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Review: Archer School for Girls

By Erin P. Capuano     Feb 19, 2015 in Entertainment
Los Angeles - Archer School for Girls is a private school in California educating and training girls for the future. Using the latest technology and teaching techniques these girls are ready to be all they can be in life and their careers.
Higher Education is the current hot topic of our country with many students bearing the burden of student loans for most of their adult life. Another topic of discussion is the inequality of women in the workplace. In this day and age of a serious wealth gap between the lower and upper class women have become the main bread winners in families and girls are learning early on just how unequal they are in the corporate world. In 2013 women’s earnings was $39,157 to a man’s $50,033 a 78.3% difference. It’s not all bad news, some schools are trying to make a difference and trying to get to girls at the primary and secondary school ages to feel empowered and ready to take on the real world. Turning this inequality around is going to take brave strong young girls who will grow up understanding that they deserve to be treated and paid equally to men.
Archer School for Girls in Los Angeles, California has been educating and nurturing young girls since 1995. Founded by Megan Callaway, Victoria Schorr, and Dr. Diana Meehan their beginnings were quite humble, classes were taught out of a converted Pacific Palisades dance studio with just over 30 sixth and seventh grade students. Archer has long had the philosophy that if you teach girls in a single sex setting and empower them to achieve even their highest goals you will produce not just mature personalities, but girls who are ready to face a world filled with and equal but unequal workforce for women. Now at 480 students on seven acres on the Sunset Boulevard campus the growth of the school is only equaled by the growth of its students.
There are currently over 25 girls’ schools in the United States and each represents the need to teach girls from a very young age of their worth needs and independence. Archer is a private school which will run you roughly $33,250 a year in tuition and that’s not including the other fees that are incurred. For a family who is making middle income it’s not the easiest task to accomplish, but there are always ways to get financial assistance when applying. Archer also offers Flexible Tuition which allows parents to work with the school to create payment plans.
Girls are often stifled in classrooms by their male peers due to lack of confidence and the more outgoing personalities of young boys. Girls can often feel insecure and closed off due to the stresses of keeping up their grades and being popular. There is a great deal of pressure for girls to not be too smart, to be sexy or popular and sometimes it can cause them to hold back from being all they can be. Archer tries to take that stress away by allowing girls to feel secure in an environment that’s all their own with peers who are going through the same things in life at almost the same time they are.
Archer has always tried to be ahead of the game when it comes to technology and offers a virtual bookstore, TextbookX , where their students can purchase their textbooks through an online store. This allows students to buy used, rent books, or purchase eBooks to save money.
Archer’s latest tech project is their MediaCenter that just opened on January 15th, the task is to tackle the lack of women in media. The President of Lucasfilm, Kathy Kennedy, was on hand at the ribbon cutting ceremony and had this to say, “Girls are not looking at the business of show business,” she said. “Having a better understanding of what that means is important and will go a long way toward closing the gender gap.” Head of School, Elizabeth English, said that the media lab will provide more opportunities to the all female student body at Archer. Just 21 percent of filmmakers, 7 percent of directors and 20 percent of writers are women. Just 20 percent of films, too, have a female protagonist, she said.
The message that women are being sent on screen is that you are to be a sex symbol a homemaker or the other woman, there really is no room to divert from the equation. Archer sees things differently their new media space has the latest in digital video technology with 12 editing bays, a sound proof recording studio and a lighting studio with an infinity wall and green screen. The end result of all this is a hub for the school’s Institute for Film and Video Literacy program and a place where students can have their submissions evaluated for their student run annual film festival. The investment this school is making in their students will pay them back tenfold.
Their film program is extensive; in 8th grade students have the option to take a Film & TV Class to learn skills and techniques that are needed in the industry to produce high quality original HD videos. In high school the students can take either the Introduction to Filmmaking course or the Advanced Filmmaking course. According to their site, “Students examine the four phases of filmmaking: development, pre-production, production, and post-production using Final Cut Pro software. In addition to film theory, students also engage in film analysis, whereby they analyze and deconstruct film genres, and develop and produce independent film projects. The students in the advanced filmmaking class plan, produce, and serve as the executive producers of the annual Archer Film Festival.”
Archer’s annual student-run film festival in its fourth year is open to high school filmmakers in California and all girls’ school students nationally. The film festival empowers these young women to create films based on their visions and creativity, but it does not exclude men. The films are screened each year and are visited by some of the big players in the film industry; this gives the students an opportunity to learn from those currently in the industry. They also have a series of moderated panels with industry professionals. Topics included: Women in the Industry, Breaking in to the Business, and the Future of Television. They’ve had some pretty high profile speakers including the producer of the Hunger Games Nina Jacobson, Vanessa Morrison, President of Fox Studios Animation and “Legally Blonde” novelist Amanda Brown. You can purchase tickets for the upcoming festival in April here.
Archer School for Girls is a testament to the support that women give each other and recognizing that a resource for young girls is lacking. With a solid education and the support to explore so many opportunities for their future Archer is helping to shape the women of the 21st century.
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