board Executive Committee Secretary, Enrollment Committee Member, and LFCHS Alumna ’02


Partnering with Purpose: Looking Beyond Your Campus to Advance Girls

If we want to advance girls, especially in those industries in which they are still underrepresented, we need to look beyond our campuses to supplement resources. In this session, we will explore research that illustrates the benefits of strategic partnerships for girls, especially to cultivate their sense of purpose and mitigate achievement pressure. This session includes practical strategies that teachers and school leaders can implement to create messaging for prospective partners and identify and secure opportunities for their students. Finally, we will share how to conduct a school-wide needs audit and create a system of prioritizing partners to maximize resources.

PRESENTERS: Bridgette Ouimette, Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives, and Dr. Lauren Lek, Head of School | Academy of Our Lady of Peace


Promoting Active Citizenship and Civil Dialogue Schoolwide and Beyond

We will discuss Harpeth Hall’s recent formation of a Center for Civic Engagement in an era of increasing political polarization. Our mission is to prepare young women for civil, informed, and deliberative discourse in the public sphere and to empower our students to be active and informed citizens, to engage thoughtfully with public and private institutions, and to appreciate—through action and reflection—what is required for civil societies to thrive. We will discuss how our center came about as well as its impact on our curriculum and school culture.

PRESENTERS: Joe Croker, Instructor of English and Graphic Design; Bonnie Moses, History and AP Government Instructor; and Adam Wilsman, AP World History Instructor and Assistant Dean for Academic Advising | The Harpeth Hall School


Protecting Their Voices: Educating Girls About Relationships, Consent, and Agency

As reports of sexual harassment permeate social media and conventional media headlines, schools play an essential role in teaching students about agency, consent and respectful relationships. In this interactive workshop, we will look at how we protect and honor the voices of young girls. We will have a deep dive into the intersection between implicit bias among adults and creating a space of affirmation for our girls of color. Simultaneously, we will explore the legal perspective on an institution’s legal responsibility around consent and protecting the space of our girls.

PRESENTERS: Matthew Batastini, Managing Partner | Schwartz Hannum PC, and Jadihel Taveras, Head of School | Esperanza Academy


Ready to Launch: The Five Elements You Must Consider to Prepare for Your Most Successful Campaign Ever

If it seems like more organizations than ever are running fundraising campaigns, it’s because they are. In recent years, nearly half of nonprofits nationwide reported they had been in a capital or special campaign within the last six months, and 30 percent report that they’re planning one. Is your School eager to join these ranks? What elements are required to launch a successful and rewarding effort for staff, leadership, and donors alike? And what could happen when appropriate planning and investment does not take place? This talk will share the five elements needed to help your vision for your School become fully realized: your case, leadership, plan, prospects, and resources. It will walk participants through all considerations needed for a successful start—and ways to best prepare if you are still evaluating your readiness to take the leap into a campaign.

PRESENTER: Elizabeth Zeigler, President and CEO | Graham-Pelton


Seeking a Balance Between Dissent, Discourse, and Empowerment on Global Programs

During off-campus programs we often ask students to “lean into discomfort”, “stretch themselves”, and “challenge what they think they know”. Faced with expanding their global perspectives, students often leave these global programs with new visions for their future and a better understanding of their past. We tell our students to not simply strive to shatter the so-called “glass ceiling”, but actively work to dismantle the structures that support its existence. What happens when this starts to happen or when students perceive to be in the “right”? Using real case studies, curricular frameworks, and student reflections, educators will be asked to assess how their program design and philosophy can enable or inhibit healthy dissent and civil discourse for their female participants.

PRESENTERS: Barret Fabris, Director of the Center for Justice, Peace and Global Citizenship | Lincoln School, and Erin Hawk, Executive Director | World Leadership School


Selecting and Supporting Exemplary Leaders of All-Girls’ Public Schools

Leading a school, especially an all-girls’ public school serving historically marginalized populations, is among the hardest jobs imaginable. Student Leadership Network powers five high-performing all-girls’ secondary schools in NYC in partnership with the Department of Education, and also supports an Affiliate Network including 16 schools around the country.  This session will offer takeaways from our successful methods for combining the strengths of our public/private partnership to both select and train candidates, and ultimately empower them to lead their schools as their own implementation of a tested model. We take a “whole leader” approach that relies on critical supports to sustain leaders through the challenges that arise in a school year.

