We recently caught up with Megan Murphy, the Executive Director of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools after she visited the Oak Knoll School campus earlier this fall. Here, she talks about issues facing girls’ schools, her hope for empowering girls’ voices and girls' school misconceptions.
While sitting on the beach last summer, I watched my 5-year-old goddaughter walk over to a little girl she did not know, introduce herself, and ask her to play. Two girls, who never met, becoming fast friends. They would spend the day building sandcastles, sharing snacks, and running in and out of the ocean – not thinking twice about the waves that towered over them. Most likely this is a common story experienced by many beach-goers. Insert a middle school girl into this picture, and the story line completely changes. The middle school girl will never make that initial introduction and will not run in and out of the ocean carefree. Why? Because all those initiatives we easily took when we were young, involve taking a risk. Girls’ capacity to take risks diminishes as they grow older starting around their middle school years.
Let’s face it, middle school and high school can be a challenging time. You're trying to figure out who you are and how you fit into the world around you. While we strongly recommend boys and girls learn together during their younger, more impressionable years, going to an all-girls' school during middle and high school helps girls focus more on who they want to become and what their strengths are.
With a generation of learners who grew up in an age of the Internet, smartphones and 3-D printers, robotics and computer programming are playing a more important role in educational curricula than ever before.