Intersections: Book Review of "Brave, Not Perfect"

April 13, 2019 by Bill Ivey

(with thanks to MiddleWeb for originally publishing this review)

As a teacher in a girls school, I’m acutely aware that my students (girls and non-binary kids alike) often feel trapped between two opposing yet interlocking ideals our culture sets for them – to be their true authentic selves, and to please other people.

Filed Under: Middle School, MIddleWeb, girls' education, educating girls, Girls Schools, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School, girls' school, girls psychology, Reshma Saujani

Stoneleigh-Burnham Women on the March

January 27, 2018 by Guest Faculty Bloggers

by Celine Nader

Here at Stoneleigh-Burnham, our mission statement is both descriptive of what is, and aspirational, considering what we hope will be. We talk about fostering voice, choice, and agency in our students here at SBS — and I feel confident that this is, by and large, quite effective.

Filed Under: girls' education, Feminism, StudentVoice, feminist school, student agency, Women's March

Intersections: "Untangled"

September 27, 2017 by Bill Ivey

(originally published on MiddleWeb)

Filed Under: girls' education, educating girls, Girls Schools, girls psychology, Intersections, book review

Like Home

June 28, 2015 by Bill Ivey

The National Coalition of Girls Schools (NCGS) held their Annual Conference from June 22-24, 2015 at St. Catherine’s School in Richmond, Virginia. The theme was “From STEM to STEAM: Girls’ Schools Leading the Way.” Sally Mixsell, Head of School, attended along with science teachers Andrea Tehan Carnes and Meghan Lena, and Bill Ivey, Middle School Dean. Over the next few weeks, we plan to share our thoughts on what we learned and what we did.

Filed Under: girls' education, STEAM, social justice, Girls Schools, Feminism, STEM, National Coalition of Girls Schools, #NCGS15

Not That Girl

May 07, 2015 by Bill Ivey

I’m still on the email list for the 9th grade class, so when Eni ‘18 shared the agenda for Wednesday’s class meeting, I received a copy of the email. She also included a link to a Buzzfeed video, “I Am Not That Girl.” Curious, I clicked on the link, and found a video that began with a litany of insecurities that takes up over half of its 2’16”: “I’ve never been That Girl… That girl who knows how to flirt properly. That girl who knows how to put on make-up flawlessly. That girl who can post a photo to Instagram and not find a million insecurities lurking at the tips of her fingers as she presses the “Share” button...” Being judged and judging herself is not limited to her flaws, especially as subjected to a heteronormative male gaze, for “I know that I shouldn’t let these things define my femininity… And I’m always forced to ask myself, ‘What’s wrong with me?’” Eventually, though, the video shifts tone: “But maybe it’s because I was never destined to be That Girl. Maybe it’s because I was destined to be something more…”

Filed Under: girls' education, Girls Schools, Feminism, Women in media, girls' school, feminist school

Five Minutes Longer

May 05, 2015 by Bill Ivey

In the MiddleTalk educators’ group, Stoneleigh-Burnham Middle School has become inseparably entwined with the question “What would you do if you were brave?” since my answer to that question when asked by group member Brenda Dyck more than a decade ago was “I would start a middle school.” One year later, of course, I became part of the committee that helped found SBMS.

Check “starting a middle school” off my to-do list!

Filed Under: Middle School, girls' education, education reform, Middle Level Education, Education, This We Believe, MiddleTalk

The Gift of Tears

April 14, 2015 by Bill Ivey

"Hey, Bill's crying." I nodded quietly as the student reading her poem looked over at me and then continued.

The Humanities 7 class had just finished reading Part Four of I Am Malala and I had been at something of a loss for how to run the discussion. It's a short, painful section that begins immediately after the Taliban shot her for her advocacy of Western values (such as girls' education) and continues through her hopitalization in Pakistan to her being airlifted to England. I arrived in class prepared with several ideas for how to handle it, but it was only at the moment of truth that I decided to ask the students to write a poem in reaction to the section, telling them they would read their poem to the class but would not need to share it with me electronically. They set immediately to work, and eventually it was down to two students waiting for the last line of their poems to come to them. The others were already working independently on other things while waiting, so I could hope these students would not feel the pressure to stop before they genuinely felt ready.

Filed Under: Poetry, girls' education, In the Classroom, Malala Yousafzai

Peace amid Chaos

April 07, 2015 by Guest Faculty Bloggers

By Ellen Carter, School Counselor

This piece was originally written last fall about the “Rejection Boot Camp” workshop given by Rachel Simmons; we are publishing it now as Ms. Simmons is about to return to our campus.

Rachel Simmons came to our school today to teach a “Rejection Boot Camp” workshop for upper schoolers at SBS. The focus of today was on debunking myths of perfectionism in our culture and helping students make personal goals.  Students were encouraged to unearth the various ways in which societal expectations are created that effectively pull them into corners of self-doubt and fear of failure. We talked about what it really means to “be brave” and take risks, however small, in one’s life. Simmons emphasized the need for connection, not necessarily doing it on one’s own, but actually collaborating and seeking support. Students were encouraged to think about not only the brave acts in their lives and the healthy risks that they might take, but the aftermath and how they might respond to various failures that are bound to occur when we risk stepping outside our comfort zones. This workshop is about making goals, taking risks, and advancing with small, manageable steps towards reaching one’s goals. It is also about naming what is important to you, unearthing your authentic thoughts, desires, fears, and taking steps towards realizing something that is important to you and carrying it out.

Filed Under: girls' education, girls' school, Education, perfectionism, girls psychology

Sub Plan

April 06, 2015 by Bill Ivey

With five teacher/advisors volunteering to chaperone the 8th graders on their annual trip to Washington, DC, it seemed only right for me to step up and sign up to sub in their absence. I got Andrea's 7th grade Science/Math class and Meghan's Junior IB Bio I class. We got off to a bit of a slow start in the 7th grade Pre-Algebra class as the 7th graders who were in the predominantly 8th grade Algebra 1 class downstairs were apparently baking, and there was a tidal wave of enthusiasm for the idea of our doing the same despite the fact that we had neither ingredients nor oven. But it wasn't long before I was tossing dry-erase markers to students to go put up their answers to the homework on the board before checking them over.

Filed Under: The Girls School Advantage, girls' education, gender equity, learning, Feminism, girls' school, STEM, student-centered learning, Education

On the Right Path

March 08, 2015 by Bill Ivey

"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights." - Gloria Steinem (quoted on the “International Women’s Day” website)

Filed Under: On Education, girls' education, girls' school, International Women's Day