2017 NCGS Conference - INSPIRE!

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INSPIRE! Sessions are comprised of two back-to-back 27-minute long discussions conducted in an intimate, roundtable-style format.

Creativity in Community Partnerships Creates Innovation for Schools


PRESENTERS: Catherine O'Sullivan, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Pathways & Partnerships | Bond University (AUS)

Description TBA.

Inspiring Girls to Commit to a Lifelong Journey of Personal Growth… Online!

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Mary Ellis, Curriculum Developer/Teacher | Think with Heart (VA) and Ace Ellis, CFO | Woodberry Forest School (VA)

In this session, presenters will share what they’ve learned through piloting an online curriculum for 9th-11th grade girls focused on strengthening “non-IQ skills.” With well-being at the core, the 3-course program is designed to enhance human connections, self-awareness, and resilience. Attendees will explore the unique advantages the online venue offers for facilitating social and emotional learning through a reflection-oriented, peer-to-peer, discussion-based design.

Senior Projects - Making Them a Tool for Legacy, Change, and Innovation

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Christopher Lynch, Upper School Division Director | The Holton-Arms School (MD)

How can schools use their senior projects and their students' good thinking to help make new and innovative programs for the community? The session will show how Holton-Arms allows students (seniors) the power to help create new programs, such as retreats, leadership seminars, and classes in a wide range of areas. In addition, it will provide a framework for how Holton-Arms provides opportunities for students to leave their legacy while implementing meaningful programs aimed at the school's strategic plan.

Empowering Savvy Digital Citizens

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Shauna Callaghan, Associate Director of Academic Technology | Marlborough School (CA)

Experience Marlborough School's Digital Citizenship Project as a middle school student. Participants will immerse themselves in resources that empower students to become savvy digital citizens and to create a positive digital presence. Engaging with FlipGrid video reflections, Common Sense Media's Digital Compass Game, social media literacy activities, and mindful technology practices will give participants tools that can be adapted to support diverse curricula. The session will also showcase student work that demonstrates how this innovative, exploratory, project-based curriculum cultivates leadership, communication, and collaboration skills in our digital landscape.

Realizing We Need to Educate "The Person" to Face Her and Her Society's Challenges

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Lucia Calvo, Head of School| Colegio Los Tilos (Spain)

It is a fact that families, teachers and actual schools are educating the women of tomorrow with today's tools. A “tomorrow” with unknown -- and most certainly unbelievable -- challenges which each one of our students will have to face and overcome with knowledge; with intelligence (however multiple it may be); through collaborative work; with independence of thought; with resilience; and different other attitudes all related to personal development. The specific step-by-step program of Colegio Los Tilos has been developed to help each girl to grow in their own personality and to achieve self-assertiveness, maturity, and “know how”. In our approach the involvement of the family is essential. Home and school must walk side by side for the good of the daughter/student. We will explain our “circle of innovation” of how we educate our students as people who will have to face and overcome unknown future challenges and those who will have the betterment of the world in their hands.


DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Jacqueline Magurren, Deputy Principal Pastoral Care and Nicole Christensen, Principal | Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College (AUS)

SELF GROWTH is an acronym which stands for Social Emotional Learning Framework – Goals, Relationships, Organization, Wellness, Transition, Humanity. This program is designed to firstly target staff and their professional development and understanding of a persons wellbeing. Then, how this understanding can translate, impact and support a student in their classroom learning and growth mindset.  It is a holistic program touching on the six key pillars of GROWTH for each group of students, age and stage specific, with an overarching framework of social emotional learning for all.


DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Joan Paster, Upper School Dean, Teacher of History and Nicole Johnston, Upper School History Teacher | Oak Knoll School (NJ)

Engage your students fully in United States history. Hear how students take ownership of their own learning without a textbook. Researching the web enables students to be exposed to different types of sources, different points of view and different quality of sources. Discussions are thus lively, analytical, and engaging. Learn about our thematic, student inquiry course which approaches each theme with investigation of the present, then goes back in time to construct its evolution. Share in our enthusiasm for the heightened student engagement this course has generated. Students, parents, even college admissions officials applaud this combination of skills development with independent inquiry.

