GIRLS' Research

Research Lives in Our Classrooms and Our Pedagogy

Research informs everything Hewitt teachers do every day. Research lives in our classrooms and our pedagogy, and our teachers coach each other through professional learning communities and peer-led workshops that sustain our daily commitment to a girl-centric education. Every teacher at Hewitt understands the research on why girls learn best in collaborative environments that support exploration, experimentation, and play. Each teacher also has ready access to a variety of resources and opportunities, both on-site and off-campus, to support mission-aligned, age-appropriate, and discipline-specific curricular design and lesson planning.

Meet Our Experts

Jessica Lahey

Jessica Lahey writes about education, parenting, and child welfare for The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. She is the author of The New York Times bestseller The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed. Lahey teaches high school English and writing in a drug rehabilitation center for adolescents in Vermont, and her next book, The Addiction Inoculation: Raising Healthy Kids in a Culture of Dependence, will be released in 2020.

In The Gift of Failure, Lahey advocates that allowing young people to experience disappointment and frustration helps them develop into independent and resilient adults. Informed by her work, Hewitt encourages students to recognize moments of failure as opportunities to iterate, problem solve, and ultimately achieve success. Hewitt’s faculty, staff, and families draw on Lahey’s expertise and guidance as they empower Hewitt girls and young women to embrace healthy risk-taking and build resilience in the face of setbacks. 
 

Barb Golub

Barb Golub began her career as a teacher in New York City. She went on to work as a literacy consultant with the Teachers College Reading & Writing Project (TCRWP), where she supported teachers across the country—and the world—with research-based approaches to helping children learn how to read and write. Along with Lucy Calkins and Kristine Mraz, Golub contributed to TCRWP’s Heinemann Units of Study. She is the co-author of Infusing Grammar into the Writing Workshop: A Guide for K-6 Teachers

Golub collaborates with Hewitt’s lower school faculty to develop reading and writing practices that emphasize student voice and choice. She works with our teachers on modeling effective writing strategies and using student writing to create personalized feedback and assignments. Golub also coaches Hewitt teachers as they engage their students in deep and meaningful conversations about the books they read and helps design individualized reading conferences that give Hewitt students the chance to participate in setting their own reading goals. 
 

Naomi Katz

Naomi Katz is the author of Beautiful: Being an Empowered Young Woman and the visionary behind Her Wisdom, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating the uniqueness of women’s leadership. She is an educator who provides tools for women and girls to redefine culture by reclaiming the language they use to talk about themselves. Naomi has worked with young women for over 20 years on four continents. Inspired by the indigenous practices of women, she has traveled the world studying ancient wisdom. 

Naomi Katz lends her support and experience to Hewitt as we build an ever-more inclusive sense of belonging in our school community. Her guidance has been instrumental in helping Hewitt establish safe and supportive spaces for students to engage in identity exploration and cross-cultural and cross-racial dialogue. Katz also brings her expertise on girls’ social and emotional needs to her work with Hewitt’s upper school faculty as they develop advisory curriculum designed to promote a positive sense of self and respect for others. 
 

Charlotte Jacobs

Dr. Jacobs is the co-director of the Independent School Teaching Residency program at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and co-author of Teaching Girls: How Teachers and Parents Can Reach Their Brains and Hearts. Her research interests focus on issues of identity development and gender in education concerning adolescent girls of color, teacher education and diversity, and youth participatory action research. Dr. Jacobs also serves as the executive director of the Girls Justice League, a non-profit organization supporting the social, educational, and economic rights of girls in Philadelphia. 

An accomplished researcher, writer, and educator, Dr. Jacobs is an expert on the many ways in which girls’ gendered, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic identities affect their lives at school. Dr. Jacobs works with the Hewitt community to support positive identity development in our girls and young women and consults with our faculty, staff, and parents on how to help students build confidence and a positive sense of self in the face of gender stereotypes.  
 

Rachel Simmons

Rachel Simmons is the author of The New York Times bestsellers Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, and The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence. The cofounder of Girls Leadership, she is an experienced curriculum writer and educator. Rachel is a regular contributor to Good Morning America and TIME, and her writing has appeared in The New York Times,The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Slate.

