April 2017

Dear Families:

Happy spring!  After a fickle winter, longer and warmer days are certain.  While much is happening in April, it will seem like a very quick month because of our Easter break.

We look forward to hosting grandparents of the freshman and junior classes on Wednesday, April 26th. We invite them to celebrate Easter Liturgy with our entire student body before spending class time with their granddaughters.  Please be sure to register so we can make seating arrangements for Mass and lunch.

It is a lively month for the arts at Holy Angels! Everyone loves a good mystery and now’s your chance to solve one! Come out to enjoy this year’s drama, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, during the weekend of April 7th-9th.  Because Charles Dickens died before writing the conclusion, the audience can participate with the cast in determining the ending of the play.  Make it a night and come for dinner and a show on Saturday night!  Please refer to our weekly mailing for information and reservations.  April 28th is the night of our Spring Concert where you will hear beautiful sounds performed by our Orchestra, Hand Bell Choir, Chorus and Vocal Ensemble. Lastly, families are invited to attend our Food Truck and Arts Festival where all areas of our arts will be showcased AND fun food will be available.  Be sure to get your advance tickets at a discounted price. (www.holyangels.org/foodtruck2017)

While it is the fourth and final quarter for this academic year, there is much you and your daughter can be doing to prepare for the future.  Students are encouraged to keep working to their best potential because indeed, fourth quarter counts!  It is the last opportunity before finals for students to pull up their averages.  If your daughter has not met with success in a particular class, please encourage her to seek help from her teacher.  It is not too late and any skills she learns now will carry over next year. 

The College Counseling Office has arranged two great events to help students make more informed choices about their futures.  On Tuesday, April 25th, all students will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from more than 110 colleges and universities from around the country. Parents are invited to attend this impressive gathering between the hours of 10:30 am and 12:15 pm. The second opportunity comes by way of career choice.  Students and parents are invited to attend our Career Night on April 27th at 6:30 pm in the Student Commons.  Being better informed about college and career choices makes for less stress senior year!

Please note that our Easter Break will begin at 12:30 pm on Wednesday, April 12th and we will return on Monday the 24th.  I wish you and your families a joyous Easter—a time for families to be together and to celebrate the Risen Lord. 

Sincerely, 
Ms. Mullooly

Principal

March 2017

Dear Parents and Students,

The Lenten season is upon us! Lent signifies a new beginning and it is fitting that Ash Wednesday falls on the first day of March.    We will be celebrating with a prayer service in the morning that will offer students the ability to receive ashes.  Students will also have the opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation the morning of the 27th when more than twenty priests from neighboring parishes will be available to hear confessions.  This will enable us to enter the Easter Season with renewed hope and promise within our hearts.

March will prove to be a busy month here at Holy Angels. I am hopeful that students and parents will take advantage of many of the wonderful events occurring during the month.   Some of the highlights include:

Friday 3rd, International Night
Saturday 4th, State Basketball Game
Friday 10th, Sophomore Semiformal
Tuesday 14th, Sports Dinner
Friday 24th, Junior Prom
Friday 31st, Angelic Evening (I hope to see you there!)

March is also an important month for academic reasons as well. The third quarter is officially ending on Friday, the 17th.  Many juniors are taking their SAT’s and ACT’s for the first time.  Several subject area Honor Societies will be inducting new members; these ceremonies celebrate students’ hard work and achievement and offer them the ability to be of service to other students as they become official members of our peer tutoring program. On the 22nd, Students will be taking part in our Awareness Day.  This year’s theme, Empowering Girls: Making the Connections: Mind, Body and Spirit, offers students the opportunity to reflect on their personal, spiritual, health, academic, and professional goals—supporting our commitment to educating the whole student.  It also reflects many of the articles I’ve shared with you so far this year.  

Lastly, students and their parents will be finalizing course selections for next year. Teachers spend considerable time examining each student’s performance indicators before recommending their course level for the following year.  A student’s past and current performance is the strongest indicator of her future performance.  Students cannot be placed in classes based solely on desire for challenge or growth. These are necessary components, but need to be accompanied with solid proof of ability.  The prerequisites for placement will be available in our updated curriculum guide which can be found on our website under the College Counseling tab beginning on March 6th.   You can also find descriptions for the electives that will be available to you.  

Please pay special attention to your calendars for all events.  The days will become longer, our lives busier and our hearts more hopeful.  May the promise of the Lenten season be yours in these coming days.

 

Sincerely,
Jean Mullooly
Principal

February 2017

Dear Parents and Students,

February is the shortest month of the year and will prove to seem even shorter with the flurry of activities occurring here at Holy Angels.  We begin the month with Catholic Schools Week and I am looking forward to seeing many of you in our halls and classrooms during the mornings! The students will open the week by celebrating Mass together and close the week with an assembly led by guest speaker and alumna, Vanessa Arteaga Rissetto who will share how Catholic Education, and specifically Holy Angels, gave her the tools and moral foundation needed not only for success, but for a happy and balanced family life. Catholic Schools Week is a good time for us to reflect on the gifts that Catholic education affords our children.  I thank you for entrusting your daughters to us!

February was chosen as Black History Month in 1926, acknowledging the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Students in our Black and Hispanic Cultural Society will be leading us as we celebrate Black History Month by sharing poetry, prayers, posters and announcements honoring the accomplishments of Black Americans throughout our history.

With midterms behind us and report cards distributed, we are now in the third marking period. Any students wishing to review their exams need to contact their teachers by Friday, February 3rd. Teachers will begin the process of placing students for next year’s courses during the first week of the month.  Parents can expect Mid Quarter Reports on Monday, February 27th.

The month may be short, but the days are getting longer which means that spring sports are around the corner!  If your daughter intends to try out for a spring sport, she must return an updated sports clearance form to Mrs. Beyer by February 15th.  Please note that this is not a physical form and does not need to be signed by a doctor.  It is simply an update and needs to be signed by a parent.

School will be closed Friday, February 17th through Tuesday, February 21 in observance of President’s Day.

I look forward to seeing you during Catholic Schools Week and I hope to also see you at our Flapjack Fundraiser on the 5th, our final fundraiser this year supporting the Haitian families we’ve adopted through the help of the School Sisters of Notre Dame and Beyond Borders.  Please keep our students who will be attending the Kairos retreat February 10-12 in your prayers. Keep all of us in your prayers, as we keep you in ours.

 

Sincerely, 
Ms. Mullooly

Principal

January 2017

Dear Parents and Students,

Happy New Year!  I hope that our students and families had time to share a wonderful Christmas. I am looking forward to coming together with our students for Mass as we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6th. 

During the first two weeks of January, students will be trying to complete work for the 2nd quarter and begin preparing for their exams. Their teachers will be giving them review outlines so they know what will be covered on the exam. One of the best study strategies is to work with classmates to create study guides where each student is responsible for creating organized notes for one unit or chapter. Then they share the work they’ve done. Chunking out the information makes the task less overwhelming.  I also highly suggest self-testing. A common pitfall students should avoid is continually going over information they already know. This is comfortable, but also detrimental and a waste of their study time. We’ve found that continually reading over one’s notes is the least effective way to study for an exam. It is common to feel anxiety over exams. Please reiterate to your daughter that one test is not going to define her. She needs a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast for best performance.  

January 13th marks the end of the second marking period and is the day of the religion exam. We are closed on Monday, January 16th for Martin Luther King Day and exams will take place for the rest of that week. The 3rd marking period begins on Monday, January 23rd and Catholic Schools Week begins January 29th. You will be receiving an email from me in January that outlines the specific information for Catholic Schools Week.

January 1st marks the International Day of Peace.  In this season of new beginnings, I wish all our families the gifts of peace, unity, happiness and love.

Sincerely,
Jean Mullooly
Principal

December 2016

Dear Parents and Students, 

The season of Advent is upon us and we await the coming of Jesus, our Savior. Here at Holy Angels, this occurs with great fan-fare.  Students will begin the Advent season with a prayer service and the seniors will gather for their traditional tree lighting ceremony. Juniors mark a poignant moment in their high school careers as they celebrate their Ring Ceremony on Wednesday, December 7th.  I highly recommend attending our Christmas Gala Friday, December 9th, 7:30 pm, where you can take time to hear our Chorus and Orchestra deliver the gift of song and music.  I promise you that it is the perfect way to take a break and enjoy the season with a joyous and peaceful heart.  Lastly, students will be celebrating Christmas as a student body on Wednesday, December 21st at the annual Student Council Christmas Party and the Winter Season Pep Rally. Please remember that school is closed on Thursday the 8th  for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. December will prove to pass quickly!

