Co-Curricular Programs

List of 8 items.

  • Advising/RISE

    Advising
    The goals of the Advising program are: to foster girls’ social-emotional learning and connection with classmates, to form a strong mentoring relationship between advisor and advisee, and to establish the advisor as the primary liaison between parents/guardians and school. Advising balances the academic program by providing a framework for girls’ holistic growth through middle school. Advisors help girls to set goals for their social-emotional development, take responsibility for the impact of their choices, and develop the attitudes that will help them persevere and prosper well beyond their teens. The program complements the content learning from the RISE class by furnishing opportunities for girls to personally reflect and share about those social-emotional topics in a more intimate setting. Twice a week, girls meet in their advising groups to explore topics such as community building, friendship, goal setting, and self-care. One on one, a girl's advisor helps her track her goals, offers guidance and feedback, and acts as her academic and social advocate while coaching the girl to advocate for herself. Advisors communicate purposefully with girls' teachers and parents/guardians as needed during the year, and they help their advisees prepare for student-led report card conferences in fall and spring. Advising is integral to the JMSG experience: it is where our deepest values as a community--honesty, empathy, positive risk-taking, inclusivity, sisterhood, humor--are invoked and continually renewed by a close-knit circle of girls and their faculty advisor.

    RISE: Resilience, Identity, Self-Awareness, Empathy
    JMSG supports girls in developing their emotional intelligence and social skills through a weekly social and emotional learning class called RISE, which stands for Resilience, Identity, Self-Awareness, and Empathy. The goal of RISE is to provide an atmosphere of trust within our community of girls, in which they can learn essential life skills, voice their feelings in a productive and safe way and hear those feelings acknowledged by peers and teachers. RISE encourages girls to explore their choices, develop a strong sense of self, recognize similarities, and respect each other’s differences. Drawing on a combination of discussion, role-playing, videos, hands-on activities, and guest speakers, the classes will cover a number of relevant topics, including communication, diversity, gender, body image, sex education, and mental health. While topics may be similar in each grade, the RISE curriculum uses developmentally age-appropriate materials for each level.
  • After School Offerings

    The Scholars Studio - Everyday
    The primary goal is to provide an optimum learning environment for students to complete their homework and assignments, before leaving our school campus. The one hour study period will begin after a daily snack is provided. For those girls who complete their work, a quiet activity, as well as outside play, will be available. This is a drop-in, fee based program for all students at JMSG.

    Chorus - Mondays
    Girls will have a chance to sing both melody and harmony parts. Chorus will focus on vocal technique, breath control, note reading, and singing in multiple parts. No experience necessary! 

    ​Technology Enrichment - Tuesdays and Thursdays
    Whether building with Legos, programming, researching or competing in a robotics or Technovation coding competition, the girls 
    work on small teams to perform exciting technicalchallenges. Both opportunities have a mandatory commitment to practices and competitions. Robotics will be offered until November (specific date TBD based on competition). Technovation begins in January and will also take place on Wednesdays and Fridays​. For girls who want to get a head start on their Technovation apps, there are optional drop-in coding sessions during lunch.

    Improv - Mondays & Wednesdays
    Girls from all grades and levels of experience are invited to join and participate in Improv, a 90-minute class after school on Wednesdays. Through playful, interactive theatre games and storytelling, students step into the improv world of possibility, spontaneity, and thinking on their feet. In this class, students get to “make stuff up” and laugh as they explore improv wisdom: “Yes/And” (listening/accepting/responding), “Mistakes Are Gifts” (opportunities and choices), and “Leap Before You Look” (trusting and sharing what imagination offers). We learn that improv skills are life skills: listening, paying attention, storytelling, status, spontaneity, and making one’s partner look good.
     
    6th Grade Sports - Mondays & 7th/8th Grade Sports - Tuesdays & Thursdays
    Julia Morgan School is a member of the Middle School Sports League of the East Bay and competes with other local middle schools in basketball, soccer, and volleyball. All 6th, 7th and 8th graders are eligible to play on the team. Our program is free of charge, no previous experience is necessary, and all who tryout make a team. Practices and games occur after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, 3:30-5:00 p.m. Game schedules are determined within the first two weeks of practice. If we have enough girls to make two teams they are split into a JV and Varsity team. This decision is based on a skills assessment and ensures a better experience in competition with other teams at their level.
  • Arts

    The arts are of central importance to dynamic, innovative lives. We aim to foster a love for both creating and experiencing the visual and performing arts. Through a multicultural lens, our classes celebrate many art forms and genres, offering opportunities to explore creative expression with ever-increasing skill and craft.
  • Athletics

