Whole Girl Education National Conference
Building Connected Communities through Whole Girl Education
March 16 - 18, 2023  ·  Barnard College

Student Leadership Network invites you to join us for an exploration of Whole Girl theory and practice, and the ways we can foster authentic connections in schools. This conference is for school leaders, teachers, and educators of girls and gender-expansive youth seeking to build connected communities on a foundation of equity. Workshops and discussions will explore the critical theme of connection.

This year’s conference theme is CONNECTED COMMUNITIES and interactive breakout sessions will explore this theme with practical applications for the classroom, school culture, and broader community engagement. This event will bring together educators from across the country to hear from leading voices in education, including:

  • Dr. Monique Couvson, the award-winning author of Pushout and a social justice scholar focused on education, civil rights, and juvenile and criminal justice.
  • Melissa Kilby, the head of Girl Up and a global thought leader on girls’ leadership, youth activism, and non-profit management.
  • Riya Goel, author, consultant, and Barnard College student.
  • Dr. Bettina Love, the award-winning author and professor focused on strengthening public education through abolitionist teaching, Black joy, and anti-racism
  • Yolonda Marshall, the CEO of Student Leadership Network, has committed nearly two decades of her life working to ensure that children growing up in underserved communities across the country receive the education they deserve.
  • Rachel Simmons, bestselling author, educator, and executive coach helping people be more authentic, assertive, and resilient.

Become a Sponsor:

Are you interested in promoting your organization as a conference sponsor? Click here or email us to learn more about sponsorship levels and the benefits of partnering with us in this way!

For more information email us at YWLNNationalConference@studentleadershipnetwork.org

8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Pre-registration required: Visit The Young Women's Leadership School of Queens to see the model in action and hear from principal, Mala Panday about her vision for connection in the school. Transportation & lunch is provided.
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Follow signs from the front gate to registration where you will get your name tag and welcome bag and can ask any questions you may have
3:00 PM - 3:45 PM
3:45 PM - 4:45 PM
4:45 PM - 6:00 PM
4:45 PM - 6:00 PM
Enjoy drinks and light bites as you connect with your fellow participants.
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Enjoy breakfast and coffee in the Event Oval.
10:00 AM - 10:15 AM
10:00 AM - 10:15 AM
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM
Melissa Kilby, CEO of Girl Up and Riya Goel, author, consultant and student at Barnard College will discuss how we strengthen resilience and agency in students by helping them to think and act globally
11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
11:30 AM - 12:45 PM
Choose from several exciting options for your first breakout workshop.
12:45 PM - 1:15 PM
12:45 PM - 1:15 PM
Enjoy lunch in the Event Oval
1:15 PM - 1:30 PM
1:15 PM - 1:30 PM
1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
1:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Rachel Simmons, author, educator and coach will chat, with Senior Managing Director of Girls' Education, Laura Rebell Gross about the importance of building strong connections in the classroom, school wide, and to the community.
2:15 PM - 3:30 PM
2:15 PM - 3:30 PM
Choose from an exciting list of workshops for your second breakout session.
3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Join our incredible exhibitors in the Oval lobby and complete a bingo card for a chance to win a prize!
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
4:00 PM - 5:15 PM
Choose from an exciting list of workshops for breakout session #3
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
6:30 PM - 8:00 PM
More information to follow
9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Enjoy coffee and breakfast in the lobby and Event Oval.
9:30 AM - 10:30 AM
10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
10:45 AM - 12:00 PM
12:15 PM - 12:45 PM
12:15 PM - 12:45 PM

Rachel Simmons

Rachel Simmons is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out, The Curse of the Good Girl, and Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy and Fulfilling Lives.

Riya Goel

Riya Goel is an Economics and Data Science student at Barnard College, Columbia University. She is the author of The Gen-Z Book , and works in consulting and venture capital, helping brands cater their strategy and efforts towards Gen-Z

Yolonda Marshall

Yolonda has commited nearly two decades of her life working to ensure that children growing up in underserved communities across the country receive the education they deserve.

Melissa Kilby

Melissa Kilby is the head of Girl Up and a global thought leader on girls' leadership, youth activism and non-profit management.

Dr. Monique Couvson

Dr. Monique Couvson (formerly Monique W. Morris) is the award-winning author of Push Out and Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues. She is also the president and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color and founder of the National Black Women's Justice Institute.

Dr. Bettina L. Love

Dr. Bettina L. Love is the award-winning author of We Want to Do More Than Survive. Her work and research is at the intersection of disrupting education reform and strengthening public education through abolitionist teaching, Black joy, and anti-racism.

