There’s a place for every girl at SSA as girls are our only priority!
St. Scholastica Academy is deeply committed to prioritizing the unique learning needs of girls. What sets SSA apart is its dedication to learning about the most advanced research and pedagogical practices for how girls learn best. To address this, core subjects are meticulously aligned. When students read and analyze literary works of a particular time period in English class, they simultaneously learn the historical context of that period in history class. Math and science curricula are also aligned to allow for an integrated approach when learning the STEM disciplines. In addition to this alignment in math and science, SSA adheres to the Physics First sequential model in which freshmen take a full year of physics before taking chemistry or biology. This re-sequencing provides our girls with a seamless storyline beginning with the concrete principles of the physical world while gradually progressing into the more abstract worlds of chemistry and biology. Exposing girls upfront to the scientific phenomena that govern their physical world provides them with a solid foundation in the core theories necessary for deeper understanding in future science coursework. SSA’s science faculty has also incorporated the pedagogical practice of modeling. Modeling benefits girls by giving them the opportunity to generate both a conceptual and a mathematical representation of phenomena that are difficult to directly observe.
SSA gears its educational program around collaboration. As social beings, girls learn best when they work together via productive learning struggles. Areas for collaborative work are strategically scattered across campus. Writable walls encourage brainstorming and formulation of thought processes and ideas. Into every lesson, teachers incorporate collaborative group work that includes positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal participation, and simultaneous interaction to solve real-world problems. SSA has also collaborated with Louisiana State University (LSU) to incorporate its College Readiness Program in Mathematics, which provides SSA students with a seamless curriculum from Algebra I through Differential and Integral Calculus. Math classes have evolved into small groups of students instructing their peers while using collaborative workspaces. Students build strong habits of learning and understand that through collaboration, effort, remediation, and perseverance, math can be mastered. Since the implementation of the Physics First sequential model and the College Readiness Program in Mathematics, SSA’s math and science ACT scores have improved exponentially, while students’ attitudes toward and interests in these subjects has positively changed.
SSA recognizes that along with the core disciplines, additional curricular areas are fundamental and vital to a student’s education, personal development, and quality of life. The arts curriculum includes ceramics, digital art, and studio classes ranging from Studio Art I through AP Studio Art. Students learn professional-grade software such as InDesign, Final Cut Express, and Adobe Creative Suite. SSA students exhibit their artwork in local and regional art shows and competitions. SSA also offers a wide range of performing arts courses and opportunities to students interested in music and theater with additional dual enrollment opportunities in Art Appreciation and Music Appreciation. Partnering with St. Paul’s School, our brother school, students have co-educational opportunities in theatre and band.
Students complete CPR and first-aid certification in their Health and Physical Education coursework. Our certified athletic trainer from Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine provides brown bag lunch conversations with medical experts in nutrition, performance, reducing stress and anxiety, etc. On a monthly basis, guidance counselors teach life skills to physical education students in grades 8 through 10. In these sessions, students learn how to navigate difficult situations, advocate for themselves, and healthfully relieve stress and anxiety.
The foreign language department offers both Latin and Spanish studies. Students scheduled for one or more honors courses are required to take Latin I and have the option to pursue Latin II and III, or take Spanish I, II and III. Foreign language classes center on the “Five Cs”: communication, cultures, connections, comparisons, and communities. These standards stress the value of learning second languages beyond the instructional setting. Foreign language students develop competences for post-secondary coursework in foreign language or for future careers and experiences.
In the humanities, students have an array of elective choices that allow them to further investigate literature, creative and rhetorical writing, philosophy, geography, sociology, psychology, and law studies. Those interested in STEM fields can choose unique courses in Biological Research and Independent Studies, Engineering DE, Anatomy and Physiology, Medical Math, and Personal Finance. Environmental science students maintain a sustainable, organic garden and annually donate more than five hundred pounds of its produce to the local food bank.