Coastal Studies for Girls welcomes 2nd class to Freeport

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FREEPORT — The country’s only science and leadership semester school for girls will welcome its second class on Sunday, Aug. 29.

Administrators and staff have been busy preparing for their arrival at the Coastal Studies for Girls farmhouse on Wolfe’s Neck Road.

Executive Director Pam Erickson said the second class will be as ethnically, socioeconomically and geographically diverse as the first, with students enrolled from Boston; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Fuquay-Varina, N.C.; Queens and Brooklyn, N.Y.; Los Angeles; Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

“There is a mix of students from public and private schools – all bright, articulate and curious,” Erickson said. “In making the decision to come here, these girls have already shown their leadership and strength.”

While students receive a core education, including language, English, humanities, and mathematics, the school focuses on science and leadership skills for sophomore girls.

Ginger Jones, development and marketing director at CSG, said research has shown that girls tend to lose interest in science and math by the time they enter middle and high school. To reverse this trend, Jones said girls need supportive, nurturing, stimulating programs to build their confidence and interest.

“The science program at CSG sets us apart from other schools,” she said. “Encouraging girls in science and leadership is so valuable to us.”

Science teacher Loraine Washburn said as a field ecologist, she teaches the students how to observe the natural world and gather data. They are expected to collect plankton, dig in the mudflats and observe organisms in tidal pools.

“We want to provide a nurturing, comfortable and stimulating environment for the students to learn and grow,” Washburn said. “Here, we provide a different model of education.”

The science curriculum at CSG is one that focuses on marine science. With the ocean and salt march in their backyard, Washburn said the students are exposed various plants and ecosystems and have the opportunity to gather data themselves. The students take field trips to laboratories and are introduced to strong female role models who are working scientists.

Washburn said the science curriculum incorporates mathematics, and the two teachers work together to integrate the two fields.

“In 16 weeks these kids show a significant growth in confidence,” Washburn said. “They show enthusiasm and a willingness to participate.”

There are about a dozen students enrolled in this fall semester, Erickson said, with more girls coming forward for the spring semester.

“With a few minor changes to the program and curriculum, we are ready to get started.” Erickson said. “We can’t wait to get to know the second class of motivated girls.”

Amy Anderson can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or

Sidebar Elements

Loraine Washburn, center, is a field ecologist and science teacher at the Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport. Washburn teaches sophomore girls marine biology, how to observe the natural world and gather data. The curriculum at CSG is developed to help nurture, encourage and challenge students studying science.

Students in last year’s first class at Coastal Studies for Girls in Freeport work in the mudflats during a science class. Students are encouraged to use a hands-on approach as they gather, observe and research marine organisms.