Why "Our Sisters"?
During New Bedford's historic whaling era, it was uncommon for young wives to join seafaring husbands on extended voyages. Known as "sister sailors," these brave women were seeking in their day, on the far-flung oceans of the world, precisely what the "sister students" of New Bedford are seeking today, in the classrooms of tomorrow: to sail beyond familiar horizons into unknown oceans of adventure and learning and possibility. "Sister sailors" then. "Sister students" today. Tomorrow? Sister teachers? Sister doctors? Sister scientists? Artists? Journalists? Leaders? Anything is possible.
Why New Bedford?
The need for good schools in New Bedford is critical and growing. Young women who lack a proper education cannot make the complex decisions required by today's marketplace. On the other hand, young women properly educated in the New Bedford of tomorrow can help to turn around our entire community.
Over the past ten years, there has been a national movement in education in favor of single-sex schools, with many educators believing that young girls do better in an atmosphere devoid of the distractions and competition inevitably caused by the presence of boys. Writing in the April 2006 edition of Columbia University's Teachers College Record, Dr. Rosemary Salomone put it this way: "One of the key arguments supporting single-sex programs is that they create an institutional and classroom climate in which female students can express themselves freely and frequently, and develop higher- order thinking skills."
When this happens, when girls perform better in school, in the end we are all better off. For most girls will eventually have families of their own, and family experts have shown over and over that the educational level attained by mothers often determines the overall success of entire families.
In other words, when you educate a girl, you are also educating her future family. And when you educate a generation of girls, you are creating an entire community of educated families.
Our Sisters’ School is a member of the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools. For more information on the advantages of an all-girls school, please visit their site.
The importance of education as a pathway to success for girls and women living in Bristol County is clearly evident with a review of the current status of women in the region completed by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women in their State of Women in Massachusetts report from November 2006 (PDF).
For a compelling overview of the actual educational and financial attainment needed to not only rise above the poverty level, but also to achieve real economic independence in our state, please consult the Crittenton Women's Union report from March of 2010 (PDF).
Why Middle School?
Middle school is a crucial period for students, as these are the years when lasting attitudes and core values are permanently molded.
There are currently over 20 elementary schools in New Bedford. These school are generally small, close to home and convenient for families. From these schools, students transfer into three large middle schools. For those students seeking a more intimate educational experience, Our Sisters' School will provide small classrooms, more personalized guidance and careful development of each student's study skills.