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A View From My Office

A Message from the Head of School: A View from My NDA Office

Dear NDA Family,

Today is April 7th. As I sit at the desk in my NDA office, my windows are open and I enjoy the field hockey pre-game music and action on the field; Mia and Bianca are home, likely resting after our beautiful morning walk; I enjoy the bouquet of small pink roses which are beginning to open, and as I sip my afternoon cup of tea, I can’t believe that 4th quarter is upon us and planning for year-end activities is in full swing. It seems like just yesterday when we were just welcoming NDA students back on campus, reminding each to “remain in the bubble,” so uncertain about what this year would bring.

Though not over yet, this academic year has brought so much. Most of all, it has brought me great pride. The tenacity, adaptability, optimism, empathy, and care that each of our faculty, staff, and students have shown has been nothing short of amazing. Even as each individual has had to overcome obstacles in their personal lives, every person has also provided a tremendous amount of support and encouragement for others. Over the last few weeks, many teachers have had to take time off to obtain their vaccine. In some cases (like me!), the vaccine necessitated a little extra time out of the office to recuperate, and I was amazed at how quickly others would jump in to cover classes. I am so happy to report that almost all NDA staff who wanted the vaccine are completely vaccinated. Looking forward to the students having their opportunity next.

I am also very proud of the recent “Sport your Support” event hosted by NDA Student Council. In total they raised $1083.80, with the 9th graders donating $600. For this event, each grade chose a non- profit organization, and the proceeds were divided amongst each. The organizations that will be receiving donations include the Alzheimer's Association, National MS Society, National Breast Cancer Foundation, St. Jude’s Children Hospital for Childhood Cancer, ADAA, the ALS Association as well as the NDA Lenten Mission. Not only do we thank those who donated, but we give a big thank you to all teachers who agreed to get pied in the face. It was a big hit!

On March 31st, another big event happened on campus. With appropriate safety precautions and distancing in place, a few friends, family, and previous field hockey players of our beloved coach Patricia Provost came to witness her win her 600th field hockey game! As our field hockey coach, Miss Provost has had 600 victories, 159 losses, and 113 ties. She has won 4 state championships (1992, 2002, 2003, and 2005), 13 District Championships (92, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 00, 02. 93, 04. 05, 06, 08), and has been a Central Mass Conference Champion for 23 consecutive years and 30 years total. Every athlete Patty has coached has memories to last a lifetime. Memories filled with a sense of belonging to a special family and feeling the confidence to do amazing things. Memories filled with rituals. Memories of her fur coat. Memories of her quotes and uplifting messages. Memories of lining up before a game and hearing her say "I wish you luck, I wish you a great game, and I wish you fun".

Patricia Provost embodies the spirit of a true NDA Rebel. As we look to reinvigorate and bring our NDA mascot, the Rebel, to life over the next few months, we will look at Patty for inspiration. On behalf of the entire NDA community, I would like to once again thank her for her passion for NDA, for loving our students, pushing our athletes, inspiring all of us - and reminding us all to always enjoy each and every moment. I promised her that when it is safe to invite every person whose life she has impacted to celebrate her incredible achievement with us, we will!

We also look forward to many upcoming Spring celebrations including our 8th grade promotion ceremony on June 3rd, our Junior/Senior Prom on May 14th, and Senior Graduation on May 30th. We are finalizing details for each event based on new guidance and will be sharing details shortly. However, I can share that graduation will occur on the traditional graduation lawn and each graduate will be able to invite 6 guests each. Although other schools may have to limit due to space constraints, because of our size, we can accommodate the maximum under the guidelines. We also hope to live stream for those who are not able to attend in person. I am very excited for all of the celebrations and hope that every community member continues to abide by the guidelines so we all stay healthy, and students can enjoy these traditional festivities.

The coronavirus pandemic has also unleashed an explosion of recent anti-Asian racism in the United States, ranging from derogatory slurs, to blaming the outbreak on people of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, to violent physical attacks. Recent events in our country remind us all that there is still so much work to be done. Silence or lack of acknowledgment in these events can contribute to the perpetuation of these incidents. As we all know - "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing." The fact is many children in the AAPI community live in fear that their parents or grandparents will be attacked when they simply go out for a walk or to perform a simple task like buying groceries. Notre Dame Academy publicly acknowledges the recent rise in anti-Asian crimes and denounces anti-Asian racism. Over the next few weeks, our social media will highlight how our students have been involved in these discussions both in the classrooms and in our Diversity Club.

