As we fast approach the end of the 2017-18 school year, we celebrated our Macs of 2018 last day at Ursuline. We also welcomed our 2019 Senior Skip class with the presentation of their new sweaters this week.
Our school year has been busy, fun, and full of accomplishments as we continue the tradition of an Ursuline education in New Orleans. A walk through our Arts Festival immediately highlights the strong arts program here at Ursuline. While the arts have always had a very special place at Ursuline, we worked to embrace STEM programs at all levels, working every day to model the Ursuline core value of teaching the whole child. More than $ 15,000 in grants from community organizations have funded these new programs at Ursuline.
Over the past year, Ursuline Academy has focused on STEM curriculum by growing our robotics programs in all divisions of the school. In August of 2017, Ursuline introduced new computer science courses in both the middle and high school divisions, with the high school offering reaching as high as the Advanced Placement (AP) level. These courses, in addition to the computer science curriculum implemented in the elementary division in 2016, made Ursuline Academy of New Orleans the first school in the state of Louisiana to implement a full K-12 computer science pathway using PLTW.
As part of this effort, the middle school put together a robotics team, which built a robot and competed in the Louisiana State VEX Robotics Competition. The team will also be competing in a skills challenge with local schools in May.
In April 2018, our high school robotics team – the UA "actUAtors" - competed in a field of 55 teams from the United States and Mexico at the Bayou Regional FIRST Robotics Competition for the first time with a robot they built themselves. Moreover, in Kindergarten, students began using Dash and Dot robots to enhance their computer science education. The students now program Dash and Dot using the skills they have learned in the PLTW computer science curriculum to see their digital programs come alive in the movements of the robots.
As another part of PLTW curriculum, our 8th-grade girls created an Ankle Foot Orthosis for a child with cerebral palsy (CP). They gained background knowledge on CP and the challenges faced by children with CP and then worked in teams to conceptualize and build the best prototype that meets the requirements to assist such children. They went on to create three-dimensional cube puzzles utilizing skills in mathematical modeling and design. Thanks to a grant from Cox Communications and matching funds from Ursuline alumnae, Ursuline was able to purchase six 3D printers.
This equipment allowed the students to be able to print their puzzles. This extension of the PLTW curriculum allowed the students the opportunity to learn the skill of 3D printing to complement their new knowledge of 3D design. It is through philanthropy like this and coming together in a collective effort that we can achieve great things.
As this school year closes, we have many blessings to celebrate. Most of all we celebrate the blessing of serving your child at Ursuline. On behalf of the faculty and staff, we are glad your daughter is an Ursuline girl!