Using an Innovation Panel to Build Cross Curricular and Cross Division Growth

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Mimi Odem, Admissions Director, Curriculum Coordinator| Louise S. McGehee School (LA)

In this session we will explain how we created an innovation panel, using our technology and admissions teams to share all the innovative practices going on in our PK through 12th grade classrooms. The goal with this practice is to build awareness, bridges and collaboration across curriculum and age levels -- and to spread innovative ideas!

Visionaria for Schools: Engaging and Monitoring Girls' Growth as Social Innovators

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Paul Spurzem, Executive Director and Genevieve Smith, Program Strategy | Visionaria Network (CA, Peru)

Visionaria Network’s programming for public and private schools in Peru includes: (1) classroom curriculum that builds personal agency, and (2) real-world social innovation projects to tackle sustainable development issues in collaboration with local experts and authorities. The session will explore and inspire discussion around: (1) the Visionaria model and history (why and how to engage girls as social innovators) and (2) M&E tools and priorities for students, teachers, and administrators.

Bringing Out of School Techniques to In-School Science Settings

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Meeta Sharma-Holt, Vice President, Programs and Strategic Partnerships| Techbridge Girls (DC) and Nikole Collins-Puri, CEO | Techbridge Girls (CA)

Techbridge Girls inspires girls of color from underserved communities to STEM careers. We have scaled to four U.S. cities because of our programmatic impact and a grant from the National Science Foundation. The lessons learned along the way will be shared in this this session and participants will use hands-on science activities to practice youth development principals, and encourage growth mindset and inquiry – all hallmarks of high quality STEM education in the informal space. Now school professionals will understand how to bring these techniques and approaches into their classroom, to achieve higher results from in-school science instruction.

Bringing Past Communities to the Present

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Kim Green, Third Grade Teacher and Karen Yusko, Third Grade Teacher | Laurel School (OH)

During our local community unit, we study the Shakers, the group of people who settled in the city in which our school is located. We were challenged to create a more immersive experience using our school’s second campus. In collaboration with specialist teachers, we created authentic Shaker experiences. Girls experienced sewing, candle making, cooking, woodworking, and tinsmithing in order to better understand life as a Shaker. Through this intensive study, girls developed a greater understanding, not only of this community, but of perseverance and resilience in the face of new challenges.

Building Sisterhood: Practices in Developing Intentional Relationships

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Lauren Rogers, Dean of Students and Lisa Pence, Head of School | Salem Academy (NC)

Eager to diminish tensions between grade-levels? Do you want to affirm healthy group identities to build a more dynamic and inclusive community on campus? Join us to discuss ways to develop meaningful relationships on and off campus.

Creating a Culture of Confidence Through Entrepreneurial Thinking

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Leslie Coles, Program Manager and Cristal Glangchai, Founder/CEO | VentureLab (TX)

Beyond providing engaging and high-quality curriculum, girls’ learning and success requires us to actively reframe societal cues and break patterns that discourage girls. Session participants will discuss and brainstorm school-wide strategies for overcoming confidence barriers so many girls face. We will share examples of how incorporating an entrepreneurial mindset (e.g promoting failure as an opportunity for learning) into a school culture can build girls’ confidence, creativity, and self-efficacy. An interactive activity will help participants understand the entrepreneurial mindset from a student’s perspective and its potential for increasing girls’ confidence.

The Creative Use of Sports as a Vehicle for Science Learning

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Penny Hammrich, Professor; Leona Donaldson, PhD Student; and Jonan Donaldson, PhD Student | Drexel University (PA)

This session will describe the sport science program designed for middle school girls. This program demonstrates that through the vehicle of sports, girls are not only learning the underlying principles of science embedded in performing the sport, but they are also learning the scientific principles in an atmosphere that embraces the psycho-socio-creative-emotional connection to learning. The program responds to the call for creating innovative programs that provide access to cutting-edge strategies in promoting science literacy. The specific goal is to engage girls in a culture of creative science learning through the vehicle of sports. Takeaways include ideas and sample lessons.

Global Science: Where Culture, Geography, and Life Science Intersect in 6th Grade

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Trish King, History & Social Science Teacher and Kipton Tugman, Science Teacher | Girls Preparatory School (TN)

Investigation, Reflection, and Cooperation are only some of the words that can describe this fusion of separate science and social studies courses. Using the medium of several interdisciplinary experiences, we will share our progress and achievements using visible thinking, project-based learning, inquiry, and Human-Centered Design – while meeting our departmental and grade level skills and content goals. This presentation will include protocols and essential questions for teacher planning as well as classroom activities for learners. Additionally, we will also share the kick-off activity which brought all the stakeholders at Girls Preparatory School together to introduce our girls to the history and culture of their school.