    The mission of the Athletics program at Julia Morgan School is to inspire and challenge girls of all physical talents and interests to develop confidence, flexibility, strength, endurance, mental discipline, coordination, balance, and skill.
    The purpose of the 6th grade Physical Education program is to expose students to a variety of physical activities throughout the course of the school year. Girls are provided the opportunity to grow into their bodies in a supportive environment that encourages participation and values fun. Units for this program may include: team building, strategy games, sports, fitness, creative modern dance, and yoga. The focus for the 7th and 8th grade program is to build skills, while also working on core concepts such as: being a supportive member of a team, personal fitness, goal setting, balance, attitude, and leadership. 7th graders participate in three classes; Movement, Team Sports, and Individual Fitness. 8th grade girls will have the opportunity to elect courses within these topics and contribute to the design of their own fitness plans to help prepare them for high school and beyond.
  • Community

    In the 2013-14 school year, JMSG piloted a new element of the schedule to bolster our relational model: a “band” of time stretching across the week to ensure that we are connecting as a community every day. Our intention behind this: 

    Community Time has been to promote bonding among peers, to facilitate student contact with teachers, to support student self-advocacy, and to create space for us to share, celebrate, and play together as a school community.

    Community Time looks different each day of the week:

    On Tuesdays, we all gather together in the Ming Quong Room for All-School Meetings led by 8th grade students. There, we acknowledge birthdays, honor Women and Girls of Courage, give shout-outs, and gain inspiration from guest speakers and special presentations.

    On Tuesdays and Fridays, we gather in grade-level Advisory groups to learn about ourselves and peers through reflection activities and check-ins. The group experience of Advisory lends itself to a sense of “home” at school, and each advisor is available as the school’s “primary care person” for advisees and their families.

    On Thursdays, we gather by grade-level in either Study Hall/Office Hours groups or as a whole grade for Class Meetings. Study Hall/Office Hours afford students the opportunity to work on assignments at school with the support of their peers and teachers, and students are strongly encouraged to seek out their teachers one-on-one during this time to clarify understanding and make a personal connection. In Class Meetings, we make announcements, plan and engage in fun community building activities, and learn from films and special presentations that tie in to our academic curriculum.

    On Wednesdays, girls participate in Families, making positive connections with peers across grades with the guidance of faculty and staff mentors. Families check in, engage in discussions, play games, and work on projects together. Whereas Advisory focuses on specific topics, sometimes sensitive and/or confidential, Families focus on creating a sense of cross-grade bonding through fun activities. Subsequently, each Family has its own unique character, as mentors are encouraged to plan activities that engage their strengths while promoting connection and a sense of joy at school. Highlights from the past two years have included: “upcycled” artwork, student-designed scavenger hunts, random acts of kindness for other Families, and an all-school balloon stomping tournament.
  • Cornerstone

    In response to studies that show adolescents tend to benefit from a later start for academic classes, we have found that Cornerstone offers a slower, more relaxed start to the day, allowing girls to connect with teachers and staff, to settle into the day, and to be much more ready to learn when time is on their side!
    This year's offerings from 8-8:50 a.m.:

    Monday:
    • Blueprint (yearbook – open to 8th graders only; requires two Cornerstone periods a week, both Monday and Thursday, and is a year commitment)
    • Library Lounge
    • Yard Games
    • Laptop study hall for homework only
    Tuesday:
    • Band: Girls need at least 2 years of instruction on an instrument OR at least 1 year of instruction AND currently taking lessons OR a conversation with Phil, parent/guardian, and student to discuss readiness. Girls will also need an instrument (and amp, rosin, reeds, or other necessary accessories). Girls learn to play and create music with a team. They focus on rhythm and listening, developing a sense of “collective time.” Students will gain a heightened awareness of the conductor’s role in an ensemble. All instruments welcome! More information about this year commitment will come your way when school resumes. Band takes place on both Tuesdays and Fridays; members of the JMSG Band are required to attend both weekly sessions.
    • Library Lounge
    • Yard Games
    • Laptop study hall for homework only
    Wednesday:
    • Studio Art: for those girls who would like to explore and deepen their art
    • Girls in Government, Leadership, and Service: during the first semester, this group will plan and host the Women of Courage Panel that takes place on 2/1/18, honoring Rosa Parks; throughout much of the school year the girls will continue the Equal Rights Amendment project.
    • Yard Games
    • Laptop study hall for homework only
     
    Thursday:
    • Blueprint (yearbook – open to 8th graders only; requires two Cornerstone periods a week, both Monday and Thursday, and is a year commitment)
    • 6th Grade Math Games: Looking for some fun on Thursday mornings? Can’t get enough math? This activity is for 6th grade girls who are looking for ways to stretch their brains, for girls who love numbers, patterns, puzzles and endless possibilities, and for girls who love to have fun doing it. (There are also a few mini prizes involved!)
    • Library Lounge
    • Yard Games
    • Laptop study hall for homework only
    Friday:
    • Band
    • Library Lounge
    • Yard Games
    • Laptop study hall for homework only
  • High School Preparation

