The Start of School – SGS Style!

by Rosetta, Outreach Specialist
Congratulations on the conclusion of the first full week of classes at SGS!  You may have noticed we spend a lot of time outside of traditional subjects. These first few weeks constitute a critical time of establishing routines, expectations, and relationships.  You may see several elements of our program that prime our young people for learning and excellence:
 
Collaborative Norm Setting
Parenting research has shown that nurturing, responsive, and supportive environments with firm limits, rules that are clear and well-explained, and decisions that consider a young person’s input result in friendly, energetic, cheerful, self-reliant, self-controlled, curious, cooperative, and achievement-oriented youth.  Co-creating norms and communicating high expectations is one way we try to create such an environment. (Steinberg, 1989, 1992; Baumrind, 2013)
 
Growth Mindset Orientation
Carol Dweck’s decades of research have shown that when young people learn about brain plasticity and that intelligence and talents are things you can grow through effort, feedback, and mistakes, they are more likely to thrive on challenge, see failure as a springboard for growth, and ultimately achieve more.  Celebrating learning from mistakes, developing the habit of YET (I can’t… yet.  I don’t understand… yet.), and understanding that discomfort is a natural process of learning are just a few of the ways we try to develop the growth mindset within our students. (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck, 2006)
 
Relationships at the Core
Positive relationships in the context of teaching and learning affirms for students that they have the right to school, that their school identity can co-exist peacefully with their social, ethnic, racial, and gendered identities, and that meaningful relationships with individuals in schools can extend to relationships with academic content as well.  Young people with such positive relationships achieve more and engage with passion.  Advisory activities, classroom warmups, and the Fall trip, are just a few of the ways we foster positive relationships.  (Culturally Responsive Education in the Classroom: An Equity Framework for Pedagogy, Stembridge, 2019)
 
We intentionally start the year slow and meaningfully so that we can go faster, higher, and harder later!  Here we go!
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Located in the Central District, Seattle Girls' School is an independent school for girls and gender nonconforming students in grades 5-8. Our mission is to inspire and develop courageous leaders who think independently, work collaboratively, learn joyfully, and champion change.