Harnessing the Power of Pop Culture & Social Media to Build Creative Skill Sets

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Kimberly Wolf, Chief Education Officer | Girlmentum Media (TX)

Today’s girls are true digital natives. While the volume and nature of the content they consume can be concerning, it also provides us with endless opportunities to engage them. In this session, participants will learn how themes from pop culture – including celebrity, fashion, and marketing – can be applied in academic contexts to increase media literacy, enhance creative skills, encourage social connection, and heighten awareness of related career options. Participants will also leave with strategies for staying on top of media trends and incorporating students’ favorite topics into programming.

Igniting 21st-Century Learning Through Viral Rumors

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Darragh Worland, Vice President for Digital Media | The News Literacy Project (MD)

The growth of viral rumors and fake news in today’s rapidly evolving information ecosystem presents adults and young people with an enormous challenge in identifying what to believe. Educators are grappling with how to tackle the subject with students head-on. In this session, led by the News Literacy Project (NLP), educators will learn how to use real-world examples of viral rumors to transform this challenge into an opportunity to unleash civic learning and engagement in the classroom. NLP is an innovative education non-profit that equips students with essential critical-thinking skills to determine what information to believe, share and act on.

The Making of a District-wide Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Plan

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Courtney Portlock, Head of Upper School | Stuart Country Day School (NJ) and John Steele, Founding Member and Senior Associate | The Diversity Quotient, LLC (NJ)

Coalition building around diversity, equity, and inclusion is difficult. Emotions, politics, ignorance, opinion, and inertia combine into a perfect storm that can leave even the most passionate advocates at a loss for how to proceed. In this workshop, we outline what steps to follow to build momentum in this task, from assessment of community values to goal setting to strategy implementation. We also discuss some of the real-world successes and challenges that both public and independent schools have faced when pursuing these goals.

The Moral Imperative of School Partnership and Community Engagement Programs in our Schools

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Blake Kohn, Executive Director| National Network of Schools in Partnership (DC)

Service to the community can be found in all shapes and sizes at different schools. Those that are authentic and meaningful are programs that not only reflect the mission of the school but provide real-life learning opportunities for their students. Changes in the college application process, the student transcript as well as the increasing divide in our country create a moral imperative for schools to transform their community service programs to ones of community engagement based on reciprocal, sustainable and institutionally driven relationships. Hear from Blake Kohn, Executive Director of the National Network of Schools in Partnership, on examples of best practices of this work from across the country, strategies to make these programs curricular rather than co-curricular, and ideas how to begin to transform the programs of your school to ensure you are providing your students with the skills necessary to succeed in college and in life.

One Front Door: From Summer Camp to Applicant

DATE/TIME: Monday, June 26, 9:30 AM-10:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Julie Clancy, Director of Admissions| Emma Willard School (NY)

Emma Willard School's signature summer camp, GirlSummer, is a two- and four- week day and boarding camp offering girls the opportunity to explore, play, and learn in a distinctive, deeply personalized environment. Perhaps most interesting is that GirlSummer is directed by Emma's Director of Admissions. Indeed, we have one front door to admission at Emma. In this presentation, the Director of Admissions, will discuss the benefits, opportunities, projections, and lessons learned in growing this model.

Promoting Health and Wellness through Peer Educators

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Kathleen Goodman, Director of Learning Services| Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart (WA)

As educators in girls’ schools, we know the importance of teaching about balance and wellness. In the past, that programming has come from the adults. We invite participants to hear how the role of peer educators is transforming the culture of health and wellness by having the girls take the lead. With training and support from faculty sponsors, peer educators are promoting the education and awareness of critical issues to their peers in ways that are creative, empathetic, and empowering.

The Real World Relevance of Math and Science

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Jessica Baker, Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Kaitlyn Delatte, Math Teacher | Ursuline Academy of New Orleans (LA)

This session will outline the development and implementation of a cross curricular project focused on the development, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer utilizing biology I and algebra II content standards. The presentation will highlight ways to frame traditional content knowledge in ways that help students make connections between various disciplines, while also investigating topics that have relevance to their real life experiences. Examples of student work, assessments, and project reflections will be provided.