While we are busy celebrating the season of Advent, we are also active with business as usual. Mid-quarter reports will be emailed on December 9th. We continue our Hope for Haiti campaign through our various fundraising efforts in an attempt to help two families get back on their feet after the devastation of hurricane Matthew. Campus Ministry is also sponsoring a toy drive for The Center of Hope and Safety. In our classrooms, teachers will share basic outlines/guidelines for the January midterm exams by the end of the month so that students can prepare study guides during their break if they so choose. 

The state of our world can seem daunting and challenging sometimes but our students and families give me hope. I am grateful for the support, communication and contributions of our parents and families as well as the talents and focus of our students.  I would be remiss if I did not mention how thankful I am for the energy and commitment of our faculty and staff.  May we keep each other in our prayers as we contemplate the words of Pope Francis: “The season of Advent restores…a hope which does not disappoint for it is founded on God’s Word.”  I wish you a Christmas and New Year filled with restored hope, love and peace.  

Yours Faithfully,

Ms. Mullooly
Principal

November 2016

Dear Parents and Students,

November is upon us. The days are shorter and the first marking period is coming to a close.  The euphoria of a new school year wanes and students buckle down to the steady progression of work and assignments. Some students will feel proud of their first report card while others might be disappointed. Not to despair! This is a great opportunity for students to try learning and studying in new ways that they have not tried before.  Students and parents will have the opportunity to meet with teachers at our Parent/Teacher/Student conferences on Monday, November, 21st. We encourage students to attend conferences with their parents.  It is healthy for parents and students to hear the same information at the same time. Two sessions will be offered: afternoon-2:30-4:00 pm and evening-6:30-8:00 pm. Parking will be available at the back of the school and a police officer will be on hand to help direct traffic.  Please use the event doors near the Learning Commons. All teachers will be seated alphabetically in the Student Commons; please bring a list of your daughter’s teachers. You will not need to meet with every teacher. In fact, it would be helpful if you only met with teachers of subjects in which your daughter needs improvement. This will allow faculty members to meet with parents and students who really need advice and help.  Each conference should last 5-7 minutes. If you need more time, you will be asked to make an appointment with the teacher for another time. 

While grades are important, so are the other aspects of your daughter’s life at school. Please consider supporting your daughter and her friends at some of their sporting events (schedules found on the Athletics page) or at the school play. Our fall drama this year is Blithe Spirit, a comedy about a socialite novelist who is haunted by a ghost, and will be performed November 11th-13th. 

We have been greatly blessed. Personally, I am thankful for earnest students who work extremely hard, and for their loving and supportive families, for the love and support of my own family and friends, and for the love of Jesus, our savior. For all of this, I am deeply grateful. I wish all of our students and families the gift of appreciation and time with those you love during this Feast of Thanksgiving. I wish you God’s abundant love. I wish you a special and blessed Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,
Jean Mullooly
Principal

October 2016

Dear Parents and Students, 

As I write this letter, my air conditioner is running even though it is late September. And while I imagine we will have a respite from the heat in October, we certainly won’t be any less harried than September for it is a busy month for our community. 

October 2nd marks the Feast of the Holy Angels. Students, faculty and staff will come together on Friday September 30th to celebrate with a liturgy at which we will also mandate some of our seniors as Eucharistic Ministers.  On Monday, October 3rd, your daughters will be especially happy to have a day off from school while the faculty and staff gather for their annual retreat.  

Because it was so successful last year, we are going to continue having a separate Back to School Night for freshmen parents who we will welcome at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, October 5th.   Parents/Guardians of 10th-12th graders should come for their Back to School Night on Thursday, October 6th, 7:00 pm.Please enter at the rear of the school where Student Council representatives will be distributing the schedules prepared for you by your daughters. Students will be on hand to help direct you to the correct classrooms. Late arrivals should report to the table outside of the main office where you will be able to pick up your daughter’s schedule.  Classes will last approximately 10 minutes.  Please be aware that this is not a night for individual conversations with teachers. Rather, it is geared to give parents and guardians a sampling of their student’s school day and to give you a brief introduction to your daughter’s teachers.

First quarter Mid Quarter Reports will be emailed to parents and students around the 14th of October. Reports will be sent for students whose average at that time falls below an 80. The report will share the student’s current grade and offer suggestions about how your daughter can improve. Here in school, we are focusing on how students can improve their process of learning, not on the grade number and it is my hope that parents will follow suit at home.

Students in grades 9, 10 and 11 will participate in the PSAT testing which will occur on Wednesday, October 19th.  Please note the 12:30 pm dismissal.  If you are picking up your daughters, please arrive 12:40 or later OR drive around to the back of the school for pick up at dismissal time. The seniors have a day off from school which is a good opportunity for them to visit colleges or work on their applications.  

October 21 is Foundation Day and we will celebrate our bond with the School Sisters of Notre Dame as we gather together for a special prayer service. We will also have a few alumna joining us because Alumnae weekend is aptly scheduled for this weekend. We are fortunate to have three School Sisters working at Holy Angels and in celebrating together, we will once again affirm that “In Unity is our Strength”, our theme for the year.  

As always, our students and families remain in my prayers and I ask that we remain in yours.  I look forward to seeing you at Back to School Night.

Ms. Mullooly
Principal

September 2016

Dear Parents and Students,

While I’ve been an educator for almost 20 years now, I’ve never prepared for a new school year as I have this summer! So with great excitement, energy and love, I say to you wholeheartedly, “Welcome to the 2016-17 school year!”

Much has been occurring here in our buildings while we’ve been away.  When you pull up, you might notice that we are a bit brighter and cleaner than before and that is because the entire exterior of the school has been painted.  If you’ve been to the back of the building, you may have noticed the newly refurbished tennis courts and they are Angel blue!  Our Garden of Abundance flourished from the love and attention of Mrs. Brizzolara and many of our students and families who volunteered to feed, weed and harvest.  As a result, we supplied almost 200 lbs of fresh produce to the Center for Food Action! Thank you to everyone who helps our community thrive, even in the long hot summer days. 

Some things have changed inside of the building too!  Last spring we announced that we would be changing our administrative structure in order to better meet the needs of our faculty, students and families.  Please take note, the new Dean of Students is Mrs. Andréa Beyer, x 204.  If you have questions about student life, she is the person you should contact.  Our new Dean of Academics is Mrs. Francesca Tambone, x 217. She can be of help if you have questions regarding your daughter’s schedule, teachers, grades or placement. Mr. George Ballane is now the Facilities and Technology Administrator and can be reached at x 253.

In addition to welcoming Mrs. Tambone to our team, please welcome Miss Alyssa Cataldo (Math), Dr. Louis Faso (Physics), Miss Lilah Terwilliger (Latin), Mr. Russell Ash (Chef/Manager, Aladdin Foods), Miss Lauren Kravitz (Athletic Trainer), and Ms. Jennifer Crusco (Communications).  Additionally, I ask you to keep Laura Kraytem in your prayers as she continues to recuperate on medical leave.  Alumna Alexia Stabile will be covering for Mrs. Kraytem until she returns.

Parents of freshmen, I am looking forward to being with you on Sunday, September 18th when we can snack and mingle together. The Administrative team and a few of the freshman teachers will be present;  getting to know each other better will make for an easier transition for your daughters and also for you! I also look forward to meeting with our International Students and their guardians on Tuesday, September 13th, 7:00pm in the Learning Commons.

I am grateful that you have entrusted your daughters to us for another school year.  Let us pray it is blessed with good health, sound knowledge and genuine growth.  May our theme for the year, “In Unity is Our Strength” be your guiding beacon too, as it will be ours for the days and months to come. 

Sincerely,
Jean Mullooly
Principal

May 2016

Dear Parents and Students, 

I want to extend my deepest thanks to all those who attended the 50th Jubilee Gala that also celebrated my pending retirement. Believe me it will not be easy to say goodbye. I was overwhelmed by the recognition and the love bestowed upon me by those who came and those who were unable to attend. 

In this month of May I look forward to many other culminations that will take place in the many areas of life at Holy Angels. And a very full life it is! 

The majority of our juniors and seniors will be sitting for AP exams in the next two weeks. They have been well prepared throughout the year. So deep breaths and plunge right it.  Getting those college credits makes it all worthwhile and is a tremendous validation for this growth and achievement at Holy Angels. Each year so many of our students become AP scholars by passing three or more of their exams. I know of very few schools that can boast of so many (71 this past school year) and certainly none of our competitors. 