Let us pray for the continued support and love to sustain the mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, “women with hearts as wide as the world, make known God’s goodness and love with and among people living in poverty, through a Gospel way of life, community and prayer,” at Notre Dame Academy.

Wishing you springtime joy and continued good health,

Lisa
Lisa Mancini ‘88 P‘18
Head of School
Notre Dame Academy
lmancini@nda-worc.org

A Message from the Head of School: A View from My NDA Office

Dear NDA Family,

Today is March 24th. I had big plans for today’s “View.” Today, I planned to share that I would no longer begin my bi-weekly communication with the COVID statistics we have been watching grow over the last year. With the passing of the first anniversary of the pandemic announcement and the fact that, of the NDA Faculty and Staff planning on getting the vaccine, nearly 90% are fully or partially vaccinated and the remaining have appointments scheduled, I feel it is time to look ahead to the future with a positive lens.

Typically, I spend every other Wednesday morning reflecting on the incredible work of our students, faculty, and staff and ensuring that I am communicating important information that would be helpful to both current parents and the broader community. Of course, I have been told that this communication wouldn’t be the same without an update on Mia and Bianca as well. I assure you that they are both well and loving the spring beautiful weather.

While we have so much hope for the future, this week’s edition is instead a reminder that we are not yet at the finish line. Today we have had a positive case of COVID-19 within our in-person learning community. We were notified of the positive test result this morning and have just completed appropriate contract tracing following the DESE timeframe and guidelines. The members of the school community that were close contacts and at risk for potential exposure spoke with Mrs. Burke, NDA School Nurse, today. She has reviewed the next steps and any necessary quarantine with students who were a close contact as well as with their parents.

The school will remain open at this time and we will continue to utilize the CDC recommendations to reduce viral transmission and keep our students, faculty, and staff safe. All sanitation and cleaning measures remain in place. Please continue to direct your daughter(s) to follow the on-campus safety guidelines with hand sanitation, social distancing, and mask-wearing. Additionally, please remember to do the daily check for COVID symptoms and keep your daughter(s) home if needed. The checklist is:

 

  • Fever (100.4° Fahrenheit or higher), chills or shaking chills
  • Cough (not due to other known cause, such as a chronic cough)
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Headache when in combination with other symptoms
  • Muscle aches or body aches
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Fatigue, when in combination with other symptoms
  • ​​​​​​​Nasal congestion or runny nose (not due to other known causes, such as allergies) when in combination with other symptoms

Even as we look ahead with a positive lens, we must not let our guard down. We appreciate the efforts of every family to help ensure our campus remains a safe environment during this challenging time. As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me. In my next communication, I will share some of the upcoming celebrations that the end of the school should bring! May the holy season of Lent continue to be a time of spiritual renewal.

Warmest Regards,

Lisa
Lisa Mancini ‘88 P‘18
Head of School
Notre Dame Academy
lmancini@nda-worc.org

 
   

A Message from the Head of School: A View from My NDA Office

Dear NDA Family,

Today is March 10th. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 28,937,762 total cases and 524,695 total deaths resulting from COVID-19 in the US, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 116,874,912 total cases and 2,597,381 total deaths around the world. According to the researchers at Our World in Data, more than 319 million doses of vaccines have now been administered worldwide. The US alone has administered over 93.7 million. The Mass.gov weekly report indicates that as of March 4th, there have been 1,868,847 total cumulative vaccine doses administered in the state. At Notre Dame Academy, of the Faculty and Staff, planning on getting the vaccine, 23% are fully vaccinated, 50% are partially vaccinated, and 27% are still searching for available appointments. Last week, we had an opportunity to share our excitement about school staff vaccine eligibility with Spectrum News.

As I sit at the desk in my NDA office, my windows are open and I am so grateful for a sunny day knowing Spring is on the way; I know that Mia and Bianca are home wishing they were outside enjoying the sunshine; I enjoy the beautiful bright bouquet of flowers that sit on my desk, and as I sip my cup of tea, I can’t believe that my very first edition of the “View” was shared with the NDA community nearly a year ago. It read,

“Today is March 19th, the fourth day of Virtual School for Notre Dame Academy students. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 7,038 total cases and 97 total deaths as a result of COVID-19 in the US and the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 191,127 total cases and 7,807 total deaths around the world. For sure, these are scary and challenging times with significant impacts globally and in our own individual lives.

