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 an 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, and 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.

  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math)

    Women are traditionally under-represented in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art/design and math) fields. The problem begins as early as elementary school when boys dominate computer classes and math 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 other 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 lack of representation 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 STEAM careers. 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.
  • 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 skills 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, 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.
  • Cornerstone

    To truly prioritize student engagement, both academically and socially, we created Cornerstone, time before the start of each school day for girls to settle, connect, and launch. Looking at the research on adolescent sleep patterns, we redesigned our schedule so that even though 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. Formal offerings include Band, Math Club, and Yearbook. Girls can also drop into open-ended activities like Studio Art, Tinkering Stations, and Math Games. And, a great many girls prefer the luxury of an unscheduled morning time so they can meet with teachers, connect with friends at Yard Games, or catch up on quiet reading in Library Lounge. 
  • 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, and leaders. Our responsive culture and inclusive community are 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.
  • 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 by bolstering their learning at JMSG, into high school, and well beyond.. The class opens with an introduction to brain science and learning styles, and girls are taught to begin adopting a growth mindset: the belief that our abilities can be developed through effort and effective learning strategies. 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. This class provides organizational techniques, note-taking and homework strategies, and guided practice in self-advocacy.