December 1, 2009

Brad Rathgeber, President of the Online School for Girls,

brad.rathgeber@onlineschoolforgirls.org

301.842.4673

Molly Rumsey, Governance Committee Chair for the Online School for Girls

molly.rumsey@onlineschoolforgirls

615.346.0130

A nationwide consortium of four independent all-girls’ schools that created in June 2009 the first-ever online school dedicated to secondary education for girls this past fall has expanded its membership. Joining the Online School for Girls are Atlanta Girls’ School (Atlanta, Georgia), The Ellis School (Pittsburgh, Penn), St. Mary’s Episcopal School (Memphis, Tenn.) and St. Paul’s School for Girls (Baltimore, Maryland).

 

“The Online School for Girls is happy to welcome to its consortium a group of schools that share its vision for twenty-first century learning. The opportunities for students are endless with online education. Our new consortium member schools share our desire to give girls as many of those opportunities as possible and to do so in a manner consistent with the ways that girls learn best,” said Brad Rathgeber, President of the Online School for Girls.

 

The Online School for Girls was launched by The Harpeth Hall School (Tenn.), Holton-Arms School (Maryland), Laurel School (Ohio), and Westover School (Conn.). In this inaugural year, only girls from the member schools can enroll in the Online School for Girls courses. Sixteen students from the four consortium schools are enrolled in the two fall courses — multivariable calculus and genetics. Feedback from those students confirms that learning online versus in a traditional classroom has broadened their knowledge base, and strengthened their research, time management, and study skills.

 

“The course is designed so that you manage your own time: planning when you need to consult with the teacher, show up for class, do the homework, and even when you take the test. This flexible schedule is really convenient for self- motivated girls with a difficult class load, and I think will give me better time management skills before college,” said Rohini Chakravarthy, a senior at Harpeth Hall who is enrolled in the multivariable courses.

 

Harpeth Hall sophomore Amanda Rehorn welcomes the opportunity to use a variety of technology tools in the online genetics course. “When I enrolled in the course, I wasn’t sure what it would be like to work with a teacher in another state, instead of in person.  But it turned out to be simple and easy to get help and to learn about a subject that I am passionate about.” 

 

“Online education is rapidly becoming a cornerstone of the educational experience of the twenty-first century,” added Rathgeber, who is also Director of Technology at the Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Maryland.  

 

According to K-12 Online Learning: A 2008 Follow-up of the Survey of U.S. School District Administrators, more than one million secondary school students enrolled in online courses and 70 percent of high schools had at least one student who took an online class during the 2007-2008 school year, “but none of them specifically address the educational needs of girls,” explains Ann Pollina, Head of School at Westover School. “We believe that girls inhabit online spaces differently than boys and that this initiative can combine a powerful, transformative online learning environment for girls with a high-quality, twenty-first century academic experience.”

Guided by current research on how girls learn best, the School focuses on several key principles: emphasizing connections among participants; incorporating collaboration into the learning experience; inspiring and rewarding creativity; and engaging in real-world problems and applications while having students probe the social and ethical dynamics that define and stretch our global society.

“Not every girl has the opportunity to attend an all girls’ school,” says Larry Goodman, Co-Director of the Center for Research on Girls at Laurel School, “so our hope in embarking on this initiative is to inspire and challenge girls on a worldwide scale.”

In coming years, the Online School for Girls will expand the scope and reach of a traditional girls’ school and work to engage a worldwide and diverse student base, including students who are in need of a more flexible school schedule, are home schooled, or would not otherwise have opportunities available for challenging or unique coursework.

Founded in 2009, The Online School for Girls inspires girls worldwide to reach their potential by offering exceptional instruction to girls in an online setting. Guided by current research on how girls learn best, the School has dedicated itself to the following principles:

          Connection, emphasize connection among participants;

          Collaboration, incorporate collaboration into the learning experience;

          Creativity, inspire and reward creativity; and

          Application, engage in real-world problems and applications while having students probe the social and ethical dynamics that define and stretch our global society.

 

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