As I sit at the desk in my home office, the rain patters on my windows; my dogs, Mia and Bianca, nap at my feet, happy to have me home but clueless to what is happening in the world; and I sip my cup of tea thinking about how much I already miss the sounds of the young women in the NDA hallways and classrooms.

As I sit at the desk in my home office, I am also struck by how well Notre Dame Academy faculty and students have adapted to a virtual learning environment in such a short period of time. As an NDA alumna, a mother of a recent graduate, and a Member of the Board of Trustees for five years, I am no stranger to the high standards of an NDA education. Nor is the idea that NDA has long been a community of people that care about, respect, and love each other a foreign concept to me. Yet the last few days I have watched the fundamental learning and the caring that is going on and I could not be prouder – NDA faculty and students have exceeded my expectations.

Though we continue to learn how to manage student assignments and workloads while ensuring we maintain personal connections, I have seen tremendous examples of varied teaching methods and the use of creative programs resulting in superb work from faculty and students. As a G-suite educational community where most classes were already using Google Classroom, NDA was quickly able to adapt and prepare for the extended time out of the classroom.

Over the last three days, I have watched teachers posting lessons in their Google Classrooms. These lessons have included self-made and internet videos or reading assignments in textbooks, as well as activities, to go along with the lesson.

Teachers are available on-line for questions or help and have held group chats and conference calls via Meet, Zoom, and other platforms as well. Students are engaged and the entire community has embraced our new way of learning.”

In reflecting on what I wrote in that first issue one year ago, I could not have imagined that the number of deaths around the world would have grown from 7,807 to 2,597,381. I did not fathom the depths of the economic and social disruption that would be caused by the pandemic or the significant toll on every aspect of our lives that we would endure. I didn’t know that COVID-19 would turn the world upside down and impact everything - how we live and interact with each other; how we learn, work, and communicate; how we move around and travel. I had no idea how much I would miss social gatherings - and hugs. Yet, I had great confidence that the Notre Dame Academy community would adapt and come together to learn, to pray, and to care. I was right. The last year has been anything but easy, but we have embraced the challenge and, as a result, we are stronger as humans, as learners, and as a community.

Our lives have been changed forever. Our school has been changed forever. It is my assertion that, for all of the ugliness the pandemic has brought in the last year, NDA has transformed in so many positive ways. Though not an easy feat, we have shown that, with modifications, education can occur in the classrooms on campus safely. Even competitive athletics are taking place! Teachers and students have learned new technology and new ways to connect. We have maintained our focus on our student and staff safety without losing sight of the importance of academic rigor or emotional and social well-being. Creativity, adaptability, and resilience have won.

It is fitting that this year’s theme for International Women’s Day on March 8th was #ChooseToChallenge. This day recognizes the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women globally, and it's a call to action for gender parity. In a year full of challenges, Notre Dame Academy stands with those who inspire all individuals to challenge biases, question stereotypes and celebrate the achievements of women around the world. For sure, we instill the importance of doing so in our students every day.

While all things COVID have been the primary focus since March 13th, 2020, we have also made tremendous progress on many initiatives that we had planned to accomplish. This week we rolled out a refreshed course sequence for some academic departments as well as many new electives for upperclassman. Some of the 21-22 electives include the return of Women Writers, as well as new courses such as Social Protest and Social Change, Introduction to Engineering Design, Biotechnology, Ecological Studies, World Health & Bioethics, and Green Chemistry. Mrs. Butler, NDA Principal, and the STEM Academic Team have also been working incredibly hard, partnering with WPI to develop a brand new STEM Certificate for high school students this fall.

Our Campus Ministry program has continued to evolve to ensure a deepening of the Mission of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur based on the Hallmarks and the life of St. Julie Billiart. A “Notre Dame Academy Prayer” was created and is said each morning; afternoon prayer includes a focus on the liturgical year and current events. Over the coming months, you will continue to hear about additional initiatives that are part of our ongoing Strategic Planning efforts. And be on the look-out for announcements on Summer Programming that is being planned in conjunction with the Alliance for Catholic Schools, with St. John’s and Venerini Academy.

To hear ongoing updates, be sure to follow our NDA Facebook and Instagram pages. And all NDA Parents are always welcome to participate in the monthly Parent Association meeting, led by Tara Leahy. At the start of each meeting, I provide updates and answer parent questions.

