Our Sisters’ School (OSS) is an independent, tuition-free, non-sectarian middle school that educates and inspires economically disadvantaged girls from the New Bedford, MA area. OSS offers the perfect intersection between education and my Health: Science, Society and Policy major. OSS provides unique experiences to students whose economic status disables them from obtaining certain opportunities. Through providing a rigorous and engaging environment at no costs to families, they start to assuage the equity gaps within education. OSS reaches beyond the academic scope. Through discussions with current students, I learned that they feel grateful for their teachers’ commitment to their learning and the small knit community that fosters meaningful relationships. They relish nautical learning at the Community Boating Center where they learn how to sail, and their fitness class where they are challenged mentally and physically. In other conversations with some students from the 8th grade graduating class, they shared that they will miss attending classes, community meetings and lunch in their outdoor classroom.
OSS shares my commitment to improving my greater community, and while I have an established relationship with them as an alumna, I am now gaining professional experience under a team of passionate advocates and educators. My duties thus far have included:
- Supporting current students in their academic and social lives
- Helping the Summer Program Director design learning experiences, prep materials, organize and set up lessons for the day, and instruct and support students
- Supporting the Creative Suite: STEAM and Arts program.
- Supporting health teachers and the health curriculum by attending classes, working as a mentor, and observing and interacting with students
- Working in the Graduate Support Program to help support, communicate with, and share resources with OSS graduates as they transition into high school, college and beyond
- Setting up and facilitating the annual Festival of Art and Achievements
- Assisting the weeklong “Circus-Up” Summer Program
My favorite experience so far was assisting their Festival of Arts and Achievement, where students showcased over 1200 pieces of artwork. The distinctive Creative Suite Program at OSS allows for different modes of art where students can fully express themselves. The night was filled with artwork, but also showcased different groups such as African Dance, Step, Guitar and Percussion instruments. The 8th grade class even orchestrated their own personal galleries that included their work from all four years. This event was open to the greater community and truly demonstrated the commitment of each OSS student.
Moving forward, I will support their summer programming throughout June, July and August. OSS is a private institution, so they rely heavily on outside donations and volunteer work. My help as an intern allows them to contribute their money to their programming, which directly helps their current and future students. They produce change every day as they inspire and educate the future leaders of the world. Coming up, I am honored and excited to attend a conference in Boston on June 27 hosted by the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. The goal of the event is to gather educators, researchers, advocates, authors, and practitioners from around the world to share ideas about “how best to prepare and empower girls to be ethical, globally minded change-makers who lead with courage, competence, and empathy.” At this event, OSS’ Creativity Director, Tobey Eugenio, and a few student will be presenting their outdoor classroom. I will be able to not only attend this conference as a product of an all-girls school, but be inspired as a future change-maker as well.