We are as you know already in the 4th quarter. That means greater than ever attention to academics.  Placement is always looked at the end of the school year, and a strong finish impacts this process. 

The 9th graders will have their last Growth Mindset lessons with me and Mrs. Chambers. I hope all their parents enjoyed the interview process that took place in late April. We want to encourage a dialogue between the Angels and their parents about what helps them to learn and to assess the mindset of the parents in this regard. I have been telling the students if they cannot talk to their parents about school what can they talk about??

Our seniors have been inducted into the Alumnae Organization officially!  Many are awaiting the good news about exemptions from final exams. That means they need to stay strong in attendance and grades for this 4th quarter.  They have done a great job on colleges. I wish them great discernment in making a decision about where to deposit on May 1st.  Just remember, they will end up in the place that God wants them to be. So have faith.

Celebrations abound this month. Junior and Senior Proms, the spring concert and art show, and the spring sports schedule.  I look forward to being at all of them. 

May is also the month in which we celebrate the Mother of God and her unique relationship with Jesus and with each of us as Mother of the Church. I pray that Mary spreads her blue mantle of protection over each and every Holy Angels family this month so that their hearts are at peace, their minds are strengthened and their souls renewed.

Sincerely,
Miss Jennifer Moran
Principal

April 2016

Dear Parents and Students, 

April has burst into glorious bloom! This month at Holy Angels fittingly begins with our Easter Liturgy.  The joy of the resurrection will be shared not only with our school community but also with very cherished members of our families, grandparents! There are so many good things to proclaim at Holy Angels that they will have plenty to do and to see. 

Academically the third quarter comes to an end and we start the challenging yet exhilarating run to the end of this school year.  If the energy has been low in the third quarter and the resolve to finish strong weakening, then it is time for a motivational speech about the ultimate gains that can be made at Holy Angels. 

After all, the JET (Jesuit Excellence Tour) does not come to every school!  All twenty Jesuit colleges will be represented on April 28th.  Juniors will be encouraged to talk to the representatives and find out more about the heights to which they can aspire.  When it comes to Excellence, the Jesuits and the School Sisters see eye to eye.

Barely ten days before this event, Holy Angels will sponsor its own annual college fair. More than 110 colleges from across the country will be in our gymnasium. We will make certain that every student, freshmen included, have the opportunity to collect information, speak to the reps and find out more about their programs. This is where the Holy Angels quality of self-confidence and articulate speaking comes to the forefront. Parents are most welcome to attend as well, between the hours of 10:30 and 12:15. 

It is also a very lively time for the arts at Holy Angels. The Art Honor Society Induction occurs on April 19th. We have so much to celebrate at this ceremony as two students for the first time in our history have received National recognition for their artwork from the Scholastic Arts competition. Risako Arcari and Kyra Gensinger have been doing some wondrous pieces. Kyra, submitted her necklace made of forks; while Risako submitted a folded paper design.  No stranger to 3D design, Risako completed an architectural project for which she and senior Amanda Nedelkoff transformed blueprints of the old Cresskill Village School into a 3D rendering using our printers.

On tax day, April 15th, I suggest we all set aside financial matters and come to Holy Angels for the annual International Night celebration. The fabric of our community is woven from many different cultures. But the unity amid the diversity that exists here is marvelous. Exotic foods, dancing, skits, and raising funds for children’s charities make this evening a special one indeed.

At the end of the month we can spend even more time in musical heaven as the Spring Concert presents the best of our musicians and singers repertoire. Jazz, hand bells; flutes, a cappella singing, full chorus and a few surprises will make this event end on a high note in every sense.  

STREAM projects continue to multiply. Our students are encouraged and inspired by returning alumnae who tell them how their paths to Bio Mechanical Engineering at University of Pennsylvania or medical school at Notre Dame were first sparked by what they learned in Mrs. Ferrara’s Anatomy and Physiology Course. Maddie Mc Govern and Lisa Sesink Clee returned recently to share this message with the present senior Anatomy class. Paying it forward has always been a part if the Holy Angels tradition. However, we want to do the same. So to encourage younger students in middle and elementary school to become familiar with STREAM, Holy Angels is sponsoring its own STREAM Fair on April 27th.  All four contest projects will be based on the SSND Care of the Earth mandate and must use recycled, repurposed or found articles to create rooms of the future, clothing, light fixtures and even robots. Please look on our website for more details. If you know a young woman who has a passion for Science, Technology, Engineering or Math, is creative and very interested in contributing to the moral integrity of our world, then please direct them to the information posted on the Holy Angels website. STREAM will be an important part of the Jubilee Gala on April 22nd. I am so looking forward to being there and sharing all the good news and blessings that God has given us at Holy Angels.

Sincerely,
Miss Jennifer Moran
Principal

March 2016

Dear Parents and Students, 

In our golden jubilee year on the Demarest Campus it was delightful to celebrate Catholic Schools week at Holy Angels this past February. As always, there was so much to celebrate. The stunning results of the new PSAT taken by grades 9 through 11 confirm that our students have embraced the challenge of the Common Core, prepared themselves for real world challenges, mastered the art of evidence based readings and writing and according to the College Board, are 100% college ready in reading and writing (includes all three grade levels) and 75% ready in math which is excellent, considering our 9th graders have had no Algebra 2 yet!

Problem solving and critical thinking have been built into all our courses and the results are showing.

Holy Angels continues to educate the whole person. In our Music Department three of our students will be playing in the Bergen County orchestra and another singing in the Honors Chorus.  Two others received first and second place in the Sixth International Music competition in NYC and will be playing in Carnegie Hall.  The Scholastic Arts Awards notified us that 31 Holy Angels students have been recognized. Six of those are receiving gold keys which mean that their artwork goes on to the national level of judging. 

 The “Prayers for Paris” wall in the Student Commons quickly became a focal point for messages of peace, tolerance and nonviolence. Our 6th Kairos retreat was deeply moving and the Junior retreat is taking shape. 

I hope there is no one in our community unaware that our Varsity basketball team brought home another record for legendary coach Sue Liddy by winning her 700th game.  No small feat given the work load every angel shoulders each day.  The scholar athlete is alive and well at Holy Angels.

The class of 2016 has also broken new ground. A full 80% of the class was admitted to college in either early action or early decision.  In the process they have already accumulated 10.7 million in scholarships and grants. 

All our Holy Angels parents can be so proud of their daughters. Throughout Catholic Schools week 40% of the parents came to Open School to feel the Holy Angels difference and attend classes. 

While we sit tight waiting for spring and continuing our Lenten journey, we might see this as a good time for reflection. And because academics is my passion I will reflect a little on the major academic event of this month: course selection.

Teachers spent considerable time in February looking at several indicators of each student’s performance before recommending their course level for the following year. Now it is time for students and parents to do the same and ask the big questions. Have I discovered my passion for learning yet? Do I know or have an idea about my direction? College major? Career choice? What impedes my learning? How can I change that for the better? What goals do I have for the second semester at Holy Angels? For the rest of my time at Holy Angels? 

Very often we do not recognize the many means at our disposal for changing things for the better. Holy Angels teachers want to help, and will extend themselves to do so for anyone who asks. This certainly includes reviewing concepts but also entails strategies for test taking, for reducing anxiety, for taking a different approach in class. Things are always more interesting, easier to learn and simpler to retain when we are actively involved in the learning. Do you ask questions? Contribute your thoughts? Breaking the sound barrier can be very challenging for Angels who need confidence in themselves.  Small steps towards developing your voice will result in developing your mind. PROMISE!

Each student will be receiving her course placement information this month. The prerequisites for placement are available in our curriculum guide which can be found on our website under the College Counseling tab and viewing Curriculum and then the Department course you would like to review.   The course selection sheet will also include all the options that are available to you in electives. This can be an exciting time for those who read up about each one and choose them carefully. Always plan alternatives and keep an open mind if your schedule permits just one free block in which that elective is not offered. God often surprises us. Many the Angel that has taken something to which they were assigned and then discovered a brand new passion. 

Lastly, all rising sophomores, juniors and seniors will be re-evaluated in June after final exams.  While the elevator can go in both directions, it usually is rising. So examine where you are placed and ask yourself if that is where you see yourself in June? What can you do to get there if there is a disparity? Growth Mindset assures us we can always improve. That in itself if a very worthy goal even if the outcome is not what we desire. 

