Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls

Girl Power: Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls

by Stephanie Zeilenga
published in Town & Style

Like a close-knit family, students and faculty at Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls set aside time to share news, recognize accomplishments and deepen relationships. This happens twice daily: at the school-wide Morning Meeting and at lunchtime in smaller advisory groups. The focus here is on educating the whole girl, with strong supports in place to ensure each student builds self-esteem, develops healthy relationships and makes good choices, says executive director Mary Stillman.

The first all-girls public charter school in Missouri, Hawthorn offers a high-quality, college-preparatory education to middle- and high-school students living in the city of St. Louis. It opened in 2015 with 150 sixth- and seventh-grade girls. Each year, a new sixth grade will be added until 2020, when the school will be fully enrolled with about 450 students. There are no tuition or admissions requirements to attend, and admission is awarded on a lottery basis. Currently about 95 percent of Hawthorn’s students are black, and 75 percent qualify for free and reduced lunches, Stillman says. The school relies on community support. “Although charter schools are publicly funded, there is a gap of about $5,000 per student between the public funds we receive and the amount we spend,” she adds....

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