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Students share the benefit of their all-girls education on the transition from middle school to high school

Students share the benefit of their all-girls education on the transition from middle school to high school

By Jadyn Piotrowski '22
Communications Intern 

Stuart provides an all-girls education that nurtures and empowers its students. From the earliest years through the transition to Upper School, every girl has the freedom to be herself, use her voice, and pursue her passions with confidence. The benefits of an all-girls education are best seen through the eyes of those who experience it - and have for many years. Current Upper School students Sydney ‘23, Alex ‘24, and Kadance ‘25 reflected on their time in the Stuart Middle School and the benefit of their Stuart education through the transition to high school.


“99% of students at girls’ schools expect to earn a four-year degree. More than 2/3 expect to earn a graduate or professional degree.”

With small classes and a low student-to-faculty ratio, we quickly become close to our peers and receive individualized support from our teachers. As Sydney noted, there is a strong sense of community and camaraderie regardless of grade in the Upper School, exemplifying Goals 1 and 4 in action. Having classes with girls in other grades allows us to form bonds in the classroom, strengthening those relationships in clubs, sports, and extracurricular activities. Many upperclassmen are involved in leadership roles as team captains, writing tutors, and Student Government representatives. 


“Girls as young as six can be led to believe men are inherently smarter and more talented than women, making girls less motivated to pursue novel activities or ambitious careers.” 

Countless student-led clubs, sports teams, and arts programs allow us to explore our interests and meet new people. Particularly in the Upper School, we have the opportunity to sign up for as many activities as we want to discover our passions. We often have social events, games, or performances to attend. As Kadance said, “There never really seems to be a dull moment…whether we’re at the start, middle, or nearing the end of the year, there’s a lot to engage in.”



“When compared to coeducated peers, graduated of girls’ school are more likely to… value improving their understanding of other countries and cultures [and] count their desire to understand others with different beliefs as a strength.”

Our education isn’t limited to the basics; there’s more to our success than test scores. Stuart ensures we have exposure to the outside world and know how to address societal issues before leaving the green brick walls. In Middle School, we learn about other communities through Project Based Learning (PBL), a cross-curricular program. In Upper School, our awareness extends through the international Sacred Heart Academic Exchange Program (SHAEP), cultural presentations, fundraisers, and food drives. Most notably, the seniors complete their capstone Invisible Issues project in which they research an undercovered global issue, create a nonprofit proposal, and support a real organization working to combat that problem. We change our communities through service, education, and teamwork. For example, the Seeds to Sew club raises funds for girls’ education in Kenya; the Appalachian Service Project group rebuilds homes in West Virginia. We can see how our work directly helps the world around us. 



“Nearly 80% of girls’ school students report most of their classes challenge them to achieve their full academic potential compared to only 44% of girls at coeducational public schools…More than 80% of girls’ school grads consider their academic performance highly successful.”

We see leadership everywhere. Students take on leadership roles in classrooms, clubs, and extracurricular activities. The Upper School builds on the foundation that the Middle School creates; the Middle School sets us up for success in the Upper School, which is reminiscent of college-level courses. Our relationships strengthen, and we can pursue our interests without judgment or unhealthy competition. Sydney, Alex, and Kadance acknowledged Ms. Baldwin’s support in the performing arts department, saying that she helped teach life lessons while being a familiar and reliable mentor. 


Over 50,000 Sacred Heart school alums attribute their successes, confidence, and social awareness to the Goals and Criteria.

The Sacred Heart values make Stuart unique among the local schools because they guide us toward living more empathetically, faithfully, and wisely. In particular, Goal 5 is practiced through “wise freedom.” In Middle School, we move between classrooms and use a block schedule, giving us early exposure to college-style learning without the same emotional and physical distance as boarding schools. Alex has appreciated this dynamic, saying, “As someone who has always been independent, it was refreshing to get that freedom.” The Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria encompass Stuart’s attributes of community and preparation. 


As a recent Stuart grad who chose to stay throughout Middle and Upper School, my experience here has made me confident that this was the right choice. I didn’t want to be thrown into a college-like boarding school environment earlier than necessary, and I also wanted a comprehensive, personalized education. Stuart delivered on both ends. The tight-knit, supportive community allowed me to find friends in many circles and still be close to them despite living separate lives. My teachers knew me well and were always happy to clarify concepts or sit down to chat. I feel prepared to go to college and be authentic there, knowing I’m empowered to stand my ground, ask questions, and become who I want to be.

Sources: Statistics on girls' schools are from the International Coalition for Girls' Schools. Learn more here


About Jadyn Piotrowski

Jadyn is a recent alum, having attended Stuart since fourth grade. She is back as a summer intern and will be attending the Villanova School of Business this fall. In her free time, she likes to be outside, either running or exploring local trails.



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