Transforming stumbling blocks into opportunities is a hallmark of the Academy of the Holy Angels’ growth mindset education. In March 2020, as school campuses closed due to COVID-19 health concerns, AHA’s innovative problem-solvers shifted to distance learning, proving “online” is simply another “place” to learn.
“School is a building. We are a community,” says AHA Principal Jean Miller.
A Faculty That Goes the Extra Mile
“My extraordinary faculty members are passionate about their work,” says Miller. “I am humbled by their passion and effort. Online learning allowed students to see teachers as life-long learners who resolve tech issues, ‘regular people’ with families and pets and caring educators. This social-emotional connection promotes durable learning.”
Faculty members amped up their tech savvy to ensure the Angels had online options to take AP exams, experience virtual college tours, participate in honor society inductions and model their college gear. Wellness Wednesday, the stress-busting initiative launched in September 2019, continued with school-wide emails containing health tips, meditative music, and more. Seniors enjoyed a livestreamed Mass, an online Senior Retreat, and a video celebration of their achievements.
The instrumental music teacher evaluated students by having them video themselves playing with recordings by professional ensembles. Science teachers used virtual labs with online simulations. Educators utilized EdPuzzle, TedTalks, YouTube and Kahoot. AHA’s librarian assisted with resources, and instructors offered online “office hours.”
A Community of Present and Engaged Students
“The Holy Angels student did not just sit home with worksheets,” says Miller. “They were present and engaged every day.”
Even online, AHA followed the regular class schedule. Parents expressed gratitude to the Academy for providing structure and educational continuity.
Students produced several videos, including a fashion show, musical performances, a Teacher Appreciation Week tribute and a poignant farewell from the Class of 2020. One senior recorded herself singing the “Alma Mater” so her classmates could join her one last time.
Since the School Sisters of Notre Dame founded AHA in 1879, Angels have been learning everywhere they are. Students renovate homes in Appalachia, study at Oxford, supply a food bank with produce grown in AHA’s greenhouse and so much more.
315 Hillside Ave., Demarest