The Academy’s mission is to educate, enlighten, and empower young women. To that end, with considerable guidance from educators who come to truly know and appreciate each young woman will develop an individualized program of study to explore her interests, build on her innate skills, and prepare her for college and adulthood. Students are urged to supplement their course options through guided independent study, college courses, online coursework, intensive summer programs, and other means.
A four-year lock-step program of study that all students must follow is dis-empowering and thus antithetical to our mission. Our young women exercise considerable autonomy over their studies and demonstrate their achievement of learning objectives in various ways. Students who have greater ownership of their learning are more deeply engaged. They develop their public presentation skills and the power of their presence.
Students meet and exceed, in most cases, the admissions requirements of most universities. The Academy offers leveled mathematics classes, Spanish on site and other languages online or through other means, and lab sciences. In Humanities, our 9th graders study the history of the world, world literature, religion, and pay particular attention to the role of women in each period and culture. Our students understand what it means to think like a scientist, historian, artist or visionary. They learn not by memorizing facts and parroting them back to the teacher on a test, but by exploring questions that they generate, analyzing artifacts and documents, reflecting on their findings, and presenting them in a professional way. The Academy Alumnae are well prepared to live and lead exemplary lives and solve problems that matter.
Features of The Academy Program
The Certificate Program
We honor the different gifts and interests that our young women bring to the Academy by tailoring each student’s program specifically for her as much as possible. Students interested in pursuing a particular field in greater depth have the opportunity to create a systematic Certificate Program combining Academy courses with engagement outside of school. Merely taking a course or two beyond what a student would expect to do in the process of meeting graduation requirements is insufficient to earn a certificate. Intentional participation, significant effort, reflection, the production of a comprehensive project and its public presentation are essential features. For example, to earn a Latin American Studies Certificate, students must demonstrate advanced proficiency in Spanish, participate in an academic study abroad of at least four weeks or a semester, and create a significant research project related to some aspect of Latin American culture.
The Cornerstone Project
Students create a Cornerstone Project, a major work in which they demonstrate mastery of specific learning objectives or broader academic achievement. They can include traditional academic products such as a thesis and oral defense, multimedia presentations, gallery exhibitions, performances, physical products, and portfolios. Students make a major professional presentation of the completed work in their junior year, with additional data collection and perhaps an internship in the senior year with a final exhibition. The project is often a significant part of a student’s college application. It is important to note that students are not required to continue their cornerstone project in subsequent years and may pursue new interests in each successive year, though this is not ideal.
The Wellness Program
Our Wellness program demonstrates our commitment to our students’ spiritual, psychological, and physical well-being. Adolescents need time for reflection on what kind of person she aspires to be, whether she is making the right choices about courses, activities, and relationships, what her responsibility is to the community, what defines the successful human being, and how she wishes to shape her life. In the later years, our
Planning for College & Beyond
Planning for College and Beyond is a program which helps our students reflect on those things they do well and enjoy and how these might take shape as a path (or a segment of one) to adulthood. Students must have guidance and time to reflect as part of their well-being. The Wellness program also helps students to cultivate lifelong habits for the development of physical, spiritual and emotional health: balance, self-regulation, stress management, the operation and interrelation of the various systems of the body, maintenance of healthy weight, the effects of exercise, nutrition, and drugs (from over the counter and prescription pharmaceuticals to herbal supplements and substances, illicit drugs and alcohol), and the cultivation of healthy relationships.