Throughout these three weeks several Honor Societies will be inducting new members. Parents should note these dates and try to attend: March 8, Tri-M Inductions, March 15, Math and March 22, World Language. These rituals deepen the meaning of each student’s achievements, create a bond of sisterhood with other members and teach students the value of hard work, gratitude and most importantly the need to give back to our community through the peer tutoring program.  Believe me, peer tutors will tell you they learn so much from the students they work with and the results double the joy for the teacher and the learner. 

The highlight of Lent at Holy Angels is the Reconciliation Service which will be held on Monday, February 29th. At that time more than 20 priests from surrounding parishes will be available to hear confession and offer forgiveness for our sins. Easter dawns with even greater promise if we prepare our hearts for the Risen Lord.

Many of our students will be travelling during the Easter break. Whether it is to visit family, check out some colleges or travel abroad to Paris and Italy with the Holy Angels cultural tour moderated by the intrepid Mrs. Kraytem, I pray that God and his Blessed Mother who received the good news of the Annunciation this month will take all our Holy Angels families into their loving hearts and keep us steadfast and safe.

Warmest regards,
Miss Jennifer Moran
Principal

February 2016

Dear Parents and Students,

In our golden jubilee year on the Demarest Campus it is delightful to be celebrating Catholic Schools week at Holy Angels this first week of February. As always, there is so much to celebrate. The stunning results of the new PSAT taken by grades 9 through 11 confirm that our students have embraced the challenge of the Common Core, prepared themselves for real world challenges, mastered the art of evidence based readings and writing and according to the College Board, are 100% college ready in reading and writing (includes all three grade levels) and 75% ready in math which is excellent, considering our 9th graders have had no Algebra 2 yet!

Problem solving and critical thinking have been built into all our courses and the results are showing.

Holy Angels continues to educate the whole person. In our Music Department three of our students will be playing in the Bergen County orchestra and another singing in the Honors Chorus.  Two others received first and second place in the Sixth International Music competition in NYC and will be playing in Carnegie Hall. Just last week I received word from the Scholastic Arts Awards that 31 Holy Angels students would be recognized. Six of those are receiving gold keys which means that their work goes on to the national level of judging. 

Spiritually, the 7th Kairos retreat for juniors and seniors is nearly here. The “Prayers for Paris” wall in the Student Commons quickly became a focal point for messages of peace, tolerance and nonviolence. 

I hope there is no one in our community unaware that our Varsity basketball team brought home another record for legendary coach Sue Liddy by winning her 700th game.  No small feat given the work load every angel shoulders each day.  The scholar athlete is alive and well at Holy Angels.

The class of 2016 has also broken new ground. A full 80% of the class was admitted to college in either early action or early decision.  In the process they have already accumulated 10.7 million in scholarships and grants. 

All our Holy Angels parents can be so proud of their daughters. We invite you throughout the week long celebration to come and feel the Holy Angels difference by attending morning classes with your Angel on the designated day.

God has been good to our community, and we pray that he and his Blessed Mother will keep us safe and prosper the work of our hands this month.

Warmest regards,
Miss Jennifer Moran
Principal

January 2016

Dear Parents and Students:

I want to join the chorus of Angels in wishing Ms. Jean Mullooly congratulations on her appointment as the 11th principal of Holy Angels. That’s right, since 1879 there have been just 10 women who have lead this school, garnering in the process a reputation for academic excellence, spiritual development and service to others. I know that Ms. Mullooly will continue to hold high the torch of virtus et scientia so that this reputation will blaze in deathless glory for many years to come.  Ms. Mullooly covers all the bases: as a student she learned the meaning of a good education, as a teacher in the English Department she gained a deep knowledge of how our students think and work at all levels. As a parent to her own Angel, Meghan, she came to understand that a Holy Angels education was truly transformative, and as Dean of Students for the last four years, she can testify that while all our girls may not be saints they are Angels. She has helped to mold the character and judgment of so many, soothed troubled hearts, restored peace to relationships and applied discipline with consistency and equanimity.

I have complete confidence in the leadership and can’t wait to see the next chapter of Holy Angels history unfold.

Academically, the New Year brings the challenge of semester exams.  Faculty has distributed a study guide or some other informative document to prepare students for midterms. We know from the science on learning and memory that spaced study over a few days works best. Therefore, a timeline should be created by your Angel to block out the days that will be devoted to each of her six core subjects.  Be aware that tests and homework continue right up until the last day before exams begin. In many cases these tests can be used as semester exam prep.

The BEST way for a student to prepare is by self-testing. If you have not heard of Quizlet, you soon will. However you can help as well, by asking her questions to see what she can recall and then focusing her on what she has forgotten. This is what we mean when we say Forgetting is the Friend of Learning

At all costs, do not allow her to simply read over her notes. We know that this practice creates a feeling of familiarity that is in no way the same thing as learning.  Lastly, parents, tamp down anxiety. One test does not ruin a career, does not close or open doors to colleges, and does not define your daughters who are precious to you and to us. Doing their best by using good study strategies and effort really is all we ask. Remind them that sleep consolidates learning.

In this new year of our Lord, 2016, may the blessings of peace and unity descend upon all of us and keep us safe in God’s graces. I would also ask that we honor Pope Francis’ call for a year of mercy to all those in need of this great blessing. 

Sincerely,
Miss Jennifer Moran
Principal

 

 

December 2015

Dear Parents and Students,

As we enter the season of Advent, we should all strive to keep Christ at the center of our lives amidst the hustle and bustle of the commercial world! Holy Angels will also be caught up in that whirlwind as we enjoy the giftedness of our students at the Talent Show (December 4) and the Christmas Gala (December 11); and walk joyfully alongside the junior class as they receive their Holy Angels’ Rings on December 7.

We are well into the 2nd quarter, perhaps the most difficult one of all in terms of maintaining a focus and accomplishing all the work that will be tested on the Midterm Exams. Almost every faculty member will issue a study guide or other means of preparing students for these challenges. Of course, study guides are only useful if they get taken out of the back pack over the Christmas break!

 Our seniors can tell you how happy they are that they developed strong study skills and work habits at Holy Angels. We are all praying for and anticipating that their Christmas stockings will be stuffed with many early admissions letters from their dream colleges.  With sixty-five percent of the class of Sweet-Sixteen enrolled in one or more Advanced Placement courses, their success will be well earned.

The learning that occurs at Holy Angels daily will always impress me. In the week before Thanksgiving, I witnessed students identifying tendons and ligaments through the dissection of a chicken’s wing; heard the orchestra’s violin section rehearsing for the Christmas concert; observed in awe as Calculus students worked their way through  the complexities of equations that seemed unending; sat in on a 9th grade English class writing an anticipatory reading guide for A Separate Peace; and learned much from a religious studies teacher’s distinction between orthopraxy and orthodoxy in the Jewish faith. 

These are the students who will bring light into our troubled world in the future.

My prayer for them and for all our Holy Angels community in this holy time is that the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will fill their homes and hearts this Christmas.  

Warmest regards,
Miss Jennifer Moran
Principal

November 2015

Dear Parents,

The first week of November marks the end of the first quarter at Holy Angels and is a great time for reflection by all our Angels on the past eight weeks. They should seek to answer the following questions: What have I learned? What concepts have I mastered? Where do I need to improve? Who can help me bring that improvement to fruition?

A senior recently wrote that “as a community of learners we know that if all we do is chase after the good grade, we will never be successful; rather, it is only through a love of learning that a great grade will result.” She understood that learning is a process, and students must focus on the process not the outcome (the grade) if they wish to achieve lasting success at Holy Angels. 

Parents and teachers want to provide the support that our Angels need, and this month brings them two opportunities for doing so.  The first of these occurs on Monday, November 16, when Holy Angels sponsors a workshop entitled, “Parenting from a Growth Mindset” at 7 pm in the Learning Commons. Our speaker, Mr. Joe Bonito, has raised his two daughters using this approach, and he has so many important insights to share with Holy Angels families. 

I will also be there to share specifics about what to say and how to say it when dialoguing with your Angel.  This is such an important time in her life and being able to talk to her about Holy Angels and her education is vitally important.  To attend, just send Ms. Riley, my secretary, an email at criley@holyangels.org.

