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SPSG at The Heads Network and National Association of Independent Schools
Posted 03/25/2017 06:00PM
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Dear SPSG Families,

Oftentimes, we say that we are a learning community, and lifelong learning is a hallmark in our Portrait of a Graduate. You and your daughters heard that we, the faculty and staff of SPSG, had a professional development day on Friday, and I'd like to share with you a bit more about what that means.

As Head of School, I am always proud to represent SPSG, and as such, I serve as a member of various organizations. The Heads Network and National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) are two cohorts that push me and my fellow educators to continue to grow and pursue the best habits and opportunities to learn. This past week, I had the privilege of representing our school and attending national conferences for both organizations. Like you all, we at SPSG serve as mentors and coaches, building relationships with our girls. Sometimes, our own daughters and students do not think we "understand" them, but we can always show and tell them that we strive to build spaces and foster opportunities for them to take healthy risks, share their feelings, and ask questions.

"We aim to strengthen your daughter's strengths in a challenging and supportive environment where she feels known, valued, and understood."

During the first conference I attended, The Heads Network, school heads and leaders from around our nation and beyond heard from experts in the field of brain-based education and social emotional learning. As adults, our brains and habits are more developed, fixed, and mature. However, the population for whom SPSG is designed is "becoming" and growing. As such, we have the gift of helping them try new approaches throughout this growth process.

At SPSG, we will continue to work towards inclusive, respectful, and responsive learning opportunities. We aim to strengthen your daughter's strengths in a challenging and supportive environment where she feels known, valued, and understood. Please join us on campus for Prayers and Chapel to see a glimpse of this practice in action. In addition, I encourage you to be in partnership with your daughter's advisor, teachers, coaches, or any adults with whom she has a bond. These relationships are, without a doubt, a critical source of helping your daughter learn and feel a sense of community. I know the relationships which I cultivate and nurture at this annual conference help me to learn and network as I strive to be my best self and leader.
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Just a day later, Baltimore hosted the NAIS Annual Conference. Nearly 5,700 educators and school-related volunteers shared time listening to and learning from peers and experts in our field of independent school education. This year's theme, "Make Your Mission Matter: From Vision To Values," inspired a call to action and a claiming of our School's greater purpose.
At SPSG, we are fortunate to discuss and live our mission on a daily basis. However, this year's location allowed all of our professionals to partake and participate in this treasured conference. St. Paul's School for Girls was up on the big screen as NAIS asked me to introduce Susan Cain and Heidi Kasevich, partners in Quiet Revolution. Along with Jen Cort, who is in her second year consulting with SPSG, and Aisha Mason, Diversity and Inclusion Liaison, as well as a PE teacher and coach, I presented the ongoing work in which our students, faculty, and constituents partake. We shared our ongoing journey, mistakes made, lessons learned, and successes had thus far. Thereafter, I presented with former board chair Clifford Lull SP '78, audit specialist Mike Young, and our school attorney. On behalf of SPSG, we were bold and courageous in our presence and presentations!
The greatest point of pride for me occurred Friday morning when our Inertia dance troupe graced the stage with their piece, "Glory." Our dancers beautifully demonstrated their work studying Identity and capturing the emotions of humanity through the physical and timeless expression of dance.
Sir Ken Robinson, a revered thought leader in the field of education, even mentioned Inertia and the impact of our dancers in his delivery. Wow! The SPSG faculty and staff cheered with delight and pride for our girls! Throughout the day, I had the pleasure of seeing the faculty and staff experiencing learning, sharing new ideas, and networking with new peers. The professional development opportunities supported by The Gator Fund have a direct and forceful impact on your daughters and our mission delivery.

While your children did not have school on Friday, we modeled lifelong learning and grew ourselves as educators. Perhaps the highlights for me these past two weeks were selfish ones. Watching our girls dance with brilliance, joy, and skill allowed me to feel like a very proud Mama Gator. Visiting with three of my former teachers from high school and feeling the strength of our lifelong relationship reminded me of the impact our School can have on the lives of your children. Thereafter, I enjoyed celebrating with hundreds of you at our Swamp Soiree, where fun was the theme and fundraising for our program and future were shared targets.

Education is a journey, and I am grateful for the opportunity to share a bit of what recharges me and filled my calendar this past week. While I missed standing on the carpool circle and being in the building, SPSG and your daughters were the focus of my time and energies. I thank you for sharing in our learning community and for your invaluable support and partnership.

Sincerely,
Penny B. Evins
Head of School
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St. Paul's School for Girls

P.O. Box 8000, Brooklandville, Maryland 21022
TEL: 410-823-6323 | FAX: 410-828-7238
SPSFG.ORG

ST. PAUL'S SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
11232 Falls Road
P.O. Box 8000
Brooklandville, Maryland 21022
TEL: 410-823-6323
FAX: 410-828-7238
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