No records found.

Platinum Level
Gold Level
Barnard College, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Location: Barnard College, 3009 Broadway, New York, NY 10027
Breakout Session #1: Friday, 3/17, 11:30-12:45pm

All Aboard! Strategies for Onboarding and Engaging New Staff

Berta Fogerson, Young Women’s Preparatory Network

The key to engaging and ultimately retaining new leaders and staff to a single gender campus is to create a transition process that includes a strong onboarding component. This session will take participants through a menu of strategies and ideas from which to develop an effective introductory learning experience for new employees that will promote alignment with the campus mission and goals and support program fidelity and sustainability

Milstein LL0016

The Art of Connection: Building Connected Communities Through Creativity

Tiffany Ramos, Lindsay Roberts Greene, Taylor Symone Jackson, Arts Ignite

In this session, participants will examine learning standards and strategies for building a classroom community through the arts. Led by Teaching Artists and staff members from Arts Ignite, an international arts education organization based in NYC, participants will explore activities through dance that optimize student learning and provide an arts-integrated framework to promote deeper classroom engagement and positive relationship-building. Educators will leave with transferable takeaways to use in their own learning spaces and creative strategies to strengthen classroom community. Come ready to learn and to move!

Milstein LL001

Ignite Girls’ Interest in Advocacy With The Global Girls’ Bill of Rights

Kate Lord, She’s the First and Christina Mallie, Colors of Connection

Over 1,000 girls from more than 34 countries united in 2019 to create the Global Girls’ Bill of Rights, a declaration of the rights all girls are entitled to experience. With the support of the nonprofit She’s the First, a panel of 15 global activists worked together to finalize the document and present the bill to the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations. At launch, the Global Girls' Bill of Rights reached over 150 million people worldwide. This workshop uses the Global Girls’ Bill of Rights as a lens to approach gender-based advocacy work and provides step-by-step guidance to teach girls how to launch an advocacy campaign in their local community.

Milstein LL017

You, Me, and Menes? 

Neonne Ameer and Jennifer Polanco-Calderon, Student Leadership Network

How do you talk to your students about menstrual health? How do you address the stigma around periods? In this session, we explore the importance of teaching students about menstrual health and identify strategies for reducing stigma in verbal and non-verbal ways. 

Milstein LL018

What’s Your Style? Exploring Six Leadership Styles through the Principals of The Young Women’s Leadership Network Skills 

Laura Rebell Gross, Student Leadership Network with Catherine Mitchell, Devon Eisenberg, Aisha Shepard, Mala Panday, Allison Persad, and Colleen McGeehan, The Young Women’s Leadership Schools

A major part of effective leadership is tapping into one's own strengths and building upon your personal style. While we may admire and learn from colleagues and other leaders, we truly thrive when we lean into who we are as people and as leaders. In this session, each of the six principals of The Young Women's Leadership Schools will share what they've identified as their own personal leadership style and how they implement it through self care, care for others, and navigating the many challenges they face while staying true to their values.

The workshop will include a panel discussion, facilitated by Senior Managing Director of Girls' Education at Student Leadership network, Laura Rebell Gross, and will include small groups discussion based on self-identified leadership styles. Participants will leave this workshop with a better understanding of how you lead and how to make that style most effective for you in your work.

Diana LL103

Child Mind Institute: Tools for Fostering Strong and Genuine Connections with Students 

Breanna Myers and Lily Gabay, Child Mind Institute

Research has shown that supportive student-teacher relationships have a positive impact on both academic success and social-emotional well-being. In this session, participants will be learning a new approach to fostering strong and genuine connections with students and walk away with concrete ideas on how to adapt this approach into their classrooms today. Guided by the principles of trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and behavioral interventions, Child Mind Institute's Mental Health Skills Building Curriculum arms educators with the tools they need to facilitate positive conversations around mental health and student well-being, and provides students a safe and supportive space to open up.

Diana LL104

How Restorative Are You? Practices to Create Positive Culture
Nicole Hamilton, Culturvate Consulting

In this interactive session we will take inventory of the ingredients needed to create a positive culture! Come prepared to reflect, journal, role play, circle up and put new skills into practice. This session is applicable for all educators, leaders and anyone looking to shift towards more restorative ways of communicating.