The second event is the Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences on November 23rd, and yes, we love to see the entire family sit down for a talk with the teachers. Hearing their comments first hand can make for a much stronger school/home bond. Two sessions will be offered - afternoon: 2:30 to 4 pm and evening 6:30 to 8 pm.  To get the most out of each conference follow a few guidelines. Parking:  The lower parking lot will be available.  A police officer will be onsite to help direct traffic. Know the names of your Angel’s teachers so you do not lose any time trying to figure out where you are going. All teachers will be in the Student Commons so parents can check availability and start with the shorter lines first.

Do you really need to see everyone? No. In fact, your time is best spent with those subject areas in which the student is in need of improvement.  There will be lines, especially for the teachers of 9th graders.  The dialogue with the faculty member must be focused and practical. If you need a longer time than 5 to 7 minutes, you will be asked to make another appointment.  We want to do justice to everyone’s concerns, and the truth is most concerns can be addressed in that timeframe. 

If your Angel is experiencing success, than allow the faculty member to take care of those with needs, while rejoicing in the blessings God has bestowed upon your daughter. 

With effort and the right strategies, students will reach the fullness of their potential. Holy Angels will continue to encourage them to share their gifts with others. We know that our community has been abundantly blessed by God, and as we celebrate the feast of Thanksgiving, I know our gratitude to God will be expressed in prayer, song, food and service to others.

Sincerely,
Miss Jennifer Moran
Principal

October 2015

Dear Parents,

Pope Francis has anticipated Holy Angels Jubilee by declaring a year of mercy and forgiveness for the universal church. Holy Angels as a community of learners will strengthen not only these virtues in this the year of our golden jubilee, but also will reach out to the wider community of the county and beyond.

I am sure that Archbishop Hebda’s homily on the Feast of the Guardian Angels will inspire us to reach the fullness of our potential, so that we, in turn, may share our gifts with others. It will be a glorious celebration of our 50 years on this campus. On Sunday October 4, we will share the good news of a Holy Angels Education with the families of prospective angels at our Open House from 11am to 3pm.

Last year’s families answered the call in such great numbers that we have had to make some significant adjustments to the manner in which we do things. The first of these will be two Back to School Nights. On October 7, from7pm to 8:40 parents of 9th graders will have their own program in which they follow their daughter’s schedule, meeting all her teachers in 9 minute increments. Seventy-seven percent of the parents in the Class of 2019 attended the Sunday reception on September 20, so I am expecting a huge turnout. 

Parking will be in the rear of the school. The reception table will be on the lower floor in the Student Commons where Student Council representatives will distribute the schedules prepared by our 9th graders.    There will be no Home Room. Parents will report to the first period class. Student Council reps will be stationed around the Main Building to direct traffic. No classes will meet in the convent. At the end of each period an announcement will be made to move to the next class.

Please remember, Back to School Night is a time to learn about the curriculum, the grading policy and the type of assignments that students will encounter. It is not an evening to discuss your daughter’s progress one on one with the faculty member.

On October 8, as stated on the calendar, Back to School Night will be held for grades 10, 11 and 12. This evening will also begin at 7pm but with a homeroom period in which the parents can pick up their daughter’s schedule. Late arrivals should come to the table outside the main office to pick up the schedule and figure out where to go. The journey this night will include the 4 new classrooms in the convent. Student Council reps will be stationed everywhere to assist. Basically, any class that takes place in C 1, 2, 3 or 4 means a trip through the breezeway is in order. 

First Quarter Progress reports will be emailed home to parents and students whose average at that time is below an 80. Remember, this grade is a reflection of the student’s understanding of concepts. Without that context it has no meaning and no value. So all conversations at home and in school should focus on what needs to be learned better. How can the student improve? Who can help her to do so? The student’s teacher should be the first line of defense.

Progress reports will no longer use codes indicating unsatisfactory or failing. Rather the grade at that time will be posted, followed by teacher comments which address the skills in need of improvement suggesting a path to proficiency. The focus will be on the process of learning, not on the grade.

Last year for the first time, Holy Angels began emailing progress reports to parents and students. We would now like to deepen the dialogue between teacher and student by having the student respond to the teacher about how she will enact the strategies suggested. Stay tuned for more information on this change. It is our hope that by fostering dialogue between teachers and students we will create trust, increase each student’s sense of responsibility for her own learning, and empower her to believe in her intellectual growth as Growth Mindset teaches us.

This kind of growth happens regularly at Holy Angels. When students in the graduating class of 2016 were in 9th grade, just 25% of them were placed in Holy Angels High Honors courses. Now as seniors 65% of the entire class will have taken or be taking an AP exam. We do not know what our potential is. Therefore, we must keep striving to do better.

Homework is the practice that supports learning.   However, it should be posted by all teachers no later than 8 pmto the  Haiku page. Students will not be held responsible for any assignment posted after 8 pm.  If a student/parent checks a teacher page directly, homework appears immediately after being posted.  However, an email announcement with everything a teacher has already posted plus miscellaneous school news is sent by Haiku at 9 pm each night.  This will just be a repeat for those students who checked their teachers pages.  At orientation all 9th graders were strongly advised to check teacher’s pages directly.
 
The last change to impact us is the revamped PSAT which will be taken by all students in grades 9, 10 and 11 in mid-October. With its emphasis on evidence based reading and problem solving, the College Board hopes to give us our first glimpse at the college readiness of the Angels. We welcome these changes, knowing that skills they entail will be valuable not only for college but also for careers. We will of course be sharing the results with all parents in early December. 

If we can accomplish all these tasks in a spirit of jubilee, knowing that God will always send us the graces that we need then we will truly be successful this month.

Sincerely,
Miss Jennifer Moran
Principal

September 2015

Dear Parents and Students,

Proclaim Jubilee!! This is our theme for this blessed year at Holy Angels, marking the 50th anniversary of the Demarest campus. And it feels like a golden jubilee in so many ways!  This image of gold, so precious, is a perfect fit for a school and an education that are invaluable in the lives of our students and alumnae.

When all students return for a full day on September 9 (dismissal 2:05), they will be surprised by the changes to the facility that have been accomplished during the summer months to accommodate the Golden class of 2019, 178 strong.  Four new classrooms in the convent, renovations to the Little Theater and a renovated lower faculty room to accommodate the increase in staff.

To that faculty we welcome, Ms. Diana Rankin to the English Department. Mrs. Kaitlyn Pedicano,  who will teach Health and Computer Applications to 9th graders, Mrs. Kelley McGraw, in the Math department and Mrs. Lisa Betti  who returns to teach the upper division Italian courses.

In early July, we received word that our beloved Social Studies teacher, Mrs. Mary Naimo, would retire. We thank Mrs. Naimo for her love and devotion to Holy Angels over the past 11 years. Her Psychology elective was the most popular one in the school. Her Equality Now club and History Society did so much to help our students understand the issues of the day. Mrs. Naimo was the very definition of Growth Mindset. Her positive attitude and willingness to encourage her students will not be forgotten.  Homeroom 221 will be moderated by another Social Studies veteran, Mrs. Cucchisi. We welcome Mr. Christopher Petrozza to the department.

In our Main Office, which also underwent a facelift this summer, you will see the smiling face of Mrs. Carolyn Miller, our transportation coordinator. Rounding out the staff is Ms. Melissa Sukalo, who will be the Assistant to our Director of Admissions, Ms. Michele Sovak.

Because of the size of the incoming class we have created a sixth 9th grade homeroom. All the 10th grade lockers will be on the lower floor and some lucky Angels will have their homeroom down there as well as Ms. Pritchard begins her tenure as a sophomore Homeroom teacher in the Bio lab!

Although school was officially closed, Project Greenhouse continued its work throughout this long hot and dry summer. Mrs. Brizzolara and a dedicated group of farmer/students harvested lettuce, radishes, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, arugula and summer squash for distribution to local food banks for those in need of healthy, nutritious vegetables.

AHA Science Department Chairperson, Nancy Brizzolara, described the comprehensive nature of Project Greenhouse and emphasized its educational value as well as its goal of connecting learning with social responsibility. “Students have been empowered in the process from the beginning, gaining experience in budgeting, safety, planning and design, construction, accessorizing, planting, harvesting, and disbursing products. Project Greenhouse will afford students with a hands-on opportunity to carry out cross-curricular studies in biology, environmental science, physics, mathematics, engineering, and technology. Students will explore not only the mutual interaction among these fields but will be challenged to consider the moral and humanistic implications presented by scientific inquiry as well.” Academy of the Holy Angels recently launched its unique “STREAM” program which integrates Religion and the Arts into its STEM program. STREAM incorporates six disciplines: Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art and Math.

