Strategic Initiatives

In 2019-20, we launched a strategic vision that emphasizes interdisciplinary studies and inspires our girls through hands-on projects applied to real-world problems. We are eager to teach today’s Baldwin girls to understand subjects not in silos but in connection with each other, and to nurture their passion for learning by showing them how their studies apply to real-world problem solving.

Interdisciplinary Incubator

In our Lower School, girls work with their teachers over the school year to develop an interdisciplinary project to showcase in a culminating public expo. Dubbed the Interdisciplinary Incubator, this year, students’ incubator work will focus on health and medicine, exploring the systems of the body and the impact of nutrition, exercise, technology and the environment on those systems.

What, exactly, happens to our muscular system when we exercise? What effect do certain diseases have on different systems in the body? What environmental factors affect your health? Over the year, students will gain new knowledge and, by working with their teachers and classmates to build their project, also develop collaboration, communication and problem-solving skills.

Interdisciplinary Institute

In the Middle and Upper Schools, regular classes are set aside for a week in the spring to dive into our Interdisciplinary Institute. During this special scheduled program, students work with a team of faculty from different subjects to explore topics at the intersection of disciplines.  

For example, our physics, math and music teachers will jointly lead students through a study of waves. They will consider how sound waves are formed, how those waves are mathematically represented and how they come together to create music. Students interested in the intersection of literature and science will study Shakespeare's plays alongside chemistry, to understand the science behind the stories’ potions and poisons.

Students will also have the opportunity to authentically apply their lessons in the real-world. In partnership with the surrounding community, including area universities, businesses and other community organizations who support Baldwin’s faculty and programs, our girls will work on projects with outside experts who come to campus and find ways to apply what they’re studying to the world beyond Baldwin’s gates.

Driven by students’ passions, each of these seminars will culminate in different ways, from papers to art exhibits to plays to published writing.

For a full listing of courses and their descriptions, click here

Interdisciplinary Classrooms

In addition to using time specifically set aside for exploring topics in interdisciplinary ways, faculty are also building opportunities for students to see how disciplines intersect and practice making connections across subjects during our regular classes. This approach feeds our girls love of learning and often culminate in student-led projects or presentations for real-world audiences. 

For example, in 7th grade social studies, students study the United Nations sustainable development goals and learn about communicable diseases and issues about access to health care around the world. In science, they learn the science behind pandemics and how viruses, like Ebola, are spread. Using knowledge gained from both classes, the girls study a specific pandemic disease and work in teams to devise new ways to contain the spread of the disease. This process has them connect their lessons about the science of diseases (What to do if it’s primarily water borne? or airborne?) and government policies, procedures and infrastructure in an authentic way that helps reinforce what they have learned. Their solutions were then presented to the entire Middle School, and a panel of outside experts, for feedback. The results are not just new ideas for solving the world’s problems but girls who are passionate about what they study and eager to apply this love of learning to the real world. 

Likewise, in two senior electives, Black in America and Environmental Science, faculty coordinated to engage students in a deep conversation about how the environmental crisis impacts racial groups differently. This portion of study helped students explore ways in which the environmental movement does or does not take race into account, and consider how this impacts the development of solutions to real world environmental problems.

Research Based and Future Focused

Baldwin’s authentic interdisciplinary program is based on research that indicates that students engaging in this work have higher academic outcomes, higher critical thinking skills, a greater ability to transfer knowledge to new contexts, deeper and more complex conceptions of knowledge, and longer-term retention of what they've learned. Giving our girls the opportunity to develop these skills gives them a head start in college, where they can continue to build on a solid foundation.

It’s also based on our expert understanding of how girls learn best. We know that our students want to see the purpose behind their learning and are most engaged when they can work together on finding solutions and can connect their learning to their interests and passions. Baldwin’s interdisciplinary programming supports this kind of learning, ensuring that our girls-first environment supports our students' learning now and prepares them for the future.

Finally, we are keenly aware that we are preparing our students for a future where, as of 2030, 85% of the jobs our kids want most do not exist today. To best prepare our girls for that certainly uncertain future, we must support the development of key skills that will be most critical in the decades to come. This is why we focus on helping our girls develop relational skills such as empathetic leadership and collaboration, the ability to act on solutions arrived at via creative problem solving, and the confidence to think in multidisciplinary ways that engage our ever-changing world.

Expert Faculty Leading the Way

The expertise of our faculty is unmatched. Over 15% of our faculty have Ph.D.'s and more than 78% have Master's degrees, bringing a significant amount of expertise in a range of fields to the classroom every day. As a school, we're committed to supporting our faculty in their continued professional development to become master teachers. We make significant investments in our faculty each year to attend a range of off-site programs such as the Project Based Learning Certificate Program in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.  

In addition, we've set aside time each week for our faculty to learn together from each other and from experts we bring in to work with them. In this way, we ensure our faculty know and understand the latest research on education and have the opportunity to practice and apply that knowledge immediately.