Dear Ursuline Family,
Last month we celebrated the commencement exercises of Ursuline Academy's 145th graduating class. Being entrusted with the education and development of the young women of Ursuline is both an awesome responsibility and an incredible joy!
The Ursuline Core Values, provided to us by the Ursuline Sisters, will forever inspire these graduates and ensure the timelessness of the Ursuline mission. With the Sisters' vision and spirit to guide us, we continue to embrace innovative new ways of integrating those core values in the Ursuline experience of Catholic education.
For our students and teachers, that means teaching in ways that are personalized to meet the individual learning preferences of each girl. It also means providing a learning environment that encourages collaboration, exploration, creativity, risk-taking, true community and inclusion, and through it all ... instilling a lifelong commitment to Serviam and the call to leadership.
Ursuline's academic programming is evolving to become more fully learner driven. The goal is for student voice and choice to play a significant role in the learning process. Focusing on their well-being, we are taking steps to help our students achieve balance and develop skill sets for navigating an increasingly small and interconnected world.
We are proud of the success of our Advisory program, which provides each student with a dedicated adult advisor and advocate for all four years. We plan our school days intentionally with a later start than most and with a rotating block schedule to enable the longer class periods that research shows are more beneficial to teenage girls' learning. We have established a new Grade Level Dean structure to ensure our students are supported and cared for and eliminated Quarters 1 and 3 grading periods to reduce the stress of end of quarter assessments.
The research shows we are on the right path. A recent study commissioned by the National Coalition of Girls Schools investigated the effects of all-girls education in fostering academic and social engagement. The findings identified several key areas in which all-girls schools are distinctively preparing their students for success in college and beyond. The study concluded that girls school graduates:
- Have stronger academic skills
- Are more academically engaged
- Demonstrate higher science self-confidence
- Express stronger community involvement
- Display higher levels of cultural competency, and
- Exhibit increased political engagement.
Ursuline is making exciting progress toward the exceptional Faculty Professional Learning goals set forth in our strategic roadmap. This past year, 100% of all teaching faculty achieved Microsoft Innovative Educator (MIE) certification. Highly talented, our faculty presented at national and regional conferences and continued to explore topics such as personalized learning pathways, cross-curricular learning, standards-based grading, blended learning and alternative assessment.
The Academy and I are truly blessed to have such a strong administrative team. In 39 years of Catholic school education, I cannot think of a more outstanding, dedicated, and talented group of leaders. And I cannot thank them enough for all they do for our students and our faculty. Their leadership is invaluable as we move forward, in partnership with each of you, to achieve the goals of Ursuline education.
Throughout its long history, Ursuline's growth has always depended on progressive vision shared by a devoted community. Today, from our deep roots in Dallas, Ursuline branches out across the U.S. and around the globe, including unique partnerships for educational and cultural exchange with 12 sister schools in 11 countries.
Our focus on innovation notwithstanding, the Ursuline Core Values live as vibrantly as ever – through our students and families, employees, and alumnae who embrace the Ursuline mission each day in preparing young women for the changing world they will inherit. From all of us at Ursuline Academy of Dallas, we thank you for your most vital support.
Yours in Christ,
Gretchen Z. Kane