Meetings occur on the first Monday of each month at 6 pm. Parents can also subscribe to a daily email that includes announcements and important reminders. To do so, click on the orange bell “Alert” icon under “All School News and Events” on the NDA homepage.

One of the most exciting announcements shared this week is that we have decided that the NDA Junior-Senior Prom is happening this year! One of the advantages to a small school is the ability to host Prom in a safe manner. The event will be held on Friday, May 14th at the AC Marriott Hotel in downtown Worcester. We will be following the AC Marriott's safety guidelines in accordance with the state of Massachusetts. Given I did not attend my high school prom, I am personally looking forward to attending my first Prom with the NDA Classes of 2021 and 2022. Let the dress shopping begin!

A quick reminder for current NDA families, please ensure that you have submitted the survey distributed by Ms. Haley if your daughter(s) is changing remote status for the 4th quarter.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me. I am looking forward to all of the excitement and celebrations that the end of the school should bring! In good times and in adversity, in contentment and in difficulty, may the Lord hold your hand and guide you to happiness and peace during Lent and always.

Lenten blessings,

Lisa
Lisa Mancini ‘88 P‘18
Head of School
Notre Dame Academy
lmancini@nda-worc.org

Dear NDA Family,

Today is February 24th. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 28,065,327 total cases and 501,181 total deaths resulting from COVID-19 in the US, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 111,762,965 total cases and 2,479,678 total deaths around the world.

According to the researchers at Our World in Data, more than 7.79 billion doses of vaccines have now been administered worldwide. The US alone has administered over 331 million. The Mass.gov weekly report indicates that as of February 18th, there have been 1,209,614 total cumulative vaccine doses administered in the state, and NDA Faculty and Staff are still anxiously awaiting our turn.

As I sit at the desk in my home office, I open my windows to hear the sound of the chickadee outside which will forever remind me of my father; Mia and Bianca enjoyed an early morning walk and now rest at my feet; I enjoy a bouquet of pretty tulips; and as I sip my cup of tea, I am hopeful that the remainder of this years’ bi-weekly communications will be written from my NDA office!

Before leaving for February break the school enjoyed Spirit Week activities. Every day had a different theme and the halls were filled with students and staff in costume. Over the course of February, we also participated in the celebration of Black History Month as a community. I was so impressed with the student involvement this year. Creative students in the Diversity Club each took a turn designing daily posts for our social media page featuring important black people in history. The Diversity Club also enjoyed an activity block with a guest, Dominique Price. Through my involvement with the EforAll Central Massachusetts organization, I have been working with Dom on the development of a new game inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. His BlackedOut Game is a Black history card game that can be used in both educational and recreational settings. Dom joined the Club to play the game virtually with our students. I think we all learned a few things! You can read more about Dom and his card game in the recent Worcester Business Journal article.

In my last communication, I promised to share how we are celebrating our current NDA Seniors in special ways. On February 14th, to commemorate the 100-day countdown to graduation, the NDA parent association organized special deliveries to the homes of our Seniors from their NDA Little Sisters. Such a wonderful surprise for the NDA Seniors! Over the next few months, Seniors will be working on many projects, including the capstone Senior Project which combines Literature and the Arts, to close out their educational experience at NDA. Senior Projects are always one of my favorites! Next month we begin graduation planning and will make a final determination about the Junior-Senior prom. The Spring is sure to be filled with lots of activity - including the Fall II Athletics season for cross country, field hockey, soccer, and volleyball!

In closing, I also promised to share the video recording of our incredible Rebel With A Cause virtual event. If you were unable to join us you can view the whole evening here: https://vimeo.com/511328615/456f7e725e. Enjoy!

As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me. I am looking forward to being back on campus, hopefully for the remainder of the year!

Warmest winter blessings,

Lisa

Lisa Mancini ‘88 P‘18
Head of School
Notre Dame Academy
lmancini@nda-worc.org

A Message from the Head of School: A View from My NDA Office

Dear NDA Family,

Today is February 10th. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported 26,939,515 total cases and 463,659 total deaths resulting from COVID-19 in the US, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported 106,125,682 total cases and 2,320,497 total deaths around the world. According to the researchers at Our World in Data, more than 7.79 billion doses of vaccines have now been administered worldwide. The US alone has administered over 42 million. The Mass.gov weekly report indicates that as of February 4th, there have been 681,472 total cumulative vaccine doses administered in the state, and NDA Faculty and Staff are anxiously awaiting our turn.

