Here is the professional team that will support you and your daughter in the Upper School at Garrison Forest. Don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help!
Every student has an academic advisor, who is assigned to her in her first year in the Upper School. Advisory groups include students from several grades, so new students have the support of older ones in addition to the help of their advisor as they settle in, and advisory groups often foster powerful connections between students. At the end of the year, students may choose to stay with their advisor or to switch to a different advisor with whom they have made a connection.
Academic advisors serve as the first line of support to students and parents and as the liaison between the school and home. Advisors conduct parent-teacher conferences in the fall and are the point of contact throughout the year for any questions or concerns parents may have, whether about a schedule, an assignment, a class, or a program. By contacting the advisor with questions and by sharing relevant information with the advisor, parents help us ensure that every girl has an “on-campus specialist” who knows her well and can help her learn to advocate for herself.
Class Advisors work in pairs with a particular class: freshmen, sophomore, junior, or senior. Specialists in this grade level in the Upper School, they guide students in the activities specific to the year and help classes develop class and school spirit.
Upper School teachers work with advisors and parents to ensure each student’s progress in a rigorous academic program and to develop each girl’s sense of herself and her own efficacy. Teachers are experts in both their disciplines and in adolescent development, and the faculty is comprised of both GFS veterans and highly qualified new members of staff.
Parents contact advisors with academic concerns and questions, and advisors follow up with teachers and parents as needed. This process ensures that advisors are always aware of their advisees’ progress and provides teachers with a colleague who is an expert on each student.
Academic Resource Coordinator
The Academic Resource Coordinator, works individually and in small groups in the Academic Resource Center (ARC) with those students who have been identified as needing additional academic support in our program. In the trimesters one and two, she also teaches a study and organizational skills course to a small group of students who need extra help with the transition to Upper School. The ARC coordinator also liaises with advisors and teachers and coordinates academic testing and accommodations. The goal of the ARC and of the Garrison Forest program is to help each student become an effective, independent advocate for her own learning.
The Director of College Counseling and Senior College Counselor work with students and their parents to find the best fit for college for each girl. The college counselors also teach the Eleventh-Grade Decision Making course and the Twelfth-Grade Transitions course.
Ann Marie Strauss
Upper School Counselor
The Upper School Counselor and the Director of Counseling, provides support to Upper School students in a variety of ways. She teaches the Ninth-Grade Decision Making course, which all ninth graders take, and oversees student placement in the advisory program. She is also available to meet with students individually or in small groups as needed. With the Academic Resource Coordinator and the Head of Upper School, she reviews all new student testing and monitors the transition to the Upper School.
Director of Residential Life
The Director of Residential Life, coordinates the residential life program for students who live at Garrison Forest School and the weekend activities program, in which both day and residential students participate. She leads the O-team and residential student orientation and works closely with dorm parents and residential life student leaders to make all residential students feel at home at GFS.
Dean of Students
The Dean of Students oversees all non-academic aspects of student life in the Upper School, including orientation, clubs, Student Forum, student activities, residential life, and discipline. She works with advisors, class advisors, the Director of Residential Life and the School Counselor to ensure each girl’s growth and well-being. She also works closely with the Head of Upper School to develop and monitor the Upper School program.
Dean of Special Programs
The Dean of Special Programs and Director of the James Center oversees the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program. She works with Whitty Ransome, the Founding Director of the James Center, on special programming in financial literacy, leadership, and service.
Dean of Academic Development
The Director of Studies works with the Head of Upper School to oversee the academic progress of each girl, supporting academic advisors and leading new faculty in developing and implementing the curriculum.
Head of Upper School
The Head of Upper School oversees the academic program of the Upper School, leading academic advisors as they develop four-year plans and yearly schedules with their advisees and working with the faculty to develop and implement the academic curriculum. Working closely with other members of the Upper School team, she also oversees the student life experience in the Upper School.