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Highlights from PA Coffee with Head of School
Highlights from PA Coffee with Head of School

Head of School Sarah Pelmas shared her thoughts on Winsor and preparing girls to lead the way during a recent Parents' Association coffee.

Meeting with more than 60 parents at a recent PA coffee, Head of School Sarah Pelmas shared her thoughts on all things Winsor: from the value that comes with enabling girls to take the lead; to the commitment to changing the narrative about pleasing and perfection to ensure that girls know their worth, find their voices and feel empowered to use them.

Your Daughter at the Center: Preparing Girls to Lead the Way

"One of the things I'm most proud of here at Winsor is that the students are seeing that every leader in every area of school life is female."  And they don't necessarily need to be running something, or out in front of their peers, to be a leader. The goal is for her to "know what matters to her.  To do the right thing when no one is looking.  To be a part of a group, and help the group toward its goals."

Top of mind continues to be building resiliency, and creating a climate where students can be "in it for the learning, not for the grade.  In sports and in art, you can see your own improvement. You get constant feedback. The more academic classes can be like that, the closer we'll get to that goal."

Ultimately, "we want your daughter to be the center of everything we do here." To that end, Winsor is rethinking the approach to conferences. "Rather than meeting to talk about her, we want her to be involved in the conversation. We want her to know, 'This is your life. These are your choices. This is your education.' We want to facilitate the conversation so everyone's using the same language and your daughter can be seen on her own terms."

Central to the conversation will be the student's curricular path and how she approaches it.  "What are her learning habits? Her strengths? How curious is she? How resilient? And how can we give her feedback in all these areas...and collectively provide her the opportunities, tools and support to chart the best course to achieve her goals."

Parents will hear more about how Winsor is rethinking conferences later this year.

Winsor's Approach to Wellness

Christina Baudis, wellness and PE teacher, and head of Winsor's newly established Wellness Department, shared an update on her team's holistic approach to social, emotional and physical well being. 

In addition to enhancements to the wellness curriculum and student support, the department is working closely with the Parents' Association to deliver programs relevant to Winsor's diverse community of parents as well as the wellness curriculum. Two of this year's highlights include The Perils of Perfectionism panel, and 21st Century Wellness speaker Dr. Sarah Pitts, Adolescent Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital.

The members of the Wellness Department include:

  • Christina Baudis, Head of the Wellness Department and wellness teacher
  • Lauren Martin, wellness teacher
  • Diane Sneider, Director of Health Services, school nurse and wellness teacher
  • Maddie Warlan, school counselor
  • Laura Vantine, coordinator of academic support

Click here to view Ms. Baudis' presentation. (will link to pdf in finalsite)
Click here to learn more about Winsor's Wellness program, including class information, resources, and blog posts.

Also part of the morning's discussion....

Students Lead Faculty/Staff Meeting

A group of students ran a portion of a March Faculty/Staff meeting.  The six students represented Winsor at the 25th Annual Student Diversity Leadership Conference, held in December in Nashville, as part of the 31st Annual People of Color Conference (PoCC).  Sharing their experience, "They were spectacular," said Ms. Pelmas, marveling at their poise considering "they were in a room full of people whose opinions matters more to them than anyone else's - except yours of course!" 

A Visit with West Coast Alumnae

During a recent visit with alumnae in California, hosted by Leslie Dewan '02, alums shared with Ms. Pelmas how grateful they are for their Winsor education.  Citing confidence and a feeling of empowerment as essential keys to their professional success, Ms. Pelmas reflected, "That's not something you can put into your curriculum. It's a part of the culture. It's just how it works here at Winsor....and our goal is to keep doing more of 'that'."

A note about Leslie: You may recognize Leslie from a feature in a past Winsor Bulletin. Last month, she was featured in National Geographic for her work revolutionizing the nuclear power industry. Click here to view the story.

Recommended Reading

Under Pressure, by Lisa Damour, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Untangled.  At the crux of the book is the question: How do we help girls thrive when the expectations are so high, and yet our culture discourages the same competitive drive and bravado it applauds in young men?

"She doesn't shy away from some essential things," notes Ms. Pelmas. "One is that stress in and of itself isn't a bad thing. We all love a good challenge and a little competition. But it comes at a cost, particularly for girls."

Recommending the reading for all parents, Ms. Pelmas notes two particularly poignant take-aways. First: When emotions are high, a literal 'time out' to let things settle is crucial – "just like you used to do when they were 2!"  Second: "Ensure the values you have are front and center in the home all the time." In this world of non-stop media and shifting perceptions of standards, a steady compass will provide security and a foundation to help your daughters navigate their way in the world.