Message from the Principal
"I have the freedom to try something new, to try something creative…”
“There’s a surprising amount of academic freedom here ... we have an enormous amount of respect from the administration for what we do, and it enlivens us.”
“Each teacher here has a sense of ownership over this school and over their career and what happens in the classroom.”
Over the years at St. Agnes, programming has evolved, diversified, and matured. Our students and teachers bring passion and creativity to the table when discussing new ideas. Their aspirations become our motivation for growth. Many times, we end up realizing so much more than we first expected. For example, when the Clay Center for Sciences and Academic Services building was built in 2007, we not only expanded our AP science offerings, but we also added classes in astronomy, human genetics and forensic science (see more on pg. 17). With the Student Life Center, we anticipate new courses in theatrical lighting, sound, and set design, all of which all popular and growing fields. It is exciting to speculate on what wonderful surprises lie beyond our plans.
New buildings always create the buzz of new curriculum, but the truth is we are continually evaluating and expanding our curriculum—especially electives—where our students can explore their interests beyond the borders of their academic core classes.
Often a course is proposed by a faculty member who wants to share a particular passion. Rodney Miles was a lawyer for many years before he returned to the classroom to teach AP US History. His love for law has never waned, and as a result, his intro to law and mock trial classes are extremely popular. Students relish the opportunity to explore a potential career, and many compete with the St. Agnes teams in the regional Empire Mock Trial competitions. Others are inspired to attend Harvard Model Congress where they engage in a mock government simulation led by students from Harvard University. These electives and experiential opportunities enrich our educational program. Carleen Raymond proposed a human rights course so students could more fully delve into the social justice issues that drive the very mission of our school.
Courses such as The 1960’s, America’s Women, World War II, and The Culture and History of Spain allow teachers and students to push beyond the required world and United States history survey courses.
Students are also a catalyst for new course offerings. During the planning for the new athletics complex, we heard from student focus groups about a desire to do yoga on campus. We are now in our fourth year of offering yoga as a PE elective, and we began offering Zumba last year. When dance teacher Julie Chilton created a new tap and theatrical dance class, several boys from Strake Jesuit petitioned to join. We enthusiastically agreed to let them in, and the class is a big hit.
I have no doubt that with a spirit of creativity and innovation, our teachers and students will continue to keep our curriculum dynamic.