"If, according to times and circumstances, the need arises to
make new rules or do something differently, then do it
prudently and with good advice."
St. Angela Merici - Last Legacy
Dear Ursuline Family,
St. Angela Merici, who founded the Order of St. Ursula almost five centuries ago, left us a legacy of how to live and to be open. I believe St. Angela would be proud of our educational apostolate and confident in the knowledge that the qualities of faith, unity, intellect, perseverance and passion continue to define Ursuline women. She would perhaps, even be inspired by our innovative programming which distinguishes Ursuline as a premier academy that always strives to improve both as an educational institution and as a center of culture and faith.
In keeping with St. Angela's Last Legacy, Ursuline Academy has recently journeyed through several thoughtfully aligned planning processes (Strategic Planning, Ursuline Identity Assessment, Campus Master Planning Process, and Accreditation Self-Study and Visit). This dynamic and extensive experience has been characterized by data analysis, crowdsourcing, feedback from varied constituency groups, research, and expert advice. Mapping Our Future, Ursuline's strategic roadmap, provides the lens with which we envision our path forward. Five interconnected imperatives focus on our students and the faculty who will be their mentors and guides, as well as on the physical environments that promote the highest standards in teaching and learning.
Ursuline Academy has much to be thankful for...our students who are nothing short of remarkable; our faculty, staff and administrators who lead with care, respect and love; and, our parents who partner with us in a mission deeply rooted in grateful service. The accomplishments of the 2017-18 school year are too numerous to list here, but I thought I would share a few that provide insight into the current focus on Ursuline's strategic imperatives.
- Personalized learning approaches, student well-being, growth mindset, and community and inclusion constituted school-wide priorities for the academic year. Several experts assisted us, including Brad Rathgeber, Head of School & CEO of OneSchoolhouse (personalized learning), Dr. Lisa Damour, author of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood and Executive Director of Laurel School's Center of Research on Girls (student well-being and growth mindset), and Dr. Gene Batiste, former Vice President for Professional Development and School Field Services & Equity and Justice Initiatives at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) (Community & Inclusion).
- A new faculty evaluation model was developed and will be launched in 2018-19.
- Over 75% of the faculty have participated in Microsoft Innovative Educator certification training.
- Following a feasibility study conducted last school year, the Campus Master Plan informed by the strategic roadmap was revised.
- Two additional sister school partnerships in Taiwan and Australia enhanced our global program.
- Formation in the spirituality of St. Angela Merici continued for faculty/staff through Angela retreats and Angela Merici Advisories.
- A student well-being task force spent time throughout the year studying (1) student workload, (2) daily schedule, and (3) extra-curricular activities. One result was the elimination of quarter averages as a percentage of the semester grade to go into effect for the 2018-19 academic term.
- Over 15% of the faculty/administration have engaged in learning about personalized pathways and approaches to learning (through OneSchoolhouse's online course, collaborative learning groups, or individual research).
- A "student-centered" course request process for scheduling of classes occurred this year, omitting the first-come, first-served approach. The process worked well and removed much stress.
- Ursuline launched its new website making it easier to access information through mobile devices.
Yours in Christ,
Gretchen Z. Kane