PRESENTERS: Sarah Boldin, Director of Leadership and New School Development; Laura Rebell Gross, Managing Director of Young Women’s Leadership Network; and Michell Tollinchi-Michel, Managing Director of The Young Women’s Leadership Schools | Student Leadership Network


Shaped by Girls’ Schools: Two Generations Teaching Girls to Use Their Voices

Join us in a conversation about what it’s like for a white mother and daughter who attended girls’ schools to share their experiences of teaching in all-girls schools. How have girls’ schools shaped our understanding of voice? How do we seek to empower all the girls in our care, understanding the limits of our whiteness in cultivating the many voices in our classrooms? Additionally, how might the passage of the 19th Amendment offer a window into our girls’ understanding of women’s voices? Bring your thoughts about how to encourage civil discourse against the backdrop of the upcoming US presidential election.

PRESENTERS: Ann Klotz, Headmistress | Laurel School, and Miranda Orbach, Class 2 Head Teacher | The Chapin School


Sticker Shock and Accessibility: Rethinking Traditional Tuition Pricing Models

We’ve all been in that conversation. You’re singing the praises of your school and get asked, “Yeah, but what’s the tuition?” You hesitate before confessing the cost. Or maybe you say, “Lots of kids get financial aid…”. You leave, not sure if you’ve said the right thing. There’s a better way. We will share how we transitioned from a traditional financial aid model to Tailored Tuition, Ellis’ new affordability initiative. Join us to learn how to change the conversation about tuition in order to make your school more accessible to best-fit families in today’s political, cultural, and social landscape.

PRESENTERS: Diana Hurd, Director of Marketing and Communications, and Bayh Sullivan, Director of Enrollment Management |  The Ellis School


Strengthening Voices, Creating Communities: An SEL and Arts Integrated Approach

Global Village Project, a middle school for refugee girls with interrupted education, holds social and emotional (SEL) learning as equally important as academic learning. This session highlights GVP’s SEL program that incorporates the arts and trauma-informed and restorative practices. Some major components of GVP’s SEL program are: weekly group drama and counseling classes, rotating classes focusing on women’s health, physical and emotional wellness, and daily small and whole group restorative circles. The GVP approach emphasizes connections with a focus on relationships, an environment of safety and trust, and respect for the inherent dignity, strengths, and worth of each student.

PRESENTERS: Cassie Leymarie, Curriculum & Assessment Coordinator; Amy Pelissero, Head of School; Kimberli Render, Arts Coordinator; and Katelynn Villari, School Counselor, SEL Coordinator, LCSW | Global Village Project


Student Panel on Establishing a Positive Digital Presence

This joint panel of students from Our Lady of Mercy Academy and Trinity Hall will explore ways that students use their voices through their online media platforms. A focus of he discussion will be on establishing a positive digital presence and shaping that digital presence for future endeavors and employment. This process is as much about self-discovery as it is about communicating individuality. Teaching high school students to take control of their personal brand now will help them in building a reputation they can be proud of.  Topics to be addressed include clearly expressing values, building students’ awareness of how they might “come across” online, and understanding what your digital footprint might say about you.

PRESENTERS: Brooke Coyle, Head of School | Our Lady of Mercy Academy, and Melissa Whelan, Dean for Student Life | Trinity Hall


Student Voice at the Center of a Revitalization of School Mission

Learn about one all-girls school’s journey to put the development of strong student voices at the center of its mission. We’ll share the story of how our prekindergarten through grade 12 school community came together to reimagine our mission and vision, how and why student voice became a central focus, and how that decision has rippled throughout our school community, curriculum, and classroom practice. We’ll discuss the challenges of shifting school culture, and practical strategies for succeeding in doing so.

PRESENTERS: Macon Finley, Head of School; Michelle Rust, Middle School Division Head; and Ann Martino, Lower School Division Head | The Ellis School


Student Workshops as Key Tools for Admissions, Enrollment Management, and Campus Advancement

Enrolling and retaining mission-fit students is a fundamental priority for all of our schools. In a market in which our biggest competitors are tuition-free schools, Trinity Hall levels the competition by hosting several workshop activities a year, cultivating potential students. These workshops are led by current students, giving them opportunity for leadership and personal pride. It gives academic faculty autonomy to design a workshop that advances the school’s mission through the lens of their discipline. Finally, it offers a relevant, powerful story to tell the school community and beyond, with the mission at the core of every workshop’s design.

PRESENTERS: Theresa Kiernan, Director of Advancement and Admission, and Mary Sciarrillo, Head of School | Trinity Hall


Student-run Workshops that Build Life Skills and Cultivate Habits of Leadership

Learn from adults responsible for leadership training at Culver Girls Academy where student-led workshops are designed to increase self-awareness, build self-confidence, and develop one’s voice. The training strives to foster a sense of connectedness and appreciation for the collective good, empower young women to make a difference in the lives of others, and establish a solid foundation for leadership in the global world. This session will share examples of lesson plans, hands on activities, and strategies to engage students for future leadership roles through workshops on topics including proposal development, goal setting, facilitation, strengths, and many more.