Inspiring Creativity Through Game Design & Coding

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Idit Harel, CEO| Globaloria (NY) and Morgan Markbreiter, Lead Educator | Jefferson Middle School (DC)

Creating games using an engineering design process not only changes the way students approach learning but it also puts them in touch with their own creative power. This is especially important for girls as they develop ideas about their identity as learners and leaders. Taking an idea from concept to a working digital product requires creativity, problem solving and persistence. Explore hands-on models to empower middle and high school girls as game developers from educators in Washington, DC, and NYC. Hear how girls are engaging with their own creative potential and seeing themselves as entrepreneurs, designers and computer scientists.

How to Combat the "Kardashian Nation"

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Patsy Mangas, CEO| She Rocks the World (VA) and Dr. Amy Parks, Psychologist | The Wise Family, LLC (VA)

Educators know that the feedback teenage girls pay attention to on a daily basis comes from their peers. And if peers are weak in social, emotional and leadership skills, our girls turn to Instagram and YouTube for role models to emulate. Through implicit teaching, peer-supported practice and strong female mentorship, the She Rocks the World program strives to challenge this trend. Our programs empower teenage girls to grow their social, emotional, and leadership EQ – Emotional Quotient – so they can Rock the World in their own ways! This workshop will share the vision of the She Rocks the World program, highlight our leadership curriculum created for girls just like yours, and explore ways that your school and staff can be the change for girls worldwide!

Every Girl an Innovator

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: John Ball, Teacher| Emma Willard School (NY)

Successful innovators build prototypes, test them carefully, and then modify their designs based on what they learn. Thus, “teaching innovation” really means teaching how to experiment purposefully. With this in mind, we revised out 9th grade science program to provide 50 different lab experiences so our girls become confident and skillful experimenters. In our session, we will discuss both the thinking behind our program as well as well as how to make such an ambitious program run in your school.  Let’s explore how to make every girl an innovator!

Four Year High School Academic Planning: A Connection to Your Future Success

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Erin Chamberlain, School Counselor| Lauralton Hall (CT)

The Four Year Academic Planning freshman seminar addresses the need for students to engage in the college process in a developmentally appropriate manner beginning in 9th grade. This presentation will mirror some of the interactive activities of the seminar highlighting the reduction of stress and fear of the unknown for students engaging in the college and career process. It will show that using tools such as games and role-play help students make important connections between their academics and course selections, and their future college and career goals. Five lesson plans will be reviewed and opportunities for differentiation will be demonstrated.

Girl-Centered Innovation: A Latin Story

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Ralph Covino, Class Dean| Girls Preparatory School (TN)

Directives to innovate, to renew and refresh curricula in light of new research findings or technology, abound. We are often asked to make lessons more meaningful, more relevant, and -- especially in the all-girl environment -- to make them more girl-centered. But what if there is little to nothing in the literature to act as guide? This session examines one teacher’s departure from approaches to teaching and learning rooted in the most masculine of pedagogical traditions (Latin!) through to the adoption of a more girl-centered style whose methodology is more firmly planted in the literature about how girls learn today.

Girls Solving Real Social Issues

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Catherine O'Kane, Principal | All Hallows' School (AUS)

In response to social issues increasingly faced by our young women, including social media issues, the impact of pornography on relationships, rising rates of mental health issues, family violence and the impact of drugs and alcohol, we have developed a Student Social Issues team who will work with senior and middle leadership staff to design, implement and evaluate initiatives within our school to address these complex issues. This innovation, which uses student voice to inform the design and delivery of both curricular and co-curricular learning experiences, seeks to empower our young women to lead change in the messages we give to our girls and also to lead change in wider society in the place of women. Examples provided will include the running of an "Say no to violence" forum, our student's response to our being named in an online pornography ring ( and ongoing leadership projects in which our senior students present to middle school students regarding online communication.

Global Links -- Raising Globally Competent Girls

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Karyn Murray, Head of Global Links Program| Strathcona BGGS (AUS)

This session will explore the innovative thinking and programming behind the new Strathcona Global Links program which has seen a move away from a traditional "trips' program for only a relative few students to an all-inclusive, immersive, multi-dimensional program to ensure that all students are globally competent, connected and culturally aware. Whilst tours and exchanges still occur, they are not the "one-size-fits-all" tours of the past, but carefully considered learning journeys for the participants.