    The transition to high school, like so much at JMSG, is focused on each girl’s personal pathway. The high school process becomes a kind of coming-of-age experience for our students, as they affirm their strengths and challenges, identify future aspirations, and advocate powerfully for the environment that will best serve their needs. Working closely with the top private and public school options for our families, we hone “the JMSG difference”--time and again, admission representatives remark how our alumnae stand out in the classroom. We facilitate communication between families and schools, and support girls to connect with the schools that speak to their needs and passions as learners. We offer traditional support such as test prep and hosting high school representatives for lunchtime information sessions. But we also provide more advanced sessions such as Public v. Private: Which is right for your family?, Stressed = Desserts Spelled Backwards, and Mind Your Manners (how to communicate respectfully about different high school options). When private school admission decisions come in March, the 8th grade goes on an afternoon retreat, designed to facilitate an optimistic, open-minded perspective on the whole process. We are pleased with our private school placement results: 91-95% of girls are accepted to their first-choice schools. But we are truly proud because our graduates go on to become student leaders, award-winning scholars, and changemakers across a wide array of institutions, from Oakland public schools to East Coast boarding schools, demonstrating the efficacy of their singular middle school experience.
     
  • Technology

    The Technology program invites girls to embrace technology as a positive force while challenging them to think critically about its role in their lives. Girls build foundational skills through exposure to various technology tools and opportunities while being simultaneously guided to problem-solve, self-regulate, and develop a critical consciousness. Graduates gain a balanced, confident stance in preparation for future fluency and leadership in technology.
    6th and 7th Grade Technology & Tools Class
    The weekly 6th and 7th Grade Technology & Tools class teaches students the technical skills they need to be successful in their academic classes. Lessons provide an opportunity for girls to have more time to practice skills they will need before a particular academic unit, increasing their proficiency with repeated exposure. In both years, special attention will be given to teaching girls how to use their school-issued iPads mindfully and appropriately both in a class setting and as they move between school and home digital life. Units from Common Sense Media’s Digital Compass and Digital Literacy and Citizenship curriculum will be interspersed. Girls will also learn to use other tools on campus like the Makerbot 3D Printer and those in the Tinkering Stations.

    iPad One-to-One
    2017-18 will be JMSG’s fourth year of the 1:1 program. The program was launched after several years of research, data collection, and a technology audit showed the value and necessity of student 1:1 programs. Some of the goals of the program are to break down “the digital divide,” assure each girl has equal access to technology, seamlessly integrate technology into classroom lessons and enrichment activities, and facilitate the teaching and learning of individualized content. Students now have the opportunity to create multimedia in the context of their learning, organize their class work, and excavate data and facts from digital sources. Apps in the classroom allow girls to learn and demonstrate understanding with different modalities whether a video, voice recording, or a digital annotation of a paper journal. In 6th grade, all students undergo an orientation for the responsible use of the device. As girls progress through the grades and receive more training, they gain more freedom in taking home the device and the variety of apps they may use.

    Robotics and Technovation Clubs
    Both robotics and Technovation are designed to spark excitement about programming and technology. Robotics Club follows the First Lego League curriculum, and Technovation teams are part of a global app coding competition. In robotics, girls work in teams to design, build, and program a robot to maneuver or pick up small Lego obstacles. Their robot must compete against other robots to do the same tasks. In Technovation, girls strategize, design, and code an app. Additionally, they must write a business plan and go through an “ideation” process to prove how they will market and sell their app. In both clubs, girls must collaborate in teams to research a problem in the community that ties into a particular theme, then derive an innovative solution. In both clubs, girls are taught valuable life skills, such as learning to work on a team, competing under pressure, and maintaining good sportswomanship. Furthermore, girls learn they can be successful not only in coding and robotics, but can also have leadership positions in these fields. Several JMSG robotics alumnae have gone on to be the only girls on their “all-boys” high school robotics teams, leading these teams as well.

    Tinkering Stations
    At Cornerstone, during morning break, or even between classes, you can see girls deconstruct devices, build and use tools, and play at the Tinkering Stations in the front hall. They create with robotics and have the opportunity to become comfortable in roles not necessarily associated with girls. Although learning through play is not a new concept in education, it is an effective learning method that enhances critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Tinkering is responsible for bringing us new technology, prototypes, works of art, breakthroughs in film, and methods of improving what already exists. Spatial awareness, mechanical reasoning, invention, exploration, experimentation, risk-taking, systematic questioning, self-monitoring, self-correction, and creativity are all a part of tinkering. Nothing quite surpasses watching a 6th grader step up to a Tinkering Station before 9:00 a.m., taking that brave leap to see if her idea will turn out the way she hopes.