State of the School 2018
It is my privilege and honor to share with you CSG’s 2018 State of the Girl/State of the School! I am so pleased to both reflect on the past year and to look ahead at the coming year at CSG. As we think about 2017 nationally, one might call it the Year of the Woman. Of course, at CSG, EVERY year is the Year of the Woman or the Girl--we have been focused on educating and developing girls and young women for 119 years! If, indeed, 2017 is the Year of the Women in America, isn’t it lovely that the U.S. has finally caught up to CSG!?
From Hollywood to Gymnastics, from the #metoo movement to the #timesup movement, women are speaking truth to power and using their voices, demanding to be heard and to be viewed on equal footing with their male counterparts. The use of one’s voice is at the center of who we are at CSG. It is this focus on voice--on our desire to empower girls by using a data-driven curriculum that first attracted us to ROX. ROX--Ruling Our Experiences--is a 8-week program that all Form VIII students at CSG experience. The focus is on everything from bullying and relational aggression, to navigating social media and leadership development.
ROX has a strong research component and in March, Founder and Executive Director Dr. Lisa Hinkelman joined our current families to share the results of her most recent research. At the end of 2017, ROX released “The Girls Index”, after surveying nearly 11,000 girls throughout the country, including nearly 240 CSG girls in Forms VI-XI. The report confirmed that “effective educators recognize both the academic and non-academic needs of students.” Like ROX, CSG understands that attending to the social-emotional needs of students is just as important as focusing on academic skills and developmentally appropriate pedagogy.
Head of School
The Girls’ Index makes two things evident in CSG’s context:
1. Girls have specific needs when it comes to their success in and out of the classroom.
2. By paying attention to those specific needs--by prioritizing academic excellence, social emotional wellness, and the empowerment of our students together--CSG is successful in not only fulfilling the academic and social emotional needs of our students, but also in supporting the thriving of our students far beyond their peers nationally.
Click here for Dr. Lisa Hinkelman's report on how CSG's responses to compared to those from girls nationally. Click here for the report.
You can also watch this video on The Girls' Index.
- Health of School
- Social-Emotional Curriculum and Wellness
- Pursuing Academic Excellence
- Arts & Athletics
The sense of community and connection here at CSG strengthens our students’ collective ability to beat societal odds. It also propels us ever-closer to fulfilling our mission: empowering girls to discover their distinct potential as learners and leaders. Our laser-focus on that mission has resulted in signs of robust health of CSG for the 2017-2018 school year.
The school year started with an enrollment of 557 students, 38% are students of color and 30% receiving some form of financial aid. As we look forward to the 2018-2019 school year, retention is stable, applications are up, and we are expecting one of our largest incoming Form IX classes in recent history!
As The Girls' Index so compellingly demonstrated, CSG students are thriving on all levels. Especially when compared to their peers nationally, CSG girls are more likely to maintain their confidence, more likely to take on leadership roles, more likely to have strong relationships, and more likely to “actualize their ability”, --to pursue careers that society suggests they, perhaps, should not pursue. CSG graduates brazenly and consistently prove “society” wrong.
These priorities are reflected in CSG’s strategic plan, Inspiring Girls, Cultivating Leaders. We are in year two of our efforts to Lead, Deepen, Flourish and Thrive. In particular, we have been working to enhance our curriculum in the area of social-emotional wellness, to meet the needs of CSG girls at each stage of their development. This includes a focus on helping students to find their voices and build the supportive relationships that the Girls’ Index points out are so important for girls.
- For example in PYC, birthday celebrations go beyond treats and songs (although treats and songs are very important!) to become opportunities for our preschool and kindergarteners to really explore and embrace who they are at an early age. The girls not only celebrate one another, but also their family traditions and stories. They explain important details about their lives at home--about how they got their names, and what happened the day they were born, for example, and their peers then incorporate those ideas as they write a story in which the birthday girl is the main character. This celebration of a child’s life through story gives our youngest girls a chance to talk about the great qualities they see in one another, thereby beginning CSG’s school-wide commitment to building a sense of belonging for every girl.
- In Lower School, students have been using the book Strong is the New Pretty as a guide in their discussions about their own strength and power. These conversations have expand their understanding of important qualities such as empathy and compassion
- As they learn more about who they are and their individual pursuit of achievement, Form VI is exploring how they relate to others by participating in a pilot research project known as the ‘Empathy Strategies Initiative’. Part of Harvard University’s Make Caring Common Project, CSG is taking part in this national project to determine the degree to which creating and implementing service learning projects contributes to an enhanced sense of empathy and compassion in children.
- We have also introduced affinity groups in the Middle School, an opportunity for students who self-identify with a group based on a common trait, spend time together outside of class time to explore their identity, support one another, and deepen friendships.
- Upper School students continue to serve on CSG’s wellness committee, which advises Deans and faculty on curriculum to ensure that our life-skills and advisory curricula fully meet the needs of our students.