And while we are talking about academic excellence, our AP Program continued its storied success. A total of 144 juniors and seniors sat for 331 exams in May. An astonishing 91% achieved passing scores of 3, 4 or 5. A record number of 71 AP Scholars also resulted from the very hard work of all these students and their amazing teachers. The tally includes 37 scholars passing 3 exams, 14 Scholars with Honors passing 4 exams and 20 scholars with Distinction, passing 5 or more exams. All students in AP Biology, French, Studio Art, Spanish and Art History passed their exams.I think that is enough surprises to last us for a year! But when one is celebrating a golden jubilee, who knows what will happen?

I know that this will be an emotional year for many reasons.  However, I hope the overall tone will be one of rejoicing in all that we have done and will do together this year.  If we look to Our Lord who calmed the seas and made all things new again, we will surely triumph. A mission as powerful as that of Holy Angels which fosters a community of one mind, one heart and one sprit, which prepares the leaders that the world needs most and that knows Love Cannot Wait will help us to accomplish our dreams this epic year!

Sincerely,
Jennifer Moran
Principal

 

 

June 2015

Dear Parents and Students, 

Picture me shouting from the roof tops when you read this line:  Our Middle States visit was a complete success. The representative of the Association, Mr. Patrick Impreveduto, has forwarded a copy of the report that he will submit to the Commission on Secondary Schools. He is recommending reaccreditation without any stipulations or recommendations.   Among the many wonderful comments that he made in his report, the ones that are the most important involve our school community. “Believing that each person is a unique image of God, they strive to enable every young woman to develop to the fullness of her potential.  They challenge students to become self-directed, to reach out to others and to make responsible choices.  Academy of the Holy Angels creates an environment that enables students to understand and accept themselves and others as persons of dignity and worth.  They educate students to become lifelong learners equipped with the skills and knowledge that will allow them to be successful in a rapidly changing world.”

He clearly grasped the essence of the climate of our school. “The school environment is friendly and respectful as witnessed by my walk-through, meetings with students, teachers and parents at the school.  Leaders were seen interacting with other stakeholders, offering support and positive reinforcement when needed.  The importance and dedication to the Sisters of Notre Dame is evident is every aspect of the school.” 

The manner in which we work at Holy Angels was commended. “The school uses a collaborative process to develop and implement a written strategic or long-range plan to improve its educational program and services.  Plans are aligned with the school’s philosophy/mission and its operational plans, under the leadership of Internal Coordinator, Kate Chambers, the school’s professional development committee and faculty at large engaged in a collaborative process to develop the plan for growth and improvement using the frameworks provided by the protocol.”

Mr. Impreveduto went on to express his confidence in the school’s ability to manage its fiscal and material resources in a responsible and ethical manner. 
A randomly selected group of about 25 students met in private with Mr. Impreveduto who came away from that meeting commenting, “Students who were interviewed appeared committed to study and asserted that they approved of the learning environment because, “Everyone here is like-minded and focused on academics.  It’s cool to be smart and better yourself.  They went on to add that they valued the “hands on” approach to instruction and commented favorably on the various teaching styles of the faculty.  All students welcomed the “Growth Mindset” initiative and find it to be a highly anticipated change to their education.”

He further attested to the educational growth evident in our curriculum saying, “Evidence of student learning is used to evaluate and improve curriculum effectiveness, instructional practices, professional development and support services.  Progress in student learning and performance is expected and is accurately, clearly and systematically reported to the school community.”

Our faculty received this recognition.  “All members of the school community are extremely devoted and dedicated to meeting the needs of the students.  Students expressed appreciation for the commitment of their counselors and teachers and spoke about the how collegial the relationship was among students on campus.

Activities during and after the school day were viewed in a positive manner.  “Many clubs help students to take part in the life of the school and to become responsible members of the community.  The students have the opportunity to work with very committed faculty/staff moderators and coaches who go beyond the call of duty for their club members and athletes.”

Lastly, the resources of our Learning Center and our use of technology were addressed. “As observed in classrooms and labs, information resources, materials and technology are accessible and of adequate scope, quantity and quality to facilitate the school’s pursuit of its total educational program.”

Of course, this was just stage one in a seven year journey in which Holy Angels will continue to implement our action research plans to instill a growth mindset in our students that will stoke their love of learning and dampen their stress and anxiety so that their minds may flourish and their souls be at peace.

The class of 2018 has been the primary recipient of instruction in this theory. They have made significant gains since they came to Holy Angels. As I have often told them, they are my heroes. Learning is a process. They do their best to focus on that process so that the outcomes will be secure.

June is traditionally a month of closure and farewells. The class of 2015 is one that will be missed by all. Though they are small in number, their aspirations and achievements have been anything but. Now that the college placement process dust has settled, they can look forward to transitioning to colleges all across the country, from Providence to Notre Dame, to the University of California and around the world, as we will have students in Scotland, Spain and South Korea.  Mean SAT scores tell their story: 584 Critical Reading, 586 Math and 607 Writing. Their hard work and embrace of learning  culminated in 66% of the entire class taking at least one AP exam.

Beyond the walls of the classroom they were just as distinguished. With terrific class unity they scored 2000 spirit points to win the Student Council contest. They led state level teams in golf and track, garnered nominations from Papermill Playhouse and Metropolitan Theater awards, took national level firsts in art, and second in the nation in Hip Hop at the esteemed UDA Dance Competition.  They talked with TED, gave generously to the needs of Nepal and Edgewater, and gave up a precious day off to work with the children from St Peter’s School in Philadelphia on a never to be forgotten Field Day.  I have rarely seen a class enjoy a senior prom more than they did. The senior retreat was as transformative as Kairos was because each student shared her love for her classmates and her understanding of God’s action in her life.

I look forward to the happiness of their graduation day and wish them many blessings as they go forth into the world.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Moran
Principal 

 

 

May 2015

Dear Parents and Students, 

As in nature, May is a month of growth at Holy Angels; opportunities to grow, continued growth and the culmination of growth.

Opportunities for growth abound even as the school year approaches its close. Summer is a great time for students to seek out internships and programs that will enhance their academic and personal profiles for the next year.  The CCO is a great resource in this regard. However, the best place to begin is with your Angel. Find out what she feels passionate about. What is an interest she might like to pursue in college or make into a career? These are the sparks that will help ignite a successful future for her. Relatives, friends and neighbors as well as our own Alumnae Angel Advantage Program can put her in touch with the program, internship or service that will propel her through the summer and make her excited.

Keep an eye out in particular for all the new opportunities we have discovered at amazing tech and media companies like Google, Microsoft and Bloomberg. Consider the Bioethics Institute in NYC that is seeking students to attend their programs or to intern there. Opportunities like these move quickly, which is why I am alerting you to them in May!

Continued growth will happen for all our students this month. Sixty-six percent of the senior class and 45% of the junior class will sit for more that 300 AP examination in the first two weeks of the month. All students will push through the remainder of the curriculum with the help of their teachers, so they will be prepared for the challenges of final exams. I strongly urge them and their parents to adopt a Growth Mindset by focusing on the process of learning, maintaining a positive attitude about their abilities and difficulties and putting in the effort that is required of all Angels to break through to comprehension and mastery. If they do, the grades will take care of themselves.

Culmination of growth will be reflected on every front!! Seniors will prepare for graduation after a successful college admissions process.  Art and Music programs will reach new heights at the annual art show and spring concert.  Coaches and athletes will be striving to take their teams to the next level whether that is league, county or state! Our school publications will be launched. Perhaps most importantly, our entire community will have participated in Service Day, travelling all over Bergen County and beyond to meet the needs of those of are marginalized or made invisible by indifference. Such an outreach is rare on this scale. We are grateful to the Campus Ministers for all the effort they make to coordinate this day. It is through all these means that the character of each Angel is shaped, and she becomes the person God is calling her to be.

For the entire school and all its constituencies, the culmination of the Middle States reaccreditation process will be the ultimate validation. The visit on April 28 was a success. The final report and recommendation to the Commission on Secondary Schools will be made available in the fall. However, we know we did our best!

May is also the month in which we celebrate the Mother of God and her unique relationship with Jesus and with each of us as Mother of the Church. I pray that Mary spreads her blue mantle of protection over each and every Holy Angels family this month so that their hearts are at peace, their minds are strengthened and their souls renewed.

