SMS Dean of Students Presents at Wake Young Women's Leadership Academy
Posted October 26, 2012
Recently, Saint Mary’s Associate Head and Dean of Students, Josette Huntress Holland, was invited to the Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy (WYWLA) to talk about best practices around girls and discipline. Since its inception as Wake County’s first public school for girls, WYWLA has been embraced by Saint Mary’s as a fellow educator of girls, and Saint Mary’s has reached out to lend its expertise, offer its support and work in partnership with WYWLA for the benefit of girls and girls education. Dean Holland’s presentation, “Navigating the Grey: Effective Discipline for Girls” to the WYWLA faculty this month, was just one example of the growing relationship between these institutions.
In her presentation, Dean Holland shared the “mission” positive discipline at Saint Mary’s, emphasizing the school’s commitment to helping students grow as responsible young women by giving them the tools they need to take healthy risks, make good choices and develop as positive leaders and role models. This commitment is reflected in the expectations of behavior both in and out of the classroom, the strong adherence to the school’s long-standing Honor Code and a proactive model for discipline that embraces the challenges facing adolescent girls.
In her presentation, Dean Holland shared current findings about girls’ development and the need to consider these when building a successful model of discipline for girls. She cited the work of experts including Aaron White, Ph.D., brain researcher at Duke University and author “Keeping Adolescents Healthy,” Dr. Leonard Sax, psychologist, family physician and author of “Why Gender Matters,” and JoAnn Deak, educator, psychologist and author of “Girls Will Be Girls: Raising Confident and Courageous Daughters.”
Dean Holland discussed how understanding current research on brain development, adolescent behavior and gender differences helped to inform the system of discipline implemented at Saint Mary’s – a system that emphasizes the needs of teenage girls and demonstrates an understanding of those needs. The Saint Mary’s model allows the school to take advantage of teachable moments, foster positive and healthy relationships among students and adults and inspires positive behavior modification. It is designed to build trust through authentic support of girls and effective communication among students, teachers, administrators and parents.
The opportunity to share our best practices around discipline with WYWLA was a rewarding one for Dean Holland, who looks forward to more opportunities to partner with the school and its educators. By working together with other institutions for the benefit of all girls, we embody our mission, we live our core values and we extend our ability to empower more girls on their journey to becoming young women.