GALS opens in Denver

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Tessa Baur writes, A new kind of school opened in Denver on August 18, 2010.

A new kind of school opened in Denver on August 18, 2010. Girls Athletic Leadership School (GALS) is an all girl middle school through high school that promotes leadership and athletics in girls. This year they started with 130 girls in 6th and 7th grade with plans to expand one grade per year. Their first high school graduation class will be in 2016.Elizabeth Wolfson, the founder and Board chair of the Girls Athletic Leadership School explained why GALS was started. “Research shows that girls in middle school tend to drop off in terms of studies. What starts to take over are the social realities of this age group. What was behind the opening of this school is two-fold: to ensure that young women have the chance to fully become themselves and to optimize academic achievement by creating a safe and secure environment in which they can both acknowledge and deal with social issues and growing up female in today’s world, and at the same time by doing so, allow girls to focus on their academic life and see the world in as broad terms as possible, so that they know and have worked for the right to do and be whomever they choose and desire.”She went on to state the importance of health and wellness in education. “Brain and body research shows that health and wellness (meaning nutrition, fitness and active pedagogy) boosts cognitive achievement and yet schools and classrooms have not adopted this proven approach. I wanted to help address this issue in light of the statistics related to obesity, poverty, and health care. And of course in girls school this directly correlates to issues of positive self-image building and self-esteem.”GALS is a tuition free public charter school and uses the expeditionary learning model. The school is located at 200 S. University Blvd in Denver and plans to move in 2 years to a new building. Elizabeth Wolfson hopes that “very young woman graduates GALS embodying our Habits of Heart and Mind: Power, Flexibility, Focus, Balance.”If you want to learn more about GALS go to http://www.galschools.org.