Walk of Awareness: Building Capacity for Social Responsibility

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Katherine Jackson, Director of Student Life and Leadership Programs and Jennifer Rundles, Associate Dean of Students/Science Instructor | Saint Mary's School (NC)

In a selfie generation, explore how we can position youth to lead from the "we,'" not "me" perspective. In this interactive workshop, we will highlight how we modified the collegiate model of Tunnel of Oppression to become the Walk of Awareness to fit the developmental level of sophomore students. Learn how to leverage local organizations and universities to tackle relevant social issues in partnership with your school. Students will develop skills to engage their school and outside community in the discussion of social responsibility.

The Sharing Economy and School -- Are Schools Businesses?

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Urvi Morrison, CEO | Strategic EdTech (SET) (MD)

“In what is called collaborative consumption, the sharing economy or the peer economy, owners rent out something they are not using, such as a car, house or bike to a stranger using these peer-to-peer services.” Companies such as Uber and Airbnb demonstrate that the sharing economy has great benefits to both owners and renters. This begs the question: can schools join the sharing economy? Educational organizations have three large components that they can utilize that propel them to be both good for their students and effective businesses through the tenets of the sharing economy. Find out how your school can maximize its potential through unique and innovative service offerings that benefit students, parents, and the greater community beyond the classroom.

Teaching at the Intersection: How students are Experiencing Contemporary Art through Social Media and Popular Culture

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Tim Lewis, Art Teacher/Department Chair of Visual and Performing Arts| Alverno Heights Academy (CA)

To innovate is to transform, a phenomenon that marks a distinct generational shift in the way my students are discovering and experiencing art. While teaching art in an all-girls secondary setting for nearly two decades, a striking pattern has emerged at the intersection of contemporary art, social media, and popular culture. This presentation will center on the changing ways our students are experiencing art in this cultural shift. Attendees will engage in this conversation and leave with applicable classroom strategies that attempt to unpack the “popular” in art, all while investigating the boundaries between contemporary art and its new audience.

The Sacred Beltway: Religious Studies From The Ground Up

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Justin Maaia, Religious Studies Teacher| National Cathedral School (DC)

Through our capstone project, “The Sacred Beltway,” students learn about religious communities by doing firsthand fieldwork while also gaining widely applicable real-world skills and confidence in the process. After doing some bibliographical research, each student engages in a phenomenological site visit, constructs a photographic portfolio with detailed captions, and conducts interviews with two members of their chosen community. This research is then uploaded to a website where students can experiment with form as well as content. Websites are then linked to a Google Map representing all of the religious communities in the Greater Washington Area, creating a resource for anyone wishing to learn more about religions from the people who practice them.

Making “Making” Work: Engaging Learners and Industry Partners in Maker Space Development

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Cristina "Indo" Ibañez, Innovation Resource Manager | Miriam College (Philippines)

The session narrates the development of the Philippines’ first integrated makerspace, the Miriam College – Henry Sy, Sr. Innovation Center. It is rooted in the vision of integrating innovation across the curriculum through DREAMS – Design, Robotics, Engineering/Entrepreneurship, Arts, Mathematics, and Social Responsibility. It focused on how the facility has built and expanded its programs, policies, processes, and physical plant through strategic industry partnerships that guarantee its quality, relevance, and sustainability. More importantly, it illustrates how learners from various levels were involved in the development process. Thus, the presentation hopes to inspire other schools as they prepare their respective makerspace development roadmaps.

Middle School Electives: Inspiring Curiosity and Engagement

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, June 27, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM

PRESENTERS: Whitney Price, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Assistant Middle School Head, and Montanna Wilson, Middle School Head | St. Paul's School for Girls (SPSG)

Providing middle school students with choice in their education has proven to be effective in increasing engagement, encouraging positive risk taking, identifying interests and pursuing passions. By integrating interdisciplinary electives such as Social Justice, Urban Planning, Local Gardening and Global Agriculture, and Woodworking, students and faculty are stretched to think beyond traditional offerings and teaching methods. Join us to hear about buy-in, challenges, and successes in the implementation and growth of the program, which involves mixed-grade classes, non-graded work, and real world application.