PRESENTERS: Angie Strobel, CGA Residential Education Team Leader, and Nancy McKinnis, Master Instructor, Leadership Education | Culver Girls Academy


Supporting the Development of Women in Leadership Roles

Are you a lead teacher, department head, or senior administrator who wants to explore career opportunities? Do you want to know how to develop your own strengths and then market yourself for a compelling leadership opportunity? This session will help you learn more about your strengths as an educational leader and how those strengths can be leveraged. Dr. Karen Neitzel, Search Consultant for Carney, Sandoe & Associates, will guide you through this process of self-discovery and provide concrete tools and examples to help you as you navigate the next steps of your career path.

PRESENTERS: Karen Neitzel, Search Consultant, and Barbara Daush, Senior Consultant | Carney, Sandoe & Associates, and Laura Farrell, Head of School | Merion Mercy Academy


Using Your Development Department as a Classroom: Empowering Students to Catalyze Your Philanthropy Program

We encourage our girls to be innovators, change makers, and pioneers; however, often the onus to make their visions a reality falls to the Advancement Department, which leaves student voice out of the process of solidifying capital. In this session, we will explore the myriad ways to integrate student voice into Advancement practices to develop the female philanthropic mindset and establish skills in fundraising. We’ll discuss win-win methodologies to ensure students are participants in fundraising efforts that benefit not only your annual fund and programs but will teach girls the fundamentals to empower them to build revenue in future endeavors.

PRESENTERS: Stephanie Kanaski, Director of Institutional Advancement, and Kaila Weedman, Associate Director of Annual Giving | Academy of Our Lady of Peace


Wathint’ Abafazi, Wathint’ Imbokodo: You Strike the Women, You Strike the Rock!

This session will offer insights into how we create opportunities that engage young women and empower them to enact their goals for the betterment of society. The analogy of Wathint’ Abafazi Wathint’ Imbokodo serves as a tool in teaching high school girls that they can be agents of change. Reflecting on initiatives such as our GIRLS Committee (Get Involved Reflect Learn Seminars) and Maxeke-Mgqwetho Annual Lecture, we shall share our experience of the wonders and challenges of fostering sisterhood and female leadership. Takeaways also include resource packs and feedback from past students, each with the goal of facilitating female upliftment.

PRESENTERS: Tinhiko Nkuna, Deputy Head, and Alison Andrew, History Head of Department | St Mary’s School, Waverley-South Africa


You Can Stop Raising Your Hand: Redefining Participation and Voice to Build Collaborative Classrooms

In this workshop, we will dismantle the traditional modes of assessing participation in an effort to redefine voice in today’s classrooms. We will explore essential questions such as:  How do we redefine voice to value the strengths of each student and allow for individual growth? How can we use conferencing and assessment as ways for girls to explore expressions of voice? How can teachers encourage students to see voice as collaborative rather than competitive? How can we move participation assessments to value quality over quantity? This workshop will engage participants in rethinking voice and participation; we will begin to build assessment models that encourage student voice in classrooms of every discipline. Our goal is for teachers to reimagine voice as a pathway toward establishing collaborative, inclusive, engaged classrooms.

PRESENTERS: Rebecca Cook-Dubin, English Department Chair, and Monica Kirschmann, English Teacher | Miss Hall’s School


Youth Engagement: Leadership through Global Citizenship

The Leadership Committee for Africa (LCA) is a student-run, non-profit organization working towards a better future for women and children in Africa. LCA collaborates with Culver Girls Academy on service-learning trips to Tanzania and South Africa. In 2021, we will travel to visit our partner school, Christel House South Africa. Our central plan is to design, lead, and participate in leadership workshops. In addition, we will organize a drive to collect donations of items necessary for students to go to school. Join us to hear about how we will use the Moulton Grant to support this trip.

PRESENTERS: Angie Strobel, CGA Residential Education Team Leader, Student Life; Brianna Small, Class of 2022; Maddy Taylor, Class of 2022; Katherine Beeson, Class of 2022; and Maya Jyothinagaram, Class of 2022 | Culver Girls Academy/Culver Academies


YPAR (Youth Participatory Action Research) Project: Asian and Asian-American Students’ Sense of Belonging at a U.S. Boarding School

“Belonging” is an important aspect of boarding school life, and all-girls schools celebrate the “sisterhood” students experience. But what are the experiences of our Asian and Asian-American students around sisterhood and belonging? What are we missing? This presentation focuses on how Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) conducted by students at our school shed light on these questions and informed our next steps. We will share the arc of our three-year research project, from topic selection through developing recommendations for our school’s leadership. We will also share resources and lessons learned for establishing a successful YPAR program based on our school’s ten years of experience with the format.

PRESENTER: Jessica Watkin, Academic Dean | Miss Porter’s School