We are looking ahead with great anticipation to the 23-24 academic year! Students will have new opportunities to explore academic interests, develop into independent learners, prepare for new challenges, plan for their futures, and just have fun. These are some of the plans:
Exploring Areas of Academic Interest: The Middle School STEM program will be enhanced to include a new course on coding focused on the python programming language. Middle and upper school students also can learn to read music and play the piano in a new keyboarding class. In the Upper School, new elective courses will be offered including an in-depth study of Dante’s Inferno, 2oth Century Catholic Fiction, Financial Literacy, and the second year of American Sign Language. New co-curricular field trips will be added as well.
Preparation & Skill Building: We recently completed our three-year accreditation self-study on the student experience and set school improvement goals based on needs identified through personal interviews with every student. Over the next five years, we will focus on enhancing each student’s experience by:
- Expanding orientation programs with incoming students and improving transition support for all students as they change grades and divisions; and
- Creating an intentional process to develop independent learners that meet competencies appropriate to their developmental stage.
We will expand on the student focus groups led by Mrs. Mary Pat Dadisman. She meets with randomized small groups of students from all grade levels to have informal conversations on a range of topics including academics, social issues, and spiritual development. Students are encouraged to share their thoughts and suggestions about the transitions from one grade level to the next, campus events, student activities, and behavioral expectations. Mrs. Amanda Smith, school counselor, and a small group of teachers meet regularly with randomized groups of upper school students for open conversations about the pressures of being adolescents and teenagers. The goal of these sessions is to discuss issues related to mental health and well-being, such as depression, anxiety, stress management, self-care, academic pressures, and support resources. Students also have the option of signing up for lunch time “listening groups” with Mrs. Smith to process information about issues in the school, community, or world that they don’t fully understand.
Planning for the Future: Mrs. Maggie Gerwig, director of enrollment & career discovery, was previously assistant director of career exploration at the University of Georgia where her primary role was to help students choose a major. She will work with juniors and seniors on what it means to choose a college major and how to choose a major. Mrs. Gerwig will help students connect what they know about themselves to college major options and learn the strategy behind choosing a college major. Mrs. Kari Alderman, college counselor, will host a weekend-long bus tour of colleges in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia.