Our primary goal for our ninth graders is to help each girl strengthen her sense of self. Programming on media literacy (body image), health (fitness, nutrition, hygiene), self-advocacy (face to face communication, identifying and owning their feelings), and sense of place (introduction to Chatham Hall and southwest Virginia) are essential components to this curriculum.
In addition to formal life skills workshops, the ninth grade experience is rich with adventure, team-building, and fun. They many enjoy an all day canoe trip, a sleepover or dinner at the Rectory, a visit to colleges such as Duke, William and Mary, or the University of Virginia, and even a trip to an art museum in the region. Ninth graders are also given a budget to invite a leader-in-residence of their choice to Chatham Hall. They nominate, select, invite, introduce, and host this leader-in-residence and they do it all on their own.
We also offer Chatham 101, a class designed for all new students. Meeting once each week and sometimes online for the first six weeks, this course sets the tone for Chatham Hall as a boarding school, a historic place, and a community comprised of students, and families from all walks of life. The goal of the course is to help students understand our Honor Code, Purple and Golden Rule, and school traditions as well as academic and emotional resources that are available to them. We also discuss how the students can successfully manage their changing relationships, how to care for themselves while living in community, and to be mindful of how they use technology both ethically and responsibly.