Zealous Schools to open all-girls micro school in Avon
The second campus for Zealous Schools will admit a group of 24 female-identifying and/or non-binary middle school-aged students to its inaugural class
After three years in operation, the region’s first micro school, Zealous Schools, is growing one campus larger with the launch of an all girl’s school in Avon. The school —set to open Aug. 16, 2021 — will admit a group of 24 female-identifying and/or non-binary middle school-aged students to its inaugural class.
Keeping with the tradition of the school’s highly individualized and passion-based curriculum, the campus will feature a 6-to-1 student-teacher ratio, with 24 students in grades six through eight and four female-identifying academic coaches or teachers.
“[Teaching] middle school is about building a whole person, not just academic intensity,” said Kelsey Head, who will serve as the director of the Avon Zealous Campus and has been with the school since its inception. “The micro school model allows for that to be really intentional and executed well.”
Zealous Schools also wants the campus to reflect the demographics of the county’s entire student population — which most recently was listed as 44.6% White, 51.7% Hispanic and 3.8% either Multi-race, Asian, Native American or Black. In order to achieve this, the school has received enough local donations to fund 10 full-time scholarships for students at the campus.
“We really want to make sure we get all communities represented appropriately at our school,” Head said.
While the school has yet to sign a lease for its second campus, Zealous co-founder Geoff Grimmer says it will be located within walking distance to Nottingham Park, Avon Transportation Center and Chair 7 at Beaver Creek.
For Grimmer, the inspiration for the new campus is slightly personal. Grimmer not only studied gender equity in math classrooms while getting his masters degree in 2003, but he comes from a family of powerful, pioneering women in math and science. For him, this new campus is a way to celebrate the talents of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and to “connect these girls to their heroes’ journey,” helping them to self-actualize.
For the entire Zealous team, this all girls’ campus is a way to help close the gender gap.
“The success of students who attend all-girls schools is astonishingly higher than students who go to coed schools,” Head said. “They’re just like these incredible places for kids who identify as girls to work together and feel like they can push boundaries.”
According to the National Coalition of Girls Schools, of which Zealous is a member, the benefits of an all girls’ school include higher academic achievement, increased self-confidence, a larger percentage of leadership opportunities, an increased interest in STEM, greater cultural competency and more.
The micro-inequities that women are facing later in life are beginning as early as middle school. Zealous sees a way to end this by helping students develop their passions, learn soft skills and teach them how to be vulnerable and adventurous in a safe environment.
“Having a space for girls to collaborate together creates this incredible opportunity, not just for the kids, but their families and their broader communities,” Head said. “Working together with girls creates a safe space to explore in new ways that being in a coed space doesn’t afford.”
The all girls’ school will maintain many of Zealous’ core philosophies surrounding curriculum. (Outside of the traditional subjects of math, science, social studies and language arts, Zealous focuses on passion-based learning and community service.)
However, the second campus will differ in some crucial places. Alongside having a strong STEM-focused and gender-specific curriculum, students and coaches will encourage intentional conversations about empowerment, microaggressions and recognizing biases.
All of which, said Grimmer, is meant to “get the girls ready to crush everything that comes after middle school.”
Reporter Ali Longwell can be reached at email@example.com.