Milstein 111

Breakout Session #2: Friday, 3/17, 2:15-3:30pm

What Comes after High School Graduation? How Whole Girl Education Shows Up in Stories of College Success

Tyra Crosbie and Tyra Riedemonn, Gettysburg College

The session identifies the way that Whole Girl Education Practices of Connection, Voice, and Academic Rigor support students to develop competencies that serve them in their careers after high school. The session is led by two alumni of The Young Women’s Leadership Schools and uses storytelling and practical activities to explore how educators can leverage Whole Girl Education Practices to empower students across all definitions of success?

Diana LL104

Everything is Transformed: A Guide to Residencies and Retention,

Devin Chowske, The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria

Antoine Lavoisier laid the foundation for the law of the conservation of mass when he mused, “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed." In 2023, school leaders should ask if the same can be said of faculty skills as we experience a workforce in transition. In our breakout session, we will explore methods for training staff in residency; providing leadership opportunities to lighten the load for senior staff; and off-boarding effectively to cultivate staff alumni networks. Participants will have the opportunity to create mastery-based rubrics for staff, organizational scaffolds for leadership, robust self-assessment cycles for teachers, and opportunities for engagement with former faculty. Connection is a choice, one that assures us no investment in our community will ever be lost - come be part of our transformation!

Diana LL103

Social-Emotional Empowerment: A Path to Meaningful Connection

Medina Del Castillo, The Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem and Nyeesha D. Williams, My-Robin

This breakout session will provide an understanding of how social-emotional skill- building through interactive discussions and activities with the students can result in better connections with each other, higher self-esteem, and greater feelings of connectedness with adults in their lives. Workshop leaders will describe a 2021-2022 social-emotional skills coaching program at the Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem and its results, and participants will engage in activities that can be applied in their schools and classrooms.

Milstein 111

Funny Girls: Leadership Skills Through Improv!

Sara Ach, Jill Frutkin, and Jenny Raymond, Funny Girls

Laugh, learn and lead at the same time? YES, AND cultivate leadership skills, including risk-taking and collaboration through improv! We’ll take you through a wild journey of creating characters and plot on the spot in a supportive interactive setting, while honing the skills of collaboration and empathy. We welcome introverts, extraverts, improv newbies, and leadership pros alike. This workshop is for teachers who want to practice and discuss building classroom rapport, along with building leadership in both themselves and their students.

Milstein LL001

Can You See Us Now?: Black Girls Navigating Predominantly White Institutions

Sarah Odell, PhD, Hewitt School and Terri N. Watson, PhD, The City College of New York 

Too often education researchers proffer the experiences of Black girls in schools as either a subset of scholarship centered on a) girls or b) Black children. Meaning, Black girls’ lived experiences in the schoolhouse - based on the intersection of race, gender, and class - is obfuscated in extant literature. This (un)knowingly makes their nuanced realities indiscernible and thereby difficult to remedy. This case study will shine a needed light - and an intersectional lens - on Black girlhood in the schoolhouse. We will employ a mixed methods approach to elucidate the lived experiences of five Black girls who attend an exclusive independent school in New York City. This study shows how Black girls can thrive in predominantly White spaces.

Milstein LL016

Designing Schools FOR Girls, Not OF Girls: The Whole Girl Education Framework

Sarah Boldin and Drew Higginbotham, Student Leadership Network

Come join a discussion about designing schools that optimize the educational experiences of girls and gender-expansive youth. Why is it important to create educational opportunities that center the experiences of girls and gender-expansive youth? What are the particular considerations for designing schools that serve girls and gender-expansive youth? What promising strategies and mindsets are you seeing in your schools and communities that allow girls’ and gender-expansive youth to flourish? Share in a conversation about centering student voice and fostering a gender-conscious culture of belonging as key components in girls’ education.

Milstein LL017

Read Alliance: Building Connections through Literacy, Mentorship, and Employment

Marcos Clander and Rossy Francisco, Read Alliance

Read Alliance’s workshop connects to the sub-theme by describing how young people employed by Read Alliance, as individual reading tutors for their younger peers, form deeper connections within their community, and in the process build a sense of ownership and empowerment to positively impact the lives of children in their neighborhood. In this community empowerment model of programming, teens are trained to provide phonics-based intervention which helps propel academic success for early elementary students, and also to serve as mentors and role models to striving readers at nearby elementary schools. By providing meaningful employment for young people - in their own neighborhoods - they are also advancing their postsecondary opportunities through robust work experience, resume building, and additional professional development support. The opportunity to work in an environment that elevates the power of each young person as a role model and changemaker is instrumental to developing long-term strengths and that promote social and emotional learning well into the future.