As I sit at the desk in my NDA office, I love seeing the snow-covered fields outside my window (though I hope it melts in time for our delayed Fall 2 sports season), I know that Mia and Bianca enjoyed frolicking in the snow yesterday and are likely napping today; I enjoy some flowers promising me that signs of spring are not that far ahead, and as I sip my cup of tea, I think about how wonderful it was for the NDA community to come together last Saturday night for the “Rebel With A Cause” virtual event.

It was such a fabulous evening, and I am so appreciative to the NDA alums, families, faculty, friends, donors, and sponsors who participated in the celebration. The event raised $90,000 for student financial aid and the NDA Rebel Fund. The Rebel Fund is our supplemental fund for those who need financial support beyond what NDA can offer in traditional financial aid. If you are able to help us reach our $100,000 goal, please donate here. Your generosity goes a long way to ensure that all students, no matter their socioeconomic background, can be a part of the complete NDA experience.

For those who were not able to attend the event, or for those like me who found it so inspiring and want to watch it over again, we will be sharing the video recording soon. In addition to raising important funds, the evening celebrated this year's Knollwood Award Honorees: Moira Moynihan-Manoog '86, Tammy Ragsdale Pozerycki '88, and Victoria Waterman; this year’s Society of the Arts Inductees: Timmary Leary '89, Julia Noone '07, and Tara Reddy Young '92, as well as this year’s Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees: Katherine Mulford Phillips '01 and Elizabeth Andreoli Smiley '82. The focus of the evening was to showcase what is possible when young women are given the opportunity of an all-girls education. At NDA, we pride ourselves on developing expansive thinking, character, values, and voices. NDA graduates are undoubtedly actionable game-changers in the world.

Ciana Godin ’04, chef and owner at Alice and Lulu’s Alpine Eatery and Wine Bar, kicked off the evening by sharing recipes and demonstrating how to prepare a delicious drink and appetizer. I can’t wait for a trip to Maine to try other items from her menu! The dynamic, Emmy-Award Winning Dani Davis '84 was our incredible host for the evening and she certainly dazzled us with her warm and upbeat personality.

The evening also included the celebration of our beloved Athletic Director, Coach, and Physical Education teacher, Patricia Provost, who has dedicated the last 45 years to NDA. It was evident how so many of our honorees, presenters, and attendees have been impacted by Ms. Provost. Even though I was never an athlete, while a student at NDA and for the first time in my life, I enjoyed physical education (PE) class. Ms. Provost fostered feelings of competency and self-esteem beyond those gained in the academic classrooms. Beyond PE, she built an entire athletic program from the ground up, with many teams winning district and state championships over the years. Beyond the athletic program, she taught so many students life lessons and had powerful positive impacts that will stay with the NDA alum for their entire lives. We look forward to continuing the celebration of her upcoming retirement - and we certainly also look forward to her 600th game as the NDA field hockey coach! Keep your eye on this communication and our social media for more information on how we will continue to honor the very special Patty Provost!

In my next communication, I will also share how we are celebrating our current NDA Seniors in special ways. Beginning with the 100-day countdown (shhh…. there will be a surprise for them soon!), until graduation day, there are many activities and events to celebrate their senior year. Of course, this year, much like last year, will look slightly different for seniors, but we look forward to many celebrations and creating special memories with them!

This week I would also like to share some of the exciting activities and assignments in some of our classes. NDA teachers continue to be innovative to ensure that students stay engaged whether they are in the classroom or attending classes remotely. In addition, as evidenced by many of these examples, teachers continue to focus on the whole student.

