Welcome to The Center for Girls

Eighth graders take part in an annual Outward Bound experiential leadership trip.
Girls thrive at Forest Ridge. The curriculum and programs are engineered to build confidence—and motivation to step up. Students explore different ways to lead, whether running a meeting, taking center stage in the Lee Theatre, visiting a refugee camp in Germany or innovating in the lab.

Forest Ridge has a campus-wide commitment to girls’ leadership with a physical hub. The Center for Girls hosts a bustling hive of meetings, seminars and events focused on building leadership, emotional intelligence and social-emotional skills. The Center for Girls is also a resource for students, parents and teachers with a dedicated staff working to weave current best-practices in girls’ leadership into everything they do at Forest Ridge.

Forest Ridge staff and faculty keep one eye on mindful balance and the other on potential. Students receive hands-on experience in creative problem-solving, speaking with confidence and purpose, serving with strength and compassion, understanding team and power dynamics and developing resilience in the face of setbacks. Recognizing the important role of parents and other adults in the leadership journey, the school provides family support and a robust parent-education series. Students develop the strengths and develop the skills they need to pursue their dreams.

The world needs girls. The Center for Girls is all about helping our girls lean into the discomfort of stepping in, but also about helping them be mindful of balance. Girls are getting the message that they need to do it all. We want them to know themselves, be guided by their hearts and have healthy relationships with themselves and others.—Betsy Briardy, Director of Center for Girls

Speaker Series 2018-2019

Laurie Thompson, author of Be a Changemaker: How to Start Something that Matters
Wednesday, February 27, 2019 | 9:45-:10:30 a.m. 9-12th grade | 11:40 a.m.-12:30 p.m. 5-8th grade | Lee Theatre

In today’s world, everyone can – and should – strive to be a changemaker. Using real-world examples of young people who are making their mark on the world, award winning author Laurie Thompson will inspire students to dream big and take positive action in their communities – and beyond – as she shares practical tips for success.

Rachel Simmons, Enough as She Is author and Co-founder of Girls Leadership Institute
Tuesday, April 30, 2019 | 7:00-9:00 p.m. | Lee Theatre
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 | 8:45-10:00 a.m. | Schafer Gymnasium

Praised by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg as “the expert on helping girls become leaders,” Rachel Simmons, best-selling author, educator and leadership consultant, is helping girls and women become more authentic, assertive, resilient and fulfilled. Rachel will be on The Ridge to share her research-based and practical take-home strategies for both students and parents. Renowned for her down-to-earth, warm speaking style, Rachel delivers rich content and cutting-edge insight.

Parent Education Series: 2018-2019

Education goes beyond the classroom to include parents. All presentations will be held at Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart.

Beyond Birds and Bees: Giving Our Girls Body Positivity and the Foundations of Gender Equality
Presentation by Bonnie J. Rough
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 | 8:30-10:00 a.m. | Ackerely Conference Rooms

The #MeToo movement has parents and educators considering more deeply how best to raise young people with healthy, positive, shame-free and egalitarian attitudes about bodies, gender, sex and love. Bonnie J. Rough, MFA, award-winning author, most recently of Beyond Birds and Bees: Bringing Home a New Message to Our Kids About Sex, Love and Equality, will share what she learned as a parent and journalist when she took a close look at the world-famous Dutch approach to sex education. She shares how it improved her own ways of thinking, talking and teaching about human sexuality and relationships. Bonnie will guide a down-to-earth exploration of our values about sexuality, revealing how we can make the most of – and enjoy – life’s many teaching opportunities.

Turning Self-Criticism into Self-Compassion
Presentation by Shay Huff
Wednesday, January 30, 2019 | 8:30-10:00 a.m. | Ackerely Conference Rooms

Preoccupation with perfection is an all-consuming, fear-inducing, deflating, toxic and ultimately an unattainable merry-go-round relationship with self. It’s one that starts very early for girls. The ways in which a girl talks to herself (discouraged) versus how she talks to others (encourages) is like night and day. Shay Huff, empowerment coach and workshop facilitator, will discuss how to empower and inspire our girls to write themselves into the story of compassion and grace.

Resisting the College Complex
Facilitated by Nikki Danos and Laura Boismenue
Wednesday, February 13, 2019 | 8:30-10:00 a.m. | Ackerely Conference Rooms

Rachel Simmons names the College Application Industrial Complex in her book, Enough as She Is, citing the intense pressures and apprehension that girls experience in anticipating college. At its worst, adoption of the Complex fuels a pervasive sense of inadequacy and fruitless striving. Both students and their parents can find themselves making costly concessions – trading the joys of exploration and learning for fear and perfectionism. Instead, Simmons urges girls to resist the Complex, seeking ways to connect with genuine interests, harness the value of risk-taking and making mistakes and redefine the path to happiness and success. Join Nikki and Laura, Forest Ridge College and High School Counselors, to discuss this powerful message and examine the ways we can encourage our girls to resist the Complex and how to resist it ourselves.

Own Your Presence
Facilitated by Alison Seaton and Marianni Groves
Thursday, March 7, 2019 | 8:30-10:00 a.m. | The Center for Girls

Join Alison and Marianni, Forest Ridge educators, for a taste of The Center for Girls Presence Program. Enjoy your coffee as we share ways in which we help your daughters learn to present themselves in an authentic and polished way. Our morning will involve an overview of the program, a question and answer session and some hands-on presentation activities.

How to Help Girls in Crisis
Facilitated by Laura Boismenue
Wednesday, April 10, 2019 | 8:30-10:00 a.m. | Ackerely Conference Rooms

Learn about caring for girls who are experiencing crisis. We’ll discuss how to identify warning signs and action steps to take in supporting adolescents who are struggling with depression, hopelessness or suicidal thoughts. This session is a part of our school-wide work with Forefront in the Schools, a school-based suicide prevention program based at the University of Washington. Laura Boismenue, Forest Ridge High School Counselor, will facilitate this important discussion.

4800 139th Avenue SE, Bellevue, WA 98006 | 425.641.0700