- Upper School students are also taking a lead in our diversity and inclusion efforts by leading the diversity committee. For the second year, we sent Upper School students to NAIS’ Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Transformed by that experience, these students bring back to CSG what they learned at the conference and share it with Upper School students, with the faculty, and with the Board of Trustees. In 2018, they will also have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge with a new course being offered for the first time: Exploring Diversity through Inquiry, where they will explore identity, intersectionality, and social justice, among other topics.
Beyond CSG's comprehensive social-emotional curriculum, there are many other exciting things happening, particularly with our continuous pursuit of academic excellence. As we think forward to the skills our students will need as adult learners and leaders, we are focusing on the significant and central role that technology, computer science, and design thinking will play in their lives. CSG has adopted some new programs to ensure that our students will be prepared for that future.
- This year, is our inaugural year of the Innovation Lab in Lower School. Some of you may have attended the Innovation Fair where the Form V class discussed their current project of working to identify a solution to a real-life problem for a little boy named Sam who has some developmental delays. The girls are exploring Alternative and Augmentative Communication technology, developmental disabilities, and People First language, while using design thinking to come up with a solution that will help Sam better communicate using his iPad.
- With the help of Upper School students, the younger girls are also learning more about coding and how using this technical language along with more traditional communications skills can play a significant role in identifying and solving problems.
- Working with CSG’s IT department, members of our Middle School have learned the skills necessary to serve as Help Desk volunteers to support the MS community--students and faculty alike! This is a great opportunity for tech-savvy girls who are interested in helping others with technology challenges: they gain hands-on experience responding to calls for technical support.
Although newer skills such as technology, computer science, and design thinking are important, CSG always combines the leading edge with the foundational skills that our alumnae find critical to their success in the world. We have continued to innovate and refine our more “traditional” curriculum as well.
- In Lower School, our teachers and librarians continue to cultivate a love of reading. Through the 40 Book Challenge, the Form V girls have read a collective 645 books since the start of the school year!
- In Form VIII, humanities has been divided into separate English and history classes this year, a change that has both allowed students to hone their skills in each discipline, and to deepen their ability to internalize the habits of mind that students of each discipline require.
- And in Upper School, the curriculum is focusing on Evidences of Study or EOS in math and science courses, which allows students to decide how they study best.
These are significant additions and changes to our curriculum that will enhance the development of the essential skills --communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving--qualities we know our students will need for their futures.
Arts and athletics continue to be a core part of the CSG experience. For example, our thespians not only hone their acting skills, but sometimes, they also include a deep dive into the culture and history of their topic, which adds depth and an authentic richness to their treatment of the work. We invite you to enjoy the results of such an intellectually rich process when the Upper School presents The White Snake next week.
We have had another remarkable year in athletics. Including the success of our fall and winter seasons, 42 student-athletes have qualified for state competition in the past 5 years! CSG’s Upper School swimming and diving team just celebrated its 5th consecutive district title win and finished 5th in the state. We look forward to our wins in the spring.
We are also pleased to announce that starting with the 2019-2020 school year, CSG athletic teams will move from competing in the Central Catholic League to competing in the Ohio Division of the Mid-State League! This change will give us the opportunity to compete for a league championship in multiple sports and will ease scheduling restraints, among other benefits. We look forward to being part of a league in which participating schools are more closely aligned to CSG than our competitors in the CCL were.
Girls who are well-educated, self aware, and who know the value of being healthy physically and mentally, embrace leadership and achievement.
As we meet the lofty goals of our strategic plan, CSG faculty seek ways to create meaningful experiences to help our students deepen their self-knowledge as leaders. This year marked the first year for the Student Leadership Council in Upper School. Girls explore their own leadership styles as they read and discuss the latest research and learn about other effective leaders. We’ve also introduced the Athletic Leadership Council, where team captains are taking their leadership skills to new levels that will help them beyond the pool, courts, track, and fields.
The application of these leadership skills have been evident in several new student-driven initiatives, particularly those supporting philanthropy and advocacy:
- The Empty Bowls Project in which students worked with faculty to raise nearly $4,000 to benefit the St. Francis Food Pantry in the food desert of Vinton County.
- Students in all divisions led our efforts to support hurricane victims at the end of last year, resulting in the collection of more than $3,000, which was donated to CPN, an all-girls school in Puerto Rico. One of our students with family in Puerto Rico was able to visit and personally deliver those contributions over Thanksgiving break.
- Our Robotics team, Murphy’s Outlaws, are not only preparing for their competition season as one of few all-girl teams in the country, but they are also educating lawmakers as they advocate for more state funding to support important programs like FIRST Robotics.
- And… Students and faculty have started conversations about how we will participate in the national conversation surrounding gun violence and school safety. This will be a powerful learning opportunity for our students and entire community, so stay tuned for the details of how CSG girls will participate.
It is these sorts of experiences that have helped CSG to become a thought leader in the greater central Ohio community in educating and developing leadership capacity in girls. We frequently get requests to partner with various community organizations whose missions align with ours, and to offer insight into these areas of expertise. We look forward to another year of helping our students lead, flourish and thrive, as we deepen our understanding of the best way to empower and educate central Ohio’s girls. Thank you all so much for being here tonight.