Julia Morgan School for Girls is committed to creating a challenging and inspiring academic program that encourages each girl to recognize and meet her potential through individualized attention, cooperative learning, and the guidance of expert teachers.

The faculty have developed a thoughful curriculum, and subject areas are taught using a project-based, interdisciplinary approach, designed when possible to integrate disciplines. The relational model is core to what we do at Julia Morgan School, and therefore cooperative learning, creative expression, and valuing each girl is emphasized. 
JMSG believes girls should graduate with a deep sense of social responsibility. The program nurtures each girl’s compassion and sense of social justice in every area of school life. Weekly advising check-ins and activities, all-school assemblies, along with SEL classes, develop girls’ personal and social awareness, teaching them to empathize, give support, and tackle the complex moral issues that arise during adolescence. In academic classes, girls are engaged in explorations of culture, as well as environmental, economic, and ethical issues. Service-learning guest speakers, field trips, and special all-school events such as the annual Gift of Giving event that is a community night of service, provide multiple perspectives and a chance to connect with the larger community.

Highlights of the JMSG Program

List of 5 items.

  • Community Time

    An inclusive, feminist, learning-focused community establishes the conditions for girls’ extraordinary growth and transformation in middle school. The safety, connection, freedom, and purpose they experience at JMSG unlocks girls’ potential as they cross the threshold from childhood to adolescence. Embraced for their most authentic and bold selves in this formative period, girls have a working space to take positive risks, expanding the possibilities for who they can be as young women, learners, leaders. Our responsive culture is constructed by teachers and students together, yielding a vibrant daily experience that engages the whole person. By the end of JMSG each graduate comes to expect no less than her full share of dignity and autonomy balanced with social responsibility.
  • Cornerstone

    To truly prioritize student engagement, both academically and socially, we created Cornerstone: a band of time before the start of each school day for girls to land, connect, and launch. Looking at the research on adolescent sleep patterns, we spent a year redesigning our schedule so that since 2013, while our doors open at 7:30 AM for working parents to drop off their daughters, school does not start until 9:00 AM. The American Academy of Pediatrics has since published a meta-analysis confirming that teenagers indeed experience a shift in their circadian rhythms so they stay up later, making it difficult to wake up let alone function early the next morning. At JMSG, girls experiencing this seismic shift in their biological rhythms have the freedom to determine how best to start their days, choosing from with a range of activities and opportunities intended to facilitate their participation in school life. Formal offerings include Girls in Government, Leadership, and Service; Band; and Yearbook. Girls can also drop into open-ended activities like Art Studio, Tinkering Stations, Math Games (6th only), and High School Prep (8th). And, a great many girls prefer the luxury of an unscheduled morning time so they can conference with teachers in Study Hall, connect with friends at Yard Games, or catch up on quiet reading in Library Lounge depending on the day.
  • STEAM (Science, Technology, English, Art, Math)

    Women are traditionally under-represented in STEAM fields, with the problem beginning as early as elementary school when boys dominate computer classes and clubs. By middle and high school, the trend worsens, and by college girls don’t have the background skills or self-confidence to pursue engineering degrees or pursue STEAM-related careers. The gender disparity in STEAM jobs is especially noteworthy because, on average, STEAM occupations pay significantly more than other private-sector jobs, and the gender gap in pay is actually lower than in non-STEAM sectors. The underrepresentation of women in STEAM jobs means that women are missing out on some of the best-paying occupations in the U.S.

    The mission of the Julia Morgan School for Girls STEAM program is to expose middle school girls to the fields of engineering and technology, and to prepare and develop passion in girls to pursue further education and careers in science, technology, engineering, art/design and math (“STEAM”). Throughout the 3-year program, the course works to demystify the field through methodology combining project-based and experiential learning that inspires creative, critical, and analytical thinking while developing a strong foundation in engineering skills. The course also works to debunk stereotypes about the field by bringing in mentors and discussing messages from the media.
  • GO GIRL (Girls Out Getting Involved in Real Life)

    As a capstone to the JMSG experience, GO GIRL solidifies girls’ understanding of leadership while providing opportunities to apply their leadership learning in the real world. After the 8th grade rafting trip, all field trips in this year are service learning related through GO GIRL, centering on the following strands: Aging with Dignity, Education Matters, Food Justice, and Homelessness in the Bay Area. While the trips are intended to expose girls to a variety of social justice issues, much of the class is devoted to helping girls form their own ideals so that their personal power and promise are linked to a passionate cause they will continue to champion long after JMSG.
  • STARS (Skills to Achieve Real Success)

    STARS is the 6th-grade academic preparation program that equips students with the essential skills to make a successful transition from elementary school to middle school. The class opens with an introduction to brain science, and girls are taught to begin adopting a growth mindset: the belief that our abilities can be developed through effort and effective learning processes. As the year progresses, the STARS teacher coordinates with subject area teachers so students’ actual assignments will be used for practicing the skills they are learning. Based on the most current research, this class provides: organizational techniques, note-taking and homework strategies, and guided practice in self-advocacy. The goal is to place powerful learning tools into students’ hands that will bolster their learning at JMSG, into high school, and well beyond.