Powerful Signals, Part 1: The River Program: St. Margaret's School For Girls, Tappahannock, Virginia

Tappahannock, Virginia – The National Coalition of Girls' Schools is a leading proponent of single-sex education for girls. Since its founding in 1991, NCGS has grown to include 105 girl's independent and public, day and boarding schools across the United States. And it also has affiliated with partners in Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom and other locations. Currently, there are some 45-thousand students attending National Coalition of Girls' Schools in the U.S. alone. The Coalition's major areas of focus include: math, science and technology; academic achievement; financial literacy; and global citizenship. NCGS annually commissions an independent survey, asking recent graduates (among other things) how well they felt prepared for college and for science? Across the country, 50% of the girls' school graduates responded they were either well prepared...or better prepared...than their peers from coed institutions. But for one particular school, the graduates from St. Margaret's School for Girls in Virginia, that figure jumped to an overwhelming...93% who felt they were very prepared. That's a true testament to the innovative, collaborative nature of the science curriculum and qualified staff at the school. So naturally, we were curious to learn what they are doing that other schools can emulate. St. Margaret's School for Girls is located in the small, river front town of Tappahannock, Virginia. Over the past 85 years, the school has expanded from teaching 17 students in a room above a pharmacy...to an idyllic boarding school serving more than 150 young women, grades eight through twelve. The diverse student body comes from 12 countries and 14 states, and maintains an enviable 6 to 1 student to faculty ratio. Plus, 99% of its graduates continue on to attend college. St. Margaret's School for Girls places a special emphasis on science education. It realizes girls may view math and science careers in an unfavorable light for women. So, the girl's school has formulated special programs that offer students a real chance to enjoy science and succeed at it. One way St. Margaret's does this, is by bringing the river that flows right by its classrooms into its curriculum. Shea Shackleford reports from Virginia. (12:58) *(To find out more about the St. Margaret's School for Girls, check out their website at www.sms.org. To learn more about the National Coalition of Girls' Schools, their website is: www.ncgs.org) Also visit the Women In Science ON THE AIR! website at www.womeninscience.org. Powerful Signals: Transforming the Role of Women and Girls In Science and Engineering was made possible by support from the National Science Foundation.