As Hewitt’s Girls’ Research Scholar in Residence, Rachel Simmons works with faculty throughout the year on strategic projects to support young women’s leadership development, social media engagement, parent education and partnership, and our girl-centric learning culture. A leading expert on girls’ social-emotional wellness, Simmons works regularly with our faculty, students, and families, and generates custom-designed programming for the Hewitt community.

At Hewitt, Rachel has been charged with converting cutting edge research on girls into parent education, professional development modules, and classroom curriculum. An expert commentator on popular culture as it affects and is shaped by girls, Rachel translates developments in popular culture—especially social media—to keep the Hewitt community informed and up to date on trends affecting girls’ development. Rachel’s work at Hewitt centers on developing a girl’s “inner resume:” the traits and skills she needs for emotional intelligence, self-advocacy, healthy risk taking, and resilience. Finally, Rachel is working to expose and connect Hewitt to thought leaders on girls and young women, thereby helping Hewitt redefine what a girls’ school education means today.

Lisa Damour

Lisa Damour, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, teacher, speaker, consultant, and the executive director of Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls. She is the author of the award-winning New York Times bestseller Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood. Her new book, Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls, was published in February 2019. Dr. Damour writes the monthly Adolescence column for the Well Family section of The New York Times and is a regular contributor at CBS News. 

An expert on the social-emotional and cognitive development of girls and young women, Dr. Damour collaborates regularly with the Hewitt community, drawing on years of clinical experience and the latest research to provide sound, practical guidance to our families, faculty, and staff. At Hewitt, she works closely with lower school teachers to prepare for parent conferences and with middle school advisors on supporting parents and students with healthy, actionable feedback. In the upper school, she has led workshops for students on stress, healthy romantic choices, and the transition to college. Dr. Damour speaks with Hewitt families each year on strategies for raising healthy and whole girls and young women.
 

Carl Honoré

“Slow movement” expert Carl Honoré, is the author of many books, including In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed. An award-winning writer, broadcaster and TED speaker, Honoré travels the world teaching individuals and organizations how to power forward by slowing down.

Honoré’s work with the Hewitt community has influenced the development of a new schedule and wellness programming in support of mindful learning, and his workshops for “slow parenting in the fast city” are a key part of Hewitt’s parent education program. In 2016, Honoré joined Hewitt’s Board of Trustees, where he serves as an important reminder to us all of the need to live life fully, slowly, and deeply rather than succumbing to the fast pace of the city and world today.
 

Applying the Research in Every Division

Lower School

Lower school teachers are lifelong learners. Our faculty members passionately keep current with the latest research on girls. Their commitment to understanding the developmental path of girls in kindergarten to grade 4 informs their curriculum, their lesson planning, and their daily interactions with girls and their families.

From the very start, A Hewitt girl has both the freedom to let her mind engage new ideas and explore fresh perspectives and the certainty of a carefully plotted pedagogical path to follow, intentionally designed to carry her to places where she learns better and achieves more.

Hewitt lower school classrooms emphasize healthy relationships, collaboration, storytelling, building, creating, and play, providing girls a space to learn cooperatively with other girls and creating the ideal conditions for learning that research recommends.

Middle School

Middle school programs build on research. Our approach turns on girls’ emotional, physiological, and intellectual development during early adolescence. Hewitt’s faculty members take very seriously their role as teachers of girls as well as teachers of a particular subject.

When our middle school teachers group Hewitt girls in teams to pursue a project or solve a problem, they are not just following a pedagogical trend. Rather, they are drawing on facts and findings and years of experience that definitively demonstrate how to best teach and reach girls.

Our middle school teachers love working with girls who are in the midst of this extraordinary developmental phase, and they employ a pedagogy that is rooted in the best research on girls' social-emotional and neuropsychological growth.

Upper School

Upper school research-driven programs intersect with the story of each young woman. Our carefully designed classes provide ample opportunity for young women to grow in mind as well as heart.

Research reveals that girls who feel known and valued through trial and triumph learn more enthusiastically, think more adventurously, and grow into young women who thrive in college, career, and life itself.

Research also shows that high-achieving young women are socialized to develop perfectionistic thinking and fixed mindset, in which they doubt their ability to grow from mistakes and failures. Hewitt faculty are trained to design curriculum and implement pedagogy that explicitly fosters a growth mindset in classrooms that are cooperative, collaborative, and relevant to young women.