  • Mrs. Valentine’s Senior World Religions classes took part in a Zen meditation while learning about Zen Buddhism. The students first were instructed on proper body positioning and then meditated to see if they could achieve the goal of Zen meditation, to regulate attention. This involves clearing the mind of all thought and is believed to improve physical and mental health. These students are also creating their own "Koans" for presentation. A Koan is a story, dialogue, question, or statement which is used in Zen practice to provoke "great doubt". It is formatted like a riddle and meant for contemplation.
  • Mrs. Cook’s 8th-grade History class began their unit about the Early Middle Ages by learning about the Book of Kells. Students created their own illuminations of the Birth of Christ, the Good Shepherd, and the Last Supper while watching the acclaimed animation The Secret of Kells.
  • Ms. Inman’s 7th Grade English class looked at the theme and main idea in the memoir "Mississippi Solo" by creating a playlist that embodies these ideas. Students had to find a song and explain how the lyrics and mood-related to certain aspects of the text.
  • Ms. Inman’s 8th Grade class is about to start To Kill a Mockingbird. Their pre-reading activity was discussing the idea of banning books. Since To Kill a Mockingbird is often on the yearly Banned Book lists they had a discussion on what books can be banned about and where there is merit to this idea. They also discussed who should have the power to ban and what it means to be reading a book that creates this type of impact.
  • Ms. Tsantinis’ American Literature class is finishing the novel, The Great Gatsby. As an assignment, students will visit museum sites to find at least five different images that could be used as book covers to reflect the novel’s many themes. In addition, they will come up with one visual image of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Hollow Men” and connect that image to one of the five they present for the novel. The museums on the list are The Chicago Art Institute, The MFA/Boston, Worcester Art Museum, The Frick, The Guggenheim, MOMA, The Clark, The Whitney, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • Dr. Fam’s 7th grade Science classes created a "Respiratory System as Fruit' pictograph where they had to depict each part of the respiratory system as a fruit or vegetable, label it and state its function. They were very creative, had fun, and learned a lot. The class has also made a simple lung model and Dr. Fam did a demonstration of a heart pump for the circulatory system
  • Dr. Fam’s 8th grade Science students worked in groups to give presentations about specific human behaviors that impact the planet. These impacts include Deforestation, desertification, overharvesting, global warming, and non-native species. The students also had to write a paper about these topics.
  • Mrs. Goyette’s sophomore’s US History 1 class just completed a Bill of Rights inquiry project. Each student researched one amendment, why the Framers included it, how the interpretation of the amendment has changed over time, and what the amendment means today. They presented their findings to the class. They are now exploring the essential question, "How does America's past help us understand America's present?" The sophomores are on their way to becoming constitutional scholars!
  • Mr. Wilson’s World History II classes covered Imperialism (1870 to 1914) in general and the horrible policies of Leopold II in the Congo in particular in which he forced Congolese to cut and strip rubber from large trees and plants as well as tons of ivory tusks from elephants, shipping these raw materials back to Belgium. This week, Sister Evelyn who collects "cans for the Congo" and goes to the Congo every other year, presented to the class on life in the Congo celebrating their cultural, linguistic, and tribal traditions.

I continue to be so proud of our faculty for continuing to delve deep into topics and to pose challenging nuanced questions to initiate classroom dialogue that makes students think critically. This dialogue allows for meaningful and inclusive discussions that teach skills that cannot be learned from a textbook - and there is magic in these opportunities. COVID-19 has negatively impacted learning for millions of children across the country.  I am confident that NDA students have not missed a beat. In addition to academic learning, there has also been a renewed focus on the social-emotional health of our community since the onset of the pandemic. This year, more robust peer support groups, 1:1 meetings, and seminar class discussions have given students space to address some of their concerns and needs in a safe and productive manner.

Teachers across the globe are feeling the heavy weight of burnout and compassion fatigue - and NDA is no different. The pandemic has taken its toll on faculty. Teachers have a significant workload in “normal” times and the pandemic has caused them to learn new technology, re-work lesson plans, alter curriculum, be ready for a change in environment at a moment’s notice. Teachers are nurturing professionals and caring about the social and emotional needs while ensuring the health and safety of their students has impacted faculty in a profound way. Every day I am in awe of how the NDA faculty and staff have handled the difficult environment and have maintained a focus on our students.

This week NDA students also showed their appreciation for our teachers and other essential workers by sending cards with beautiful messages of thanks. This effort was part of the celebration of Catholic Schools Week and Foundress Day last week. This focus continues during Spirit Week as Thursday is Essential Workers Day. We hope the other days offer some lighthearted fun during the middle of winter, and we look forward to the color splash of class pride on Friday. During the month of February, you can also check out our social media pages to see all the ways we are celebrating Black History Month. You can also enjoy photos from this week’s Spirit Week before students head out for February break. As a reminder, NDA will transition to virtual learning again the week after February vacation, February 22 through February 26 and we look forward to returning safely to campus on March 1st!

As always, should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me. Enjoy this week’s new-fallen snow! Stay warm and stay safe.

Warm winter blessings,

Lisa

Lisa Mancini ‘88 P‘18
Head of School
Notre Dame Academy
lmancini@nda-worc.org