Sincerely, 
Jennifer Moran
Principal 

 

April 2015

Dear Parents and Students, 

Seven is believed by many to be a lucky number. I certainly hope so! Every seven years the month of April brings with it a very important event in the life of Holy Angels: the Middle States reaccreditation of our school. In April 2015 that seven year period is up again and we await the arrival of our Middle States representative, Mr. Patrick Impreveduto on Tuesday April 28th. The usual practice for a review of this kind is for a team of 10 to 15 educators to visit the school for three full days. 

However, because Holy Angels is one of a handful of elite schools in this area to be approved for a special protocol, called “Sustaining Excellence,” our visit will be one day only. While he is with us, Mr. Impreveduto will review all the evidence we can muster to support the fact that Holy Angels is a school that exceeds the 12 standards Middle States has established for reaccreditation. Do our foundation documents (philosophy, goals, profile of the graduate) proclaim our mission? Check. Can every student and faculty member attest that the mission is shared with them? Check. Is our academic program rigorous and college preparatory?  Check. Do our graduates go on to institutions of higher learning and do well there? Check. Do we have an activities program that meets the diversified needs of our student body? Check. And are our faculty and staff qualified and dedicated to student learning and success? Check. Mr. Impreveduto will visit classes, speak to our Planning Team for Middle States, review the finances of the school, meet with the administration, tour the buildings and grounds checking for safety and health practices, and lastly, interview randomly selected students about their experience at Holy Angels. All in all, a very busy day which we hope will run smoothly. 

He will also want to speak to us about the next phase of our Action Research Plan. For this part of the process, Holy Angels was asked to identify a problem in our school community that we wished to solve and then create a plan for so doing. As many of you know we chose a formidable goal: to deepen students’ love of learning and decrease concern about grades by fostering in the school a new culture based on Dr. Carol Dweck’s theory, Growth Mindset. So far, our faculty and staff have received many lessons in this theory which simply put maintains that intelligence is malleable and can grow with the proper learning strategies, effort and a positive frame of mind in the students. “If you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right!” We are training ourselves and our students to think we can! We want them to regard their setbacks and failures as a spur to renewed effort and greater learning than before.  “It is only failure if you quit trying. Until then it is learning!” The class of 2018 was required to read this book the summer before they began AHA. They have had five small group lessons in which various aspects of the theory were explained and put to the test. This month the parents of that class are engaged in a dialogue with their daughters on the subject and are even testing themselves to see where they fall on the Growth Mindset continuum. Many of our upper grades have heard a great deal about this project and report good results from practicing it. 

My monthly newsletter is another venue in which I share the theory and our work with it in our school community. 

Please pray for the success of this visit. I will share the results of Mr. Impreveduto’s “after report” in May. Then his report goes before the Commission on Secondary Education in the fall for a vote on reaccreditation. 

There are many wonderful events in April: International Night, our annual college fair with 110 colleges attending, and the glorious Spring Concert and Art Show, but before all that we will celebrate the Risen Lord on Easter and sing Alleluia, Alleluia!!. 

Sincerely, 
Jennifer Moran
Principal 

 

March 2015

Dear Parents and Students, 

I am going to open this letter in Peter Pan mode by declaring, “I got to crow!” about the phenomenal registration number for the  class of 2019.  The online registration was capped at 172 students.  There is a waiting pool and the phone keeps ringing with new applicants seeking admission to what we are now calling “The Ivy League of High Schools.”

Our success is a shared one; the product of every aspect of Holy Angels operating on all cylinders.  The STREAM initiative, the opportunities for learning outside of school, the enrollment in our AP courses (66% of the class of 2015), that special Holy Angels feeling, the warmth and confidence projected by our Angels Ambassadors, the excellence of our teaching and the amazing outreach of our Admissions and Communication staffs all contributed to this great result.  Special thanks to Ms. Sovak and Ms. Verdonck for their professionalism, persistence and support for the Holy Angels mission.  This class is our most geographically diverse ever, including students from Westchester County, Garfield, Hoboken, Jersey City, Garnerville, Pine Brook and every place in between!  At last, all roads do lead to Holy Angels.  This incoming class is sure to leave its mark and enters into a very special year, the 50th Anniversary of the Demarest campus.

While we wait to see the daffodils poke their heads through the snow, we can all remain engaged and active in our lives at Holy Angels.  Events in March will impact the growth of our students in many ways.

First and foremost, we are in the season of Lent, well named for the lengthening of daylight.  While we were on winter break for Ash Wednesday, Holy Angels enters fully into the spirit of prayer, renewal and almsgiving this month.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be made available to all students and staff on March 23rd.  Priests from over twenty different parishes will flock to Holy Angels to help us turn to God and sin no more.  I believe we receive the graces we need in such encounters if we open our hearts to the Lord.  One of the graces I pray for daily is the strengthening of our bond of community.

March is Music in our Schools Month and with the caliber of musicians we have at Holy Angels it promises to be a high note of our school days.  The string quartet, flute ensemble, jazz band and soloists will lift our spirits through their performances; the product of hours of dedicated practice.  The premier of The Drowsy Chaperone will be another highlight.  The strength of our music program will be shared with all our feeder schools, public and parochial, who are invited to a special matinee performance on March 11th at 10:30 am.

Academically, all students in grades 9, 10 and 11 will be engaged in course selection for the 2015-2016 school year.  Placements have been determined, but students who wish to improve upon those decisions will have until the end of the school year to do so.  A Growth Mindset calls for resilience in the face of setbacks, goal setting and consistent work to bring about change.  Parents must sign off on course selections; please ask your daughter to share her course selection sheet with you.  

Parents are also our welcome guests at the many Honor Society inductions this month:

Math Honor Society - Tuesday, March 17th, 2:30 pm
World Languages Tuesday, March 24th, 2:30 pm
Science Honor Society Thursday, March 26th, 2:30 pm
Art Induction Tuesday, March 31st, 2:30 pm

Socially, our students will participate in our annual Awareness Day on March 18th.  The theme for this year is making a difference close to home; focusing on social justice issues that impact our local area and local agencies that serve the needs of the community.

Meanwhile, parents, past parents, alumnae and friends will have their own event at the fabulous Angelic Evening fundraiser on March 27th.
 
I have to stop and catch my breath just thinking about the wealth of experience this month at Holy Angels offers to our school community.  Far from March Madness; it is March Magnificence.

Truly, we have been blessed by God.  In our Lenten prayer, let us include all those in need of the gift of education, knowing that the world can be changed through the transformation of persons.   

Sincerely,

Jennifer Moran
Principal 

 

February 2015

Dear Parents and Students, 

The month of February has two of my favorite things in it: a weeklong break and a weeklong celebration of Catholic Schools. Catholic Schools week at Holy Angels will be observed from February 2 to 6. We put out the welcome mat for parents to visit their daughters’ classes.

Here is the schedule we will be following:

Senior & Junior Parents
Tuesday, February 3, 8:03am – 12:18pm (Day 7)

Sophomore Parents
Wednesday, February 4, 8:03am – 12:18pm (Day 8)

Freshmen Parents       
Thursday, February 5, 8:03am – 12:18pm (Day 1)

Of course, for me, there is only one Catholic School in my heart. Holy Angels is extraordinary for so many reasons. Our students have a great work ethic. They maintain a positive attitude and a desire to learn which we now know are hallmarks of academic success.

Whether they are graphing inequalities in Algebra, reading their poetry in Creative Writing, selecting and critiquing their photographs for the Art Show, analyzing the historical pattern of empire building in World History or testing for muscle fatigue in Anatomy and Physiology, the knowledge and skills they are mastering are so outstanding  one cannot help but be awed.

Angels make a difference. In Project Trout, we should be down to a few hearty survivors from the 300 eggs we received from the hatchery. (In fact, just seven survivors is the norm for this phase of the project). Instead we have more than 200. This is not “normal” from a scientific perspective, but then, these fish are being cared for by Angels.

Our faculty and staff simply will not quit! They encourage the students to grow, and to learn from their mistakes, (“Mistakes are our friends,” is the mantra in many of our math classes). They seek new ways to help students master concepts and retain information. They know and understand the potential of their students, using many indicators to place them in next year’s courses. They encourage reflection and critical thinking by asking the essential questions, creating space and quiet in the classroom, inviting students to share their ideas, opinions and beliefs. Whether contemplating the messages of the prophets or writing a response to a starter question, teachers support the growth of the whole person.

In this school, we minister to one another. The bonds of our community of learners are deliberately and intentionally fostered each day from the intentions read at morning prayer to the good news shared with all over the PA, to the love and support an Angel finds whenever and wherever she needs it. 

