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What We Do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In order to have the longest-lasting and most sustainable impact on the lives of our girls and their families, we developed a replicable, trauma-informed, arts-based curriculum focused on building resilience and perseverance while cultivating empathy, agency, and efficacy. Girls First is committed to helping mitigate adversity-related student behaviors that create barriers to successful classroom learning.


Our Artsee curriculum is delivered through weekly arts classes that incorporate elements of academic, art, and social-emotional learning. The curriculum is planned in 10-week sessions, with each small group of students rotating between sessions of drama, visual arts, music, and dance for a total of 30 weeks of lessons. To supplement our holistic curriculum, Girls First works with our many new and returning community partners.

Who We Serve

Students served at our 1208 Green Street location come from Montgomery County, with approximately 90% living in Norristown. We serve a diverse population that is representative of the Norristown Community, and 100% of the girls receive free and reduced lunch. Common struggles among some of our students include homelessness or unsafe living conditions, incarcerated parents, domestic violence, and concerns for undocumented family members. These situations frequently rob them of their ability to just be children, making it especially important that we are preparing students for a successful future but letting them be girls first. 

 

And while we recognize that not every student that we serve has experienced trauma and adversity, we also understand that the pillars of trauma-informed care – safety, connection, regulation, and learning adaptive responses –  is of benefit to creating an optimal learning environment for ALL students, including to those with learning disabilities and those whose learning styles fall outside of the styles delivered in a traditional classroom.

 

Girls First also brings its creative and research-backed social-emotional (SEL) curriculum to other existing out-of-school or community programs through its outreach programming. Our Teaching Artists use trauma-informed techniques to help students build their SEL skills while learning through the arts. In the fall of 2023, we will be working with the Gesu School in Philadelphia and the Chester Charter Scholars Academy in Chester. 

Measuring Success

Program evaluation at Girls First focuses on three key areas: attendance, behavior, and curricular goals. Currently, Girls First employs a rigorous and detailed rubric developed in partnership with education specialists at Cabrini University. The development of this specific rubric has allowed us to both standardize assessment between teaching artists and program directors, as well as measure the specific skills being taught at Girls First. Academic and artistic objectives follow National Core Education Standards to ensure that the skills being presented both support the desired social and emotional lessons, and also those skills needed for success at school. The data captured from evaluations determines any shifts needed in programming or adjustments to yearly program and organizational goals. Click here to view the below snapshot enlarged. 

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