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FAQs

At the James Center, we give students the kind of hands-on learning experiences that answer questions--and inspire many more!

Listed below are a few Frequently Asked Questions about the James Center. If we haven't answered your question, please don't hesitate to contact us.

FAQ

Q

What is the James Center?

A

Innovative. Entrepreneurial. Service-driven. Replicable. Experiential. These are the qualities of The James Center, which brings together Garrison Forest's traditional outreach programs and develops new hands-on learning opportunities in and beyond the GFS classroom. The James Center collaborates with universities and schools, non-profit agencies and community organizations throughout Baltimore and the country to create and enhance programs.

Q

What is "experiential learning"?

A

Experiential learning creates opportunities for Garrison Forest students to engage in the real world, now not later. GFS students are fully engaged in what can be life-changing experiences, broadening their arenas of learning. Experiential learning through the James Center includes: Doing research in a laboratory at Johns Hopkins University; working with inner-city girls through the Middle Grades Partnership program; writing a business plan at Camp $tart-Up; volunteering in a Chinese orphanage halfway around the world; raising money for a class event; partnering with a new Baltimore girls’ public school; helping children through a local church program; sharing a residence hall with classmates for three weeks for the Junior Leadership Program; and much more!

Q

Why is the James Center important to Garrison Forest School?

A

Prospective students and their families have considerable choice when it comes to education. For many, the best schools are the ones that have no boundaries, that are as rich with co-curricular offerings as they are with traditional courses and requirements. James Center initiatives expand the definition of a GFS education and showcase what is uniquely ours. Additionally, GFS serves as a model for other independent schools through appearances at national conferences, workshop presentations, and by hosting visitors from other schools. Sharing what we do with others is one of the major ways the James Center broadens its realm of influence.

Q

How is the James Center structured?

A

The James Center has four programmatic areas: Science, Engineering and Public Health; Civic Engagement and Service Learning; Financial Literacy, Entrepreneurship, and Philanthropy; and Learning to Lead. There is an organic interconnectedness among these components that mirrors the fabric of Garrison Forest.

Q

How do partnerships play a role in the work of the James Center?

A

Connections with other institutions, programs, networks bring added value to the educational experience through the Center. By intersecting with outside professionals, resources, and organizations, girls can expand their horizons while bringing back to their GFS classrooms and classmates new understandings about the larger world. A huge benefit of these collaborations is that GFS girls get to test what they’re learning against the realities of daily experience in different environments. With so many neighboring universities, businesses, non-profits and foundations, the greater Baltimore region is essentially a learning laboratory for Garrison Forest. See "Partnerships" on the James Center website menu to an evolving list of the organizations with whom GFS maintains working relationships.

Q

How is The James Center funded?

A

In 2008, the Edward E. Ford Foundation invited a handful of private, independent school around the country to submit grants, to be matched dollar-for-dollar, for programs that could serve as models of excellence for others. Garrison Forest School was one of five schools chosen to receive an inaugural $250,000 Leadership Grant to help fund existing and new initiatives. GFS was especially honored to have alumna and trustee Amabel Boyce James, ’70, match the grant. The James Center is named in her honor. In addition to the inaugural $500,000 grant/match monies, GFS created an endowment for the James Center with over $2 million thanks to long term support through individual and foundation contributions. Ongoing fundraising will insure the “research and development” aspect of James Center initiatives.

Q

Why is the James Center called a "center without walls"?

A

Someone once asked Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, to describe the Albright Institute for Global Affairs at Wellesley College. “It’s not a building, it’s a program," she replied. Such is the case with the James Center. People, partnerships, and programs, rather than bricks and mortar, are at the core of all things emanating from the Center.

Interested in Learning More?

We welcome your phone calls and emails to learn more about our programs.

Whitney "Whitty" Ransome
Director
(410) 559-3465 (office)
whitneyransome@gfs.org

Andrea Perry
Dean of Special Programs
(410) 559-3125 (office)
andreaperry@gfs.org

Kate Pisano
James Center Assistant
(410) 559-3185 (office)
katepisano@gfs.org