A Year End Reflection

A Year End Reflection

By Randall Adams, President of the Academy of Notre Dame

As my first full school year here at the Academy comes to a close, I am filled with gratitude for this community of students, parents, faculty, staff, alumnae, Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and board members who have welcomed me, inspired me and provided me with guidance and support. To each of you I offer a sincere thank you. You have made my transition into the world of NDA as smooth as possible.

I am happy to announce that as of this week, the Board of Directors has extended me a contract which I have signed. Even before the official offer was extended, my wife Debbie and I purchased a new home in Nashua. We are settling in now and making plans for the future.

My commitment to the Academy has been solid since day one and I hope that has been evident by the energy and enthusiasm with which I greet each day as well as by all that we have achieved in the past year. My goal is to bring the Academy back to its structural and aesthetic glory, to continue to deliver on our pledge for academic excellence and to build community. My mantra is One Mission, One Community, Three Schools.

My team and I are proud of our many accomplishments as exemplified by the following selected items:

Accomplishments

Students/Faculty

  • Ranked 9th best Catholic High School in Massachusetts by Niche.com
  • Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Boston recognizes faculty member as an ‘exemplary’ first grade teacher
  • Ecumenical Athletic Association Teacher of the Year
  • Google for Doodle national finalist
  • Three Zaner-Bloser handwriting contest state winners (grades 2, 6, 7)
  • Fifth grader wins Honors award in the Letters about Literature competition
  • Two students from the 8th grade class received scholarships to their prospective high school for their test scores on the Catholic High School Placement exam (HSPT)
  • Achievements of Class of 2017
    • Two graduates received the prestigious four-year, full tuition Cardinal Medeiros Scholarships to Boston University (Students from the Academy have been awarded eight of these over the past six years)
    • One National Merit Hispanic Scholar received a four-year, full tuition scholarship to college/university of choice
    • Thirty-four graduating seniors earned more than $7.7 million in renewable merit scholarships
    • 97% of the class received one or more merit based scholarships
    • 100% college acceptance and matriculation

Strategy:

  • Parent and Staff Surveys completed to create SWOT analysis for strategic plan development
  • Immediate action operational plan written and implemented
  • Strategic plan in development

Staff Professional Development:

  • Enhanced school sponsored professional development programs
  • First Legacy and Mission Integration Program for staff completed
  • Adoption of Rubicon Atlas software for curriculum mapping

Admissions and Marketing:

  • Admissions use of Veracross online application and enrollment reporting
  • Shadow Day Program revamped
  • Developed new marketing and athletics logos
  • Produced a school uniform brochure with JB Pride
  • Online spirit store established with All Sports Heros
  • Outreach for the international program has been expanded to increase diversity; three new students from Egypt will join us for the Fall
  • Production of video for recruiting new international students
  • Aerial footage shot for use in marketing materials

Academics/Programs:

  • Transition from STEM to STEAM
  • Establishment of new ETCH Classes (Explore, Think Critically, Create and Hone Skills)
  • Spanish REACH class implemented
  • Director of Early Childhood Development hired and restructure of the Early Years program
  • Week of the Young Child observed for the first time
  • Vacation camps provided for families
  • Academic summer enrichment programs offered
  • Lunch Bunches grades K-4
  • Early Years Garden box

Events:

  • All school Mission Day celebration
  • First ever Trunk or Treat event
  • First Tours & S’mores event
  • Highly successful Spring Auction that funded Lower School Playground Project

Facilities:

  • Upgrades to the Upper School science lab
  • Hot water heater installed
  • Steam pipe replacement
  • Library Learning Commons created to include Lower School library space, shared research space, and Upper School Student Center

Technology:

  • New phone system installed
  • Implementation of Campus Suite website platform
  • Further expansion of our wireless network and increased bandwith
  • Use of parent and student portals through Veracross
  • Full online payment system implemented for all programs including EDP, Enrichment, Camps
  • Online enrollment and monthly registration for EDP

Athletics:

  • Upper School

    • Cross Country, Soccer and Volleyball teams became league divisional champions
    • Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball and Tennis teams qualified for state tournaments
    • Swimming and Indoor Track had individual athletes qualify for states
    • Massachusetts State Girls Volleyball Coaches Association named two Academy Volleyball players All-Stars
    • Volleyball coach nominated for induction in the Massachusetts State Girls Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame
    • Sixteen athletes named league all-stars
    • Three athletes voted as league MVPs
    • Two coaches voted as league divisional Coaches of the Year
  • Lower School

    • Girls Soccer team undefeated
    • Girls Varsity Basketball team advances to league championship
    • Girls JV Basketball team wins league championship
    • Boys Varsity Basketball team wins league championship
    • Boys track team wins the EAA small school division league championship
    • 8th Grader Receives EAA Sportsmanship Award
    • 8th Grader Receives EAA Student Scholarship

Challenges

As proud as we are of those accomplishments, we continue to address fiscal challenges due to fluctuating enrollment.   Progress has been made thanks in large part to diligent oversight by our Vice President of Business Affairs, Liz Gilman. Moving forward, we will continue to advance our incredible school and strive to mitigate tuition increases while enhancing programs and keeping class sizes at a reasonable level.

Among the challenges we have faced in the past year is the heartache many members of our community have suffered due to illness and loss of loved ones. We continue to keep them in our prayers and offer them support.

The Road Ahead

We will begin the 2017-2018 school year with great optimism and a solid vision for our school. Our operational and strategic plans will serve as our map. We have energy fueled by our dedicated faculty and staff, momentum from our journey to date, and an engine that will keep on turning thanks to our prudent financial management and commitment from the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. 

As we begin the summer we look forward to a new initiative to revitalize the aesthetics of our buildings and grounds with the help of a generous donor.  Improvements are planned for the gym locker rooms, the track, the parlors, and the front signage. We will also be moving ahead with the renovation of a science lab and the completion of a new Maker Space at the Middle School.

At the same time, our efforts in curriculum mapping, the STEAM program, and the Early Years program will invigorate our already successful academics.

So buckle up folks, our road trip is about to take off and is bound to be fast and fun!