January 27, 2020

Today we celebrate St. Angela’s Feast Day, one of my favorite times of the year at Ursuline Academy. St. Angela envisioned a life for women outside the norms of her day, which only allowed for married or cloistered life. She dared to see women serving amongst the people and making a difference in their community. St. Angela’s faith, prayer, and reflection made her a leader in her community. Today, our students served as leaders in our New Orleans community - walking in the footsteps of our Ursuline Sisters. Our girls changed the lives of people and places outside of their normal day and served outside themselves - meeting the needs of others around them. Great job to Beth Joubert, Aline Harbinson, and Kathy Schafer for working to make this day possible!
What a perfect setting to share the third area of our strategic plan, which is Educational Innovation. While our mission is strong and carried out through experiences such as today, how we teach has changed greatly in the last 293 years since our inception. Today's student population lives in a world which none of the students before them experienced. The unchanging Ursuline charism demands an evolving education. To serve as St. Angela, our girls must be prepared for the world in which they live in order to go out and be amongst the people.
With this in mind, the components of Educational Innovation promote current best practices in education steeped in project-based learning. While the world focuses on STEM education, we believe at Ursuline that the Arts promote the same creativity and critical-thinking skills necessary for life today. STEM and the Arts, together, provide a well-rounded education and develop tomorrow's brightest independent thinkers, innovators, and community builders.

We are committed to support both areas with robust technology so that our students can research, develop their own perspective, and solve problems relevant to our changing society. Educational Innovation requires we rethink our classrooms to provide flexible seating for student projects and collaboration. We want our classrooms to be up-to-date spaces with technology to support all aspects of education. Flexible spaces give our faculty the setting needed to provide instruction.
Our connected society brings with it challenges. A world driven by social media brings forth difficulty for our students, especially our adolescent girls. With the media explosion and instant connectedness with others, brings a need to purposively teach self-care and emotional wellness. We want our girls to be independent and resilient, two tenets not supported by our society. While Ursuline continues to grow in support of student wellness, we look to our parents for help in making this successful. 
At Ursuline, Educational Innovation requires teaching the whole child - spiritually, emotionally, physically, and academically. All four which are necessary for a true Ursuline education.

Karen McNay, EdD