Dear St. Mary’s Academy Parents and Guardians,
Welcome to the 2019 - 2020 school year! Our campus looks beautiful, our classrooms are ready, and we can’t wait to have our students return next week. We have been busy this summer with campus upgrades to serve our community better. The Lower School has new carpeting, a new inspiration lab, updated Kindergarten classrooms, a new science lab including an experiment prep room, and bathroom upgrades. Bishop Evans Sports Center has a newly resurfaced and painted gym floor as well as a new fire alarm system. Finally, there are coats and coats of fresh paint all over campus!
As educators, the summer months provide us with the opportunity to reflect on our accomplishments during the 2018-2019 school year, as well as look forward to our strategic initiatives for 2019-2020. While I will be providing many updates throughout the year regarding our initiatives, I wanted to make you aware of a few new programs we have going on right now.
In our continuing effort to improve the safety and security of our campus, we are moving to radio frequency identification (RFID) badges for all SMA employees and Middle and High School students. These badges will provide access to school buildings, replacing the current code system. This system provides improved security throughout the campus.
We are excited to announce our new Sources of Strength program in our High School and Middle School. Sources of Strength is a youth suicide prevention project designed to utilize peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying, and substance abuse. The Sources of Strength program is one of the most rigorously evaluated prevention programs in the world and has successfully been implemented in a number of schools and school districts across Colorado as well as nationally. For a quick overview of the program click HERE. For more detailed information visit the Sources of Strength website.
We are continuing our partnership with the World Leadership School to enhance our Global/Purpose Learning curriculum. SMA is partnering with the World Leadership School to reimagine learning and create next-generation leaders. The World Leadership School is helping SMA do this by taking students out into the world and allowing teachers to bring purpose to learning. In purposeful classrooms, students are more likely to discover meaning, forge emotional connections, and take action around goals. In the process, students and teachers engage deeper with learning and life. Purpose is a critical antidote to the growing levels of anxiety and stress in teens today and is a potent game-changer for school culture. An excellent example of how this partnership plays out in the classroom is the new Middle School Cornerstones program. Cornerstones are thematic, interdisciplinary, and year-long journeys, during which students research and critically explore self and their relation to the whole with the goal of acting as powerful agents of change in support of our mission. The themes are explored, and developed in core and co-core classes, religion, CAT, and intensives.
Finally, we continue to move forward on our five-year strategic plan. Some specific progress examples include:
- Partnership with DU Professor Dr. Maria Salazar to further our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity
- Partnership with the World Leadership School and continuing efforts in Global/Purpose Learning
- Continuation of Loretto Formation to ensure focus on our Loretto history and identity
- Curriculum mapping to establish a consistent thread of strategic program priorities
- Wellness initiatives including Sources of Strength suicide prevention program, the Speak Up and Community Action Team Middle School programs, the continuation of Safe2Tell, PAWS positive behavior program and Second Step in the Lower School, and our relationships with the CU Depression Center and Brook Griese/Judi’s House
- Introduction of new Canvas Learning Management System and Powerschool Student Information System
- Professional Growth and Development for employees
- Safety improvements
In closing, I want to thank you for your support. We are committed to strengthening a culture committed to excellence and innovation, and supporting a community firmly rooted in our mission, vision, and Loretto School Values. As always, we welcome your feedback and value your engagement.