By Colleen Pettus, Head of Holy Child School
While it is absolutely necessary for educators to relax and recharge in the summer, I am proud to say that Holy Child’s commitment to professional growth and our students’ experiences does not wane in the heat! The faculty’s continued collaboration to share and create new programming is the building block for an engaging and exciting upcoming 2023-24 school year.
Three Holy Child teachers were selected to present at the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools annual conference, which was held in Cleveland. Dr. Tim Duffy, English faculty member and director of the Advanced Humanities Institute, led other teachers in studying the global humanities through project-based assessments, open exploration, and community engagement. Middle school science faculty member Dr. Ashley Marks is a leader on our campus in experiential learning. She led a session for educators on how to get students out of their seats and use outdoor campus spaces for experiential learning activities that increase engagement and improve learning, aside from the joy and fun! Finally, Kathleen Lozano ’08 presented her project for middle school history students: “Girl Power: Investigating Women of Conscience and Action in Colonial America.” This project embodied our mission as a Holy Child school through authentic historical research and inquiry. Their curriculum-based presentations illustrated the creative and critical thinking skills Holy Child values for students to truly engage with, own, and create joy in their learning.
Professional growth and our commitment to student-centered programming were also seen right here in our quiet summer hallways. We have a keen awareness of the developmental needs of each grade and know that the transitional 9th-grade year, whether a student has moved up from our Middle School or is coming from an entirely different school environment, is a critical one. In our care for the whole child, the freshman advisory program was restructured to help the class form a community and create intentional, supportive spaces for learning and caring for each other. Advisors created a curriculum of exercises that address critical topics like self-care, managing stress, goal setting, exploring friendship groups, identifying passions and gifts, and developing study skills. Yes, transitions can be difficult. But by developing our students’ skills to own and work through the transition to high school, they will be better able to navigate the potentially more significant challenges they may encounter later in high school and beyond.
Our middle school teachers love middle school. Their love is significant since, as parents, we know that the growth from grades 5 through 8 is one of the most impactful periods of change in a child’s development. Not always easy to navigate. The Head of our Middle School, Louisa Polos, has spearheaded our first annual “Winterim” In January 2024, students will pause from their regular academic program between semesters one and two to explore new topics or passions that are typically not offered through their regular coursework. These experiential courses will be taught by our middle school faculty members, and we hope to connect and collaborate with experts outside of the building as well. This initiative will surely align with our goals of “joy in teaching, joy in learning” and “developing women of conscience and action”.
While our current campus provides so many opportunities for learning, we have exciting plans for enhancing our facilities with a new academic building. This building will reflect our mission as a Holy Child school and develop and inspire hands-on learning, most notably in the STEAM fields. There will certainly be more to share in the upcoming year!
2225 Westchester Avenue
Head of School: Colleen R. Pettus
First day of school: September
Average Class Size: 14
Student/Faculty Ratio: 7/1
First Day of School: Sept. 5