Empowering girls through world-class education
Authors of the study say policymakers should encourage better gender distribution in schools. Source: Shutterstock

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy (FSHA) takes great pride in preparing its students for an enriched life of faith, integrity and fulfilment.

As an all-girls preparatory school, Flintridge has been providing its students with a first-class education since 1931. The school was founded by the Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose, whose founding four pillars of prayer, study, community and service remain of paramount importance in the school’s values today. The pillars are designed to stand in unity with one another, each one strengthened by the other three and equally necessary to provide a strong foundation for future life. The Catholic and Dominican vision of education drives the school’s curriculum, enabling adolescent girls to flourish into young women, ready to thrive throughout college and beyond.

FSHA works side-by-side with parents and guardians to support their children in becoming the very best they can be. The school recognises the interdependence of physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social and environmental health, and how maintaining a healthy lifestyle can benefit a pupil’s academic performance. With this in mind, the Flintridge rigorous curriculum encompasses all aspects of life through outstanding visual and performing arts, an excellent athletics and sports programme, and a dynamic campus ministry and service programme.

Diversity is at the heart of FSHA, which boasts a vibrant and inclusive community that accepts and nurtures the unique qualities possessed by each individual. A truly international student body, the school offers a global awareness to its graduates, prepared for their journey into adulthood. The campus has a friendly and hospitable atmosphere, where teachers express care and concern for their students and the challenges they may face.

Flintridge boasts an impressive academic record, with students going on the become scholars, athletes, writers, visual and performing artists, and leaders within their communities. Here, students are taught to take on challenges and to succeed and fail with dignity and grace, with the ultimate view of discovering personal qualities and unique gifts.

Taught how to think critically and learn other invaluable skills, students are exposed to the latest in technology, enabling a more interactive experience across every department in the school. Each teacher and pupil participates in the 1:1 Laptop Program, while wireless internet access is available in all areas of the campus, ensuring all students receive a 21st century education.

Each classroom contains large-screen projection systems, SMART boards and digital document cameras to support studies, while pupils also have access to a variety of resources like Microsoft Office and the Adobe Creative Suite, on every computer. Every morning, pupils broadcast the daily school announcements through a streaming service to all campus classrooms and offices.

There is also a four-year dedicated Research Program to support the transition to college, established to teach students the research skills they will be expected to know after they leave FHSA.

Flintridge champions the single-sex education that the girls receive, wholeheartedly believing that it’s not merely a matter of separating boys and girls. Girls are able to take centre stage in all-female environment, empowered to express themselves in ways that may be more difficult in a mixed environment. The combination of community, culture and climate that an all-girls school offers is vital to the transformative process.

Dr. Rosemary Salomone, Columbia University’s Teacher College Record, states: “Single-sex programs…create an institutional and classroom climate in which female students can express themselves freely and frequently, and develop higher order thinking skills.”

But it’s not just about academia at FSHA; the Visual & Performing Arts (VAPA) Program fosters a creative atmosphere for the children to express themselves freely in their medium of choice. Musicians and performers are presented with a range of opportunities to show off their talents, including the annual Christmas and Pop concerts, liturgies and masses, and other special schoolwide events.

Extracurricular activities and unique leadership opportunities are a plenty at the school, with students encouraged to actively participate in the many club opportunities available on campus – from joining the Amnesty International club to planning a service project for the Christian Action Movement, writing for the school newspaper to editing the yearbook. Study of the arts challenges students to take risks, solve problems, and engage and communicate effectively with the world around them.

Students collaborate across classes and years through the Big-Little Sister and Middle Sister programs, planning events such as dances, plays or student debates. The sets of sisters meet for lunch on several occasions over the course of a year, with the freshmen traditionally organising a Senior Brunch prior to graduation. The student council also plays a key role in campus life at FSHA, planning activities and events, including the annual Halloween celebration and Spirit Week.

Former student, Kayla Grahn, commented on her experience at Flintridge: “FSHA always challenged me to be a better student. The classes pushed me to expand my thinking and work hard. I’m ready for college because of the education I received here.”

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