Milstein LL018

Using National Datasets to Enhance Teaching and Leading in Schools

Aaron Hawn, Student Leadership Network

How does your school district or neighborhood compare to nearby communities on key factors in education, income, poverty, gender equity, migration, and community resilience? How can knowing a bit more about our communities extend the work of teaching, advocacy, and communication? Participants will explore these questions, walking through an interactive survey of free online tools, lesson plans, and data visualizations with plenty of time to explore resources on their own or together. Be ready to dive deep into community data and uncover new insights, inequities, and inspiration for classroom projects.

Milstein 113

Breakout Session #3: Friday, 3/17, 4:00-5:15pm

Connecting Changemakers: How to Partner Student Leaders and Community Non-Profits

Laura Dunn; Lauren Shenkman; Sasha Hori; Leia Karczmer; Tamanna Begum; Allison Gaia, Riley’s Way

Riley’s Way Foundation is a non-profit organization that empowers a youth-led kindness movement, providing young people with the programs, support, and inclusive community they need to thrive as changemakers. We envision a future where kind leaders build a better world. In all of our programs, students take the lead in focusing on issues they care about and partner with community-based non-profits to make that change a reality. During this session, Riley’s Way staff and Call For Kindness Fellows (current high school students) will share case studies and best practices of how to form and sustain these kinds of impactful partnerships and how to apply for the www.CallForKindness.org.

Diana LL103

Soon Comes Happiness: Healing Centered Education in Practice

Charlotte Vinson, The Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx

In this session, participants will learn actionable strategies that they can take to their classrooms to create not only trauma-informed spaces, but spaces that foster healing and community for their students and themselves. Topics discussed will include a refresher on trauma-informed vs. healing-centered education, identifying and combating "savior" mentalities, and classroom management vs community creation. Practices gained will include opening and closing structures in the classroom, centering joy in both content and environment, and making socioemotional support foundational as opposed to ancillary in the classroom and curriculum. Engagement will include coloring and games as well!

Milstein LL016

Influencing Innovation Through Design Thinking

Aminka Belvitt, The ForUsGirls Foundation

Influencing Innovative Young Thinkers: Using Design Thinking As A Tool of Engagement will provide participants the opportunity to activate their creativity, critical problem solving skills to accelerate futuristic thinking; to ideate design solutions with inspiring and empowering active citizenship in the minds of adolescent girl students. Participants of this workshop will leave with a deep understanding of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a resource for civic engagement and leadership development and the application of Design Thinking as a methodology to human-centered design solutions to be applied in the classroom.

Milstein LL017

It’s a Marathon: Building Community, SEL, and College and Career Readiness Through a Seven Year Advisory Model

Rose Agamegwa and Rachel Knopfler, Girls Academic Leadership Academy

Our workshop focuses on the Full-Span (6th-12th grade) Advisory. Students staying in one Advisory for the full 7 years at our school creates, promotes, and connects our students to their school community. Building this space of trust, continuity, and family has been fulfilling for our students and families, as well as our staff. After opening in 2016 and spending 7 years perfecting our Advisory program, guess what?? It still ain't perfect!!! But- it is a viable, goals-oriented and driven labor of love that has truly held center space on our campus. We would love to share our story, journey, highs and lows, and practical practicum that can be thought about, talked about, and adapted to fit a variety of school programs.

Diana LL104

No Breath No Justice: A Cross-disciplinary approach to the integration STEM and Dance

Claire Tunkel and Jennifer Loving, STEM from Dance

How can STEM be more creative for my students? How can I model for them how arts are part of everyday life? We take the air we breathe for granted. Breathing is a natural human behavior. But what happens if our pulmonary system is obstructed by environmental factors rooted in inequity?

In this project-based workshop, participants will experience how STEM From Dance uses dance to excite girls of color about exploring STEM fields. Through a collaborative learning experience, you will acquire tools to empower your students to be more curious, creative, and dream big. You will walk away with activities incorporating movement and technology and get you excited and more confident in facilitating cross-disciplinary work that amplifies student voices.

Milstein LL001

Bucket Drumming to Build Connected Communities

Ronnie Nissinboim, The Young Women’s Leadership School of Brooklyn

This session will introduce you to group bucket drumming as an effective way to build community and create a culture of connection, collaboration, respect, and listening. This session requires no musical background! Group drumming has been around for centuries and has the ability to bring people together, reduce stress, encourage teamwork, enhance listening skills, and so much more. Bucket drumming has become an extremely popular medium and is relevant to many of our students' lives. Participants will collaborate through active music-making and connect rhythmically through improvisation, exploration, call-and-response, and other structured activities/games that can be used in your own programs and classrooms. 

