Best Practices

The High Rocks Pledge:

I, (insert full name here), do solemnly swear to have respect for myself, respect for others, and respect for this place, in order to uphold the traditions of loyalty, honesty, trust, acceptance and adventure, founded by the girls (students) who have come before me, as I am now a sister (brother, member) of the High Rocks.

This honor code guides behavior and attitude in all our programs.  We find that if we all live by the honor code, we don’t need any rules.

For a deeper understanding of our approach to education and the learning culture we are trying to create, please take a moment to read our Best Practices for High ROcks academy that informs the work we do with all young people. 

At High Rocks we:

Support girls to be their BEST SELVES. We

  1. guide girls to examine their own beliefs and values rather than impose our own.
  2. ensure that all girls have weekly access to one-on-one attention from trustworthy adults.
  3. model healthy lifestyle choices, social/environmental responsibility and respect for diversity.
  4. practice self-development and self-identification in a same-sex environment that minimizes the influence of sexual pressures.
  5. believe in the power of positive energy among young people and the importance of positive mentors and peer groups.
  6. apply the label “gifted” to all girls, and renounce other labels.


  1. build creative thinking through the arts, math, writing, and science.
  2. believe that challenges build perseverance, self-worth, ownership of one’s choices, and faith.
  3. praise quality of effort rather than natural ability or outcome.
  4. push girls to more deeply engage with themselves and the world around them by approaching activism from the ground up, valuing personal experience for its intrinsic value and as an indicator of broader cultural and societal issues.
  5. create opportunities for girls to practice their best-selves in new environments to build confidence, flexible thinking, and respect for diversity.


  1. value the strength of an intergenerational network of women.
  2. honor many girls natural tendency to form groups by creating collaborative groups that support their best-selves, transformations, and learning.
  3. create “group agreements” to set norms and processes for group problem-solving and interactions (rather outside policing by a top-down authority structure).
  4. adhere to an honor code created by our girls that prioritizes healing and restitution over punishment.

Grow a healthy ORGANIZATION. We

  1. take care of ourselves and each other to keep inspiration, enthusiasm, and engagement authentic.
  2. involve girls’ voices, leadership, and ownership in the direction of our organization by creating a variety of opportunities for input (as paid board consultants, as facility designers, in one-on-one conversations with staff, program evaluations).
  3. use mid-program and final evaluations to make programming adjustments and inform future efforts.
  4. create occasions to express our gratitude for each other.
  5. build a community of leaders with leadership education for all members and leadership opportunities within all levels of the organization.