We all get it; we all help create it, that Holy Angels Difference. Our Mission Integration Coordinator is preparing a Sponsorship report for the School Sisters of Notre Dame that details the many ways in which Holy Angels embraces and lives out the charism of Blessed Theresa Gerhardinger. This year, as we strive to Live Simply, Responsibly and Sustainably, it is good to see the steps the institution has taken. New lighting in every classroom and office will reduce our use of electricity by 40%. The number of bottles saved by our water stations is reported at each National Honor Society Assembly as a matter of record and our determination to Build the Earth.

Even our Studio Art class unlocked both their creative design ideas and their support for sustainability through their jewelry creations made from coffee filters, Q-Tips, found wire and sponges; jewelry so beautiful you would not hesitate to purchase it.  

The good works of our students, faculty and staff in matters as large and far away as, South Sudan, and as near and local as Family Promise in Ridgewood help unite us to others in the practice of our faith. 

Please join us in this celebration of Knowledge, Faith and Service. May all we do and all we are continue to be blessed by God. 

 

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Moran
Principal 

 

January 2015

Dear Parents and Students,

We will begin our new year at Holy Angels singing “Christ Be our Light!” The Feast of the Epiphany will be celebrated on January 6th. The rituals we love so much, the blessing of classrooms and lintels as well as “all those who work and study therein” will take place.
 
The New Year is also the time we traditionally make resolutions. Here are some that you may want to consider:

The pace of our lives is hectic. Making time for five minutes of quiet can be a restorative practice no matter what our line of work is. There is a reason that Angels love guided meditation so much.

We can change. In sophomore Religious Studies classes, the students learn about the six moral virtues:  justice, compassion, respect, courage, wise judgment and honesty. By practicing the one we need most, it becomes a moral habit that impacts our lives in so many unexpected ways. I am always working on patience and gentleness.

Be less self-absorbed by losing oneself in the service of others. At Holy Angels we offer so many opportunities for service, large and small, near and far. Here are a few of the big ones coming up:

Caroline House, Bridgeport, Connecticut
Romero Center Urban Challenge, Camden, New Jersey
Young Neighbors in Action, Baltimore, Maryland
Comunidad Enlaces de Esperanza Border Experience: Douglas, Arizona
Nazareth Farms – Appalachia, West Virginia

Urge your daughter to pay attention to Haiku announcements and sign up for any of these potentially transformative experiences.

Find your passion. As a graduate from the class of 2007 who visited a Communications class recently declared, “There are two types of Angels at AHA: Those that come in knowing what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and those like me who had no idea!” However, by tenth grade she realized she loved writing. She had Mrs. Sovak, who was renowned for her tough critiques of papers, as her teacher and dreaded the “writer’s conference” in which she read the student’s paper aloud while critiquing it. When she heard nothing until the end, she breathed a sigh of relief which was soon followed by joy as Mrs. Sovak affirmed her ability to write. She never looked back and today has a great career at Penguin Books. So listen to your heart, to your friends, family and teachers as you seek your heart’s desire this New Year.

Lastly, make it about the learning, not the grade. No matter what happens on midterms, there is still a semester to deepen your knowledge, profit from your mistakes and master the skills you need to be a true success. No one grade ever sank anyone’s hopes for college admissions. That is a resolution worth keeping.

May this New Year bring all our Holy Angels families enlightenment, peace of mind, love and the oneness for which our Lord Jesus Christ was sent.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Moran
Principal 

P.S. To keep in the loop, follow me on Twitter @AHA_Principal.

 

December 2014

Dear Parents,

The weather has decided that we are now in the season of winter.  However, at Holy Angels we mark the liturgical seasons. Our Advent wreath will remind us to prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ, the Light of the World.

Academically, so much has been happening at Holy Angels. The STREAM initiative continues apace with the building of the greenhouse behind the science laboratories.  Many hands made light work for our Angels. I am grateful for the presence of the faculty, volunteers and the generous people from Home Depot who sent six helpers that day. I look forward to this extension of our classrooms and all that students will learn there.

Another opportunity that will be afforded to the class of 2016 in the spring semester is the course Engineering Principles, offered online through our collaboration with the Virtual High School. The enthusiastic seniors who are presently engaged in Engineering for Sustainability course spoke to the juniors at the start of their rehearsal for the December 4th ring ceremony. Because the date for the ceremony was changed to a weekday, teachers of juniors have agreed to a no written homework night. However, testing days are precious, and cannot be changed. Students who plan accordingly will be able to attend the ceremony with a clear mind.

Another initiative that has been around for awhile but is getting a second lease on life is the Angels Advantage program which links present students with alumna who offer shadow days or advice and support via email. There are so many careers covered in our database.  Please urge your Angel to consult it. It can be found on the College Counseling Office Haiku page or contact Mrs. Trubac at jtrubac@holyangels.org in the College Counseling Office for more information. Angels Advantage is the best form of career exploration one can get in high school.  An ever growing network of Angels that link past to present will strengthen our community even more. Being proactive in planning for college now includes seeking out authentic learning experiences outside the classroom. Angels Advantage is one such example.  

Another strategy is to remain alert for Haiku announcements about other programs. On December 13, Holy Angels will be sending several students to the Perry Outreach Program at the NYU Medical Center. Perry Outreach Program is for young women in high school, college and medical school.  These day-long programs are held at different locations nationwide throughout the year.  Students spend a day doing simulated surgeries for orthopedic problems and conduct biomechanical engineering experiments, while also hearing from prominent women engineers and surgeons in the field.  While this would send me racing for the smelling salts, our intrepid future doctors could not be more excited.  

We are all anticipating a long winter’s nap during the two week Christmas hiatus, but I need to caution all that semester exams arrive with the New Year, and some time should be devoted to unpacking those midterm reviews our faculty wrapped and put under the Haiku tree for each Angel.

However; that effort should not detract from celebrating the giftedness of our Angel musicians and singers at the Christmas Gala, from family closeness or fun with friends and, most importantly, from the worship of the Word Made Flesh through the miracle of God’s love for all of humanity.

 

Warmest regards,

Jennifer Moran
Principal 

P.S. To keep in the loop, follow me on Twitter @AHA_Principal.

 

November 2014

Dear Parents,

The month culminates with Thanksgiving, so I thought I would get an early start by writing down my Holy Angels gratitudes. I learned about this technique from observing Mrs. Naimo’s Psychology class. Her students participated in a  twenty-one day experiment in fostering an optimistic attitude and happy mindset proposed by Dr. Sean Atkins. The twenty-six seniors in this class wrote three gratitudes in a journal each night, practiced random acts of kindness and meditated. At the end of the twenty-first day, all reported feeling calmer and happier. Many determined to make the process a habit. So here are my small and large Holy Angels’ gratitudes in no particular order. I am grateful for:

  • The 70% of our parent community who attended Back to School Night. Your devotion to your daughters says it all. Remember to attend Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences (yes, your Angel should attend) on Monday, November 24th from 2:30 to 4 pm or 6:30 to 8 pm.
  • Our remembrance of the UN dates such as the International Day of Peace, Stand Up Against Poverty and the conference on the status of the girl child attended by twenty-five of our students.
  • A safe delivery of the 300 rainbow trout eggs that are presently hatching in our Biology Lab. I feel like a grandmother! I am grateful to those parents whose donations made Project Trout possible.  
  • The grant from Orange & Rockland and donations from parents that fully funded our Project Greenhouse. If the weather holds, we will break ground soon. The Angels who live in this glass house will grow vegetables to be donated to local area food banks. So our harvest will pay it forward.
  • Outreach’s partnership with S. Cathy Arata, SSND, who works with the people of South Sudan, will be the focus of our Thanksgiving prayer service on November 25th.
  • Past parent and present Holy Angels Board of Trustees member, Mr. Joe Bonito, whose “Parenting from a Growth Mindset” workshop on October 20th conveyed so many useful strategies for communicating with adolescent young women. It was attended by more than 10% of our parent community!
  • The 59% of the junior class of 2016 and the 66% of the senior class of 2015 who are enrolled in at least one Advanced Placement course. Through persistent effort and determination they have grown their intellects to conquer the challenge of college level courses.
  • The members of our faculty and staff who work with passion and dedication to advance the learning of all our students.
  • My job as Principal which gives me so much joy and the energy I need to help our Angels succeed.  Please follow me on Twitter @AHA_Principal.
  • Lastly, and most dearly, I am grateful for the life and loving ministry of S. Catherine Green, whose presence at Holy Angels for thirty years will be missed in so many