Milstein 111

Biases and Misconceptions in Girls' Education & How it Affects the College Application Process

Jennifer Polanco Calderon, The Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx and Neonne Ameer, The Young Women’s Leadership School of Queens

Girls' education is often impacted by biases and misconceptions that lead to unequal opportunities and discrimination. In this session, we will discuss a few key areas where these biases and misconceptions are evident especially in the College Application Process as well as some strategies that can be used to address and overcome them. The presenters are Directors of College Counseling working in The Young Women’s Leadership Schools in NYC with two different communities. Participants will gain meaningful strategies and approaches to supporting their students (and their families) on their journey to college. 

Milstein LL018

Breakout Session #4: Saturday, 3/18, 10:45-12:00pm

Cultivating Strategic Connections to Support Students’ Professional, Educational & Personal Development

Tiffany Hervey & Shannon Tyler-Garces, Girls Academic Leadership Academy

As students connect more with their community, they learn more about themselves and who they aspire to become. This workshop will walk the educator through the student's lens as they transition from underclass students to upperclass students, discussing how each interaction that the student makes with the community around them will lead them closer to fulfilling their professional, educational, and personal goals. Educators will learn their integral role in connecting students to the possibilities beyond the school walls.

Diana LL103

You’re Invited! Creative Ways to Bring Your Community Into Your Classroom 

Gaynell Bellizan, Young Women’s Leadership Academy Fort Worth

Are you looking for ways to add more community involvement to your campus? We will explore ways we have leveraged community members in career development, mentoring, and public speaking activities using practical resources to encourage more excitement and community involvement in your learning environment.

Milstein LL016

Twinning & Cross-Classroom Collaboration to Strengthen Belonging

Catherine Del Castillo, Girls Leadership

The Twinning Model is the creation and trading of student projects and reflections between two classes with the purpose of deepening understanding of a specific topic resulting in the strengthening of perspective-taking, empathy and self-awareness. This learning model has been used by Girls Leadership to build connections on a national level and is easily adapted to nurture collaboration between classrooms, grades, schools and communities. It fosters connections between classrooms by engaging groups in content at a social, emotional level and leads to a stronger sense of representation in curriculum. This workshop aims to be experiential and hands on. After a brief overview of the model, participants will have the opportunity to simulate the process while digging into the theme of “Belonging”.

Milstein LL001

Relationship Health for the Next Generation

Nalicia Williams, One Love

The goal of this session is to increase participants’ ability to create safe spaces where young people can explore and talk about relationships, ultimately impacting connection in the classroom. One Love will share our curricular planning resources that provide a practical framework for implementing engaging lessons about healthy and unhealthy relationships, including platonic, romantic, teammates, adult/student relationships and more. Workshop participants will be equipped with the tools needed to empower young people to build skills to support healthy relationships.

Milstein 111

More than a Special Event: The Importance of Ritual in Building Connected Communities
Taylor Jones, Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls

In this session, participants will explore the Whole Girl Education Practice of Rituals and Traditions. We will look at how rituals and traditions can cultivate a sense of belonging and connection among students and between students and their schools. 

Participants will engage in a bonding activity to cultivate the feeling of connectedness and engage in group work to analyze research about rituals and traditions. Participants will leave this workshop with a template to help them plan and implement a ritual or experience at their school.

Milstein LL018

Growing Together as a Whole: Community building, Co-generation, & Shared Power in Inclusion Settings with GIVE

Leigh Wells, Community-Word Project; Nami Kagami, ArtsConnection

In this hands-on workshop we'll use the arts to learn and reflect on promising practices related to community building, co-generation, and shared power among students and facilitators in inclusion settings. We'll explore GIVE (Growing Inclusivity for Vibrant Engagement) resources focused on doing this work with students and provide some jumping off points for everything else this free set of resources has to offer.

Milstein 113

Voice & Connection: A Strong Foundation For Student Learning

Rashida Heslop and Caitlyn Griffith, Student Leadership Network

For many girls and gender expansive youth of color, school can be a place where they feel isolated and powerless. As educators, we have the ability to change that experience for our students. When educators leverage strategies that amplify connection and voice, students are more likely to take ownership of their learning and develop trusting relationships with their peers and adults. In this session, we will discuss specific strategies and methods of increasing opportunities for VOICE and CONNECTION in your classroom, school, or program with transferable takeaways for any work with youth.

Diana LL104