March 1 marks the start of Women’s History Month. This is a moment in the year when we look back at our founding. One Schoolhouse was founded as the Online School for Girls in 2009, the world’s first single-gender online school and the world’s first online independent school. We were founded with the belief that the values that power girls’ education–collaborating, creating, connecting, and engaging in real-world application–are the same values that make online learning a powerful experience.
Thirteen years later, our roots in the girls schools’ world are still strong. As One Schoolhouse, our courses are open to students of all genders now, but we still offer girls-only sections in 19 courses, placing our focus in disciplines where girls are historically under-represented. We remain committed to serving the girls schools’ community that has supported us since our founding.
We’ve been through a lot of changes, and we’re continuing to grow and evolve. At no time has that been the case more than in the past three years. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, friends and colleagues would say to me, “Well, nothing much has changed for you, right? You’ve been working remotely and at an online school for years!” While it’s true that my commute remained short (a flight of stairs, with a quick stop for coffee before I reach my desk), life at One Schoolhouse shifted drastically. We had the opportunity to share our experience and expertise with dozens of schools, and to offer reassurance to hundreds of Academic Leaders who were managing a seismic reorganization of how their schools operated.
In those early days, in our webinars and on our listserv, we met Academic Leaders who were hungry for community. They pooled ideas and resources; they asked questions and found novel solutions. Their ingenuity, grace, and grit are our inspiration as we launch the Association for Academic Leaders.
Now, we’re in a new age of One Schoolhouse. We continue to offer a thriving program to supplement high schools across the country and around the world. At the same time, we’re championing Academic Leaders through the Association. That feels especially appropriate, because we believe we’re entering a new age of academic leadership.
In the past ten years, academic leadership has become an increasingly complex job with an expanding set of responsibilities—one eye on the horizon, and the other eye on the inbox. collaborating, creating, connecting, and engaging in real-world application. As we created the Association, we understood we needed to provide the opportunity for Academic Leaders to collaborate and connect, to find creative solutions to real-world challenges: exactly the values and skills that we were built to nurture thirteen years ago. Our history is part of creating our future.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)