Day two of the National Conference on All Girls’ Education at Barnard College focused on the psychological health of underrepresented girls in challenging academic environments in a conversation with best-selling author Rachel Simmons. have become.
This year’s Whole Girl Conference is the first to bring together school leaders, teachers, girls’ educators of all types and young people of all genders. The convocation was organized by the Student Leadership Network (SLN). SLN is a non-profit organization that helps young people from diverse and underserved communities reach higher education. It operates the Young Women’s Leadership Schools (TYWLS), a network of public schools for girls and youth of all genders with thousands of students in New York City, and the Young Women’s Leadership Network schools nationwide.
TYWLS uses what they call the Whole Girl Education Framework. Within this framework are her four main focuses: early college and career awareness, STEM, health and wellness, and leadership. However, a rigorous academic environment can put a lot of pressure on girls. This was the focus of the plenary session last Friday afternoon.
The conversation featured Simmons, the first book. odd girl outis based on research conducted at TYWLS’ East Harlem School. As she says, it’s important for teachers to make sure young girls have a systematic lens. It is important to understand that everything is not your fault.
“Without that awareness, you lose that shield,” Simmons said.
Simmons also suggested that teachers be honest with their students, just as students are honest with their students.
“Don’t act like you have it all,” she said.
Being a little vulnerable creates a psychologically safe environment for students and makes them feel safe to ask for help. This is an interpersonal risk for many students. Simmons said it’s important to let them know it’s okay to fail.
Perfectionism is rampant among the students Simmons meets.
“The tendency of these girls to overwork breaks my heart,” she said.
The question of how to balance and stay mentally healthy Simmons admitted she doesn’t have a perfect answer. should be understood as an integral part of everyday life.
“We need to model that as educators,” Simmons said. “We’re so bad at it. If they don’t see us take less than a minute to do it, it’s really hard for us to argue with them.
Setting boundaries is another important skill for students, according to Simmons, asking how to say “no”, how to say “not now,” and what can be deprioritized. Including learning how.
Simmons also talked about her own work, which has recently expanded to include adult women.Simons does leadership work and executive coaching at PayPal, which focuses on advancing women in the workplace. . The program will soon be expanded to Black and Latino workers.
“I teach mostly white men how to develop their underappreciated talents,” she said.
Simmons’ work focuses on the idea of sponsorship. This is a level of engagement that goes beyond mentorship where experienced workers directly advocate for protégés. For example, recommend them for high-profile projects that could lead to promotion.
It’s a concept that can easily be applied to schools, said Diana Beltrani, former vice-principal of TYWLS in Brooklyn, who attended the conference.
“If you look at an AP class and think about who should be taking the class, there may be some students who don’t advertise themselves, but the teacher knows they should be in this class. will,” she said. Those teachers can make sure their students get the chance.
The conference featured more than 20 breakout sessions on a variety of topics during the first two days. You will be exposed to management skills such as how to hire new staff to retain leaders, how to understand your own leadership style and make it as effective as possible, and how to use country datasets to enhance your education. There was also something. Others have used the Global Girls Bill of Rights as a lens for advocacy, focusing on black girls navigating white institutions and creating trauma-informed spaces that promote healing. I guessed. There were also sessions linking various skills to dance, improvisation and bucket drumming.
The conference concluded with a final round of workshops on the importance of rituals in building a connected community, collaboration beyond the classroom to strengthen belonging, how to engage the community in your classes, and more. The final plenary speaker was Dr. Bettina L. Love, Professor William F. Russell of Teachers College, Columbia University. His research focuses on enhancing public education through abolitionist teachings, anti-racism, and black joy.
Jon Edelman can be contacted at: JEdelman@DiverseEducation.com