-Where are you located?
1514 SE 44th Ave
Portland, OR 97215
-What ages do you serve?
-Why just girls?
The all-girl environment provides a safe space for girls to express themselves, find their voice and reach their fullest potential. We work with girls in their formative years when they are making important choices about who they are and their place in the world. They learn to share ideas and support one another with the help of female role models pursuing interests similar to their own or who inspire them to be exactly who they are.
-Why mixed ages?
In mixed-age learning, guides tailor instruction for each learner rather than setting the pace for a whole group. Girls are aware of each other's strengths, weaknesses, and talents, yet they are less likely to compare themselves based on age or grade level. Learners will be given the time and freedom to reach their learning potential when they are emotionally and developmentally ready and thus are more likely to be lifelong learners. Similarly, a learner who needs to be challenged will not be bored by time wasted while others "catch up" because each learner can work at her appropriate level with peers of various ages.
-How does self-directed work?
The learners lead the way! They have the freedom to follow their own passions and interests in a space where mistakes are celebrated and recognized as a part of the learning process. Learners are able to assess their understanding and know when they have achieved success by setting their own learning goals rather then being compared to someone else's standard.
-What are the benefits of this model?
This model is designed to foster growth through the process of learning versus a set content where everyone learns the same thing. Learners have lots of opportunity to practice grit, resilience, compassion, empathy, problem-solving, critical-thinking, and being an active member of a community. Community is at the heart of the model. First as a small group and then widening the scope to the larger global community.
-What if my child is neurodivergent?
By meeting learners at their level without comparison to others, a self-directed program like ours benefits learning styles under the neurodiversity umbrella.
-What about math, science, language arts, history, etc.?
Learners will cover a wide range of topics every day both through group work led by guides and through independent work. Learners will set specific, developmentally appropriate goals for their independent time. Specific topics are not separated out into blocks of time but rather practiced in context on a "need to know" basis. By eliminating a standard curriculum, learners gain knowledge that is relevant to them and can be applied in real situations rather than sitting passively in classes which do not interest them.
-Will they miss out on typical school experiences?
Yes! They will miss out on sustained boredom, feelings of isolation, fear of being wrong, feeling overwhelmed by schoolwork, competitiveness, lack of play, bullying, and test anxiety.
Studies have shown that learning under stress inhibits brain function, particularly in the prefrontal cortex which helps to process and retain information. When students work in stressful conditions (for example, under pressure to pass a test), they are less likely to retain the information needed and go into fight-or-flight mode, either rebelling against the situation or avoiding it altogether.
-Will girls be ready for high school and/or college?
Yes, if that is their choice. Learners will have extensive knowledge in topics that they are passionate about and be driven to succeed at whatever they choose to do next. They will have learned how to set goals and push themselves when challenges arise. Their engagement in the program is extremely active rather than the passive learning in other settings where information is not absorbed due to a lack of excitement. By eliminating learning about topics they do not need or want, girls are able to focus their areas of study and gain more experience in topics they want to pursue in the future.
-What about homework and grades?
There is no homework or grades. We believe that 5 hours a day is enough time for quality learning. Since there is no strict schedule of classes, learners are able to move at their own pace. They learn time management and responsibility by setting goals and meeting challenges head on. At Girls Count, learners gain knowledge about topics that interest them and complete tasks with real and direct outcomes.
-Is each term the same?
Nope. You can enroll in one, two, or all three terms depending on your schedule and interest in the program.
-If someone only enrolls part-time, will they be behind?
The enrollment you chose should fit the needs of your schedule and interest in this type of program. Learners who attend less days will not be "behind" because there is no set curriculum that everyone is doing at the same pace. Each day is a different experience that it tailored to your child's interests and goals.
-What am I paying for?
Paying money to send your child to a school when you have a free option down the street (or perhaps in your home) is a big ask. You’re paying for a completely unique experience where your child can truly learn how to thrive in the modern world, where they can develop life-long and deep relationships, where they can experience true independence, and where they can write their own story. We provide a space for this to happen (rent), passionate guides to make it happen (salary), and stuff to play with (materials).
-What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellations 3 weeks prior to the start of the term will receive a 90% refund
Cancellations 2 weeks prior to the start of the term will receive a 75% refund
Cancellations 1 week prior to the start of the term will receive a 50% refund
No refunds less than 1 week prior to the start of the term
We fully understand that last-minute cancellations are almost always unexpected, however, it is very difficult for us to fill your spot once it has been held from other families.