NDA In The News

Notre Dame Academy to Award Full Tuition Scholarships to Entrance Exam Top Scorers

Worcester, MA- Monday October 29, 2018- Notre Dame Academy has announced that this year they will be awarding four (4) full scholarships to the top scorers on their Entrance Exam.

The scholarships will be awarded to two incoming seventh graders and two incoming ninth graders. The young women will be awarded a full scholarship for every year that she attends Notre Dame.

“We are excited to celebrate the academic talents of these students as they join the NDA community,” said Kathryn Woodson Barr, Notre Dame Academy Head of School. “Notre Dame Academy has a challenging curriculum with Advanced Placement courses and hundreds of Virtual High School classes. By awarding these merit scholarships we are showing our commitment to the academic talents of our incoming students.”

The Entrance Exam will take place at Notre Dame Academy on Saturday, November 3rd. There is an 8:00am arrival. In order to qualify for these merit scholarships, prospective students must take the entrance exam on this date. For questions please contact

Prospective students can register for the entrance exam at

Notre Dame Academy Announces Addition of 7th and 8th Grade Basketball Team For 2018/2019


Worcester, MA- Monday, October 15- Notre Dame Academy is excited to announce the addition of a seventh and eighth grade basketball team. The team will compete in the same league as Venerini Academy and will be coached by Mike Dugan. Mike has been a lifelong basketball player with an avid interest in all things basketball. He loves watching any type of basketball game, no matter if its NBA, High School, or Grade School.

Growing up Mike got his start in coaching basketball at the local YMCA. For 3 years Mike coached the  boys 12-13 league. He played varsity basketball in high school, and during his senior year his team went undefeated and were ranked #1 in Division 2. Throughout college he played intramural basketball, which was highly competitive and kept his hand on the ball.

 For the past 4 years he has been involved with coaching girls basketball – school leagues and summer/winter rec leagues. Last year, as head coach for the Venerini Academy 5/6th grade girls team, his team went undefeated and captured the St. Bernadette’s basketball league championship. Mike is excited to bring his passion and skill set to the newly formed St. Julie Division basketball team and is looking forward to the opportunity to coach again.

The St. Julie Division games will be on Sunday afternoons.

  • Athletics
  • basketball
  • sports
  • st. julie division
Notre Dame Academy Announces Six New Board Members

Notre Dame Academy Announces New Board Members

 Worcester, MA-Thursday, September 6, 2018 – Notre Dame Academy Worcester is pleased to announce the addition of six (6) new members to the Board of Trustees: Aamina Awan ’03, Mike Covino, Ann Flynn, Sr. Evelyn McKenna SNDdeN, Renee Mikitarian-Bradley, and Kathleen Myshrall ‘80.  The new members were chosen for their energy and enthusiasm as well as their desire to challenge the school to be a cutting edge learning institution, while maintaining the traditions and values of the sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.  Along with the current Trustees of fifteen (15), the Board provides leadership for carrying out the Academy's mission to serve the community of central Massachusetts by educating girls. “Each of our members brings an enthusiastic outlook and strong skill set that will focus on building a strategic plan that will allow the Academy to continue to grow and prosper,” said board member and alumna Lisa Mancini. Head of School, Kathryn Woodson Barr, followed up by saying, “Our newest trustees bring to the Board a myriad of skills and attributes that will help us as we think bigger and more broadly about how we continue to serve the community of central Massachusetts by educating girls.”








For a complete listing of our Board of Trustees, visit

Notre Dame Academy Announces New Director of Saint Julie Division for Grades 7 & 8

Worcester, MA- Tuesday, June 26th-  Mrs. Susan Butler has accepted the position of Director of the St. Julie Division at Notre Dame Academy in Worcester. Mrs. Butler has taught at Notre Dame Academy for 18 years, teaching courses in grade 9 English, British Literature, grade 7 English, and Psychology. She is a graduate of the class of 1985 and parent of Katherine, class of 2011. She is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership and Management. Mrs. Butler says, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to combine both my love for teaching with my desire to help grow our new St. Julie Division. My experience teaching the 7th graders this past year confirmed my love for the energy and talents of this age. I can’t wait for another school year to begin!” In her role, Mrs. Butler will oversee the seventh and eighth grade curriculum and co-curricular activities and will lead the faculty and students so that the St. Julie Division girls have opportunities to explore new ideas, take risks, and develop the skills to become curious, independent, and successful learners. Notre Dame Academy recently opened its St. Julie Division middle school, with their first 7th grade class in over 50 years.

   In addition, Mrs. Sandra Gibson-Quigley will be our new Curriculum Coordinator. She will oversee our NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) self study and re-accreditation process over the next two years and will lead the school as we continue to raise the bar with our academic and programmatic offerings. Mrs. Gibson-Quigley has taught various social studies courses for 25 years at Notre Dame Academy, including history, geography, economics, and sociology. She has served as a junior class advisor and department head. One of the courses she will teach next year is Advanced Placement U.S.  History. Her high expectations and vast knowledge will serve NDA well as we head into our NEASC re-accreditation. Mrs. Gibson-Quigley commented, “I have enjoyed  teaching students at NDA over the years, and I look forward to continuing my teaching and also serving  the school community in a different  capacity.”

  • faculty
  • st. julie division
  • Students
Education: Return of middle school aimed at helping girls thrive - Worcester Magazine

by Walter Bird Jr. May 10,2018

Above, Notre Dame Academy Head of School Kathryn Woodson Barr/Elizabeth Brooks photo

Notre Dame Academy in Worcester opened its doors to middle school students last year, adding a seventh-grade class. Those seventh-graders will enter eighth-grade in the fall, marking the first time since the 1960s the school will serve students in grades 7-12.

“At some point in the ’60s we dropped grades seven and eight, and became just a high school,” Head of School Kathryn Woodson Barr said. “It’s nice to go back to our roots.”

There were 16 students in last year’s seventh-grade class. The hope, said Barr, is to have 20 students each in grades seven and eight, and 40 each in grades 9-12, for a total of 200. There are currently 175 students attending Notre Dame, a private, all-girls Catholic School established in 1951.

Re-establishing seventh and eighth grades at Notre Dame is all about creating as many opportunities as possible for young women, said Barr, who joined the school in July last year.

“It’s really a philosophical sort of decision,” she said. “If you look, research shows girls in the seventh- and eighth-grade years often have reduced confidence. They stop raising their hands to answer or ask questions. They get worried about math and science, in particular. They have body image issues.

“In an all-girl environment, those things are minimized. Girls from all-girl schools tend to go into math and science at almost twice the national rate, and have increased confidence.”

Whereas in traditional co-ed school settings girls have to share day-to-day routines with their male counterparts, in an all-girl setting they rely on themselves.

“If you are at an all-girl school,” said Barr, “all the girls do everything. They’re in all the leadership roles. They’re the ones who have to carry the heavy boxes, or build the sets, or sing. If anything’s going to get done, it’s going to be a girl. If anyone’s going to answer a question, or be the first one to introduce themselves, it’s going to be a girl.” In mixed-sex settings, Barr said, that is often not the case.

“If you go to a conference or workshop, even if you have mostly women in a workshop, if you say who wants to introduce him or herself first, it’s often a man,” she said. “That doesn’t happen here.”

Bringing back seventh and eighth grades, Barr said is a way for Notre Dame Academy to stay true to its mission, not just develop a pipeline into high school.

“Certainly,” she conceded, “that was part of it. More than that, how can we make the biggest difference in the lives of girls? Research backs us up. If you really want to make a difference in the lives of girls, put them in an all-girl environment earlier than ninth grade, when they’re already distracted. We want to get them earlier and make a bigger difference.”

While there was some adjustment, Barr said blending seventh grade in with the upper grades went smoothly.

“I think we were a little nervous,” she said. “Are we prepared? Do we know enough about 12- and 13-year-old girls, or will we find out our specialty is really 15-18-year-olds? It’s amazing how well they’ve blended in, and how our teachers have personalized classes to make sure they’re learning not only the content they need, but the skills, and in the ways that are age-appropriate. They fit right in.”

Twelve-year-old Alysanne Buckley was one of the new seventh-graders. The former May Street School student said she felt right at home at Notre Dame Academy.

“The teachers really understand us,” she said recently as she sat with her backpack in front of her school locker. “I also like how you can be able to say what you mean, and in the classes you understand [them]. They aren’t too hard, but they aren’t too easy. The homework isn’t too much, but it’s not too little. It’s the right amount.”

Barr said the school wants to make sure “everything we do is as top-notch as it can be” for all its students, including the newest additions in seventh grade.

To that end, Notre Dame Academy added classes through Virtual High School, and is adding advanced placement, or AP, classes next year.

Although a Catholic school, Notre Dame Academy is open to all students, Barr said. The key is to instill in them a sense of belonging and preparedness, particular at a time in their lives where change may well be the only constant.

“We feel like the faith and the service, the mindfulness, all of that can really help them out,” Barr said. “This is a stressful time for teenagers. Being in a place like Notre Dame Academy gives them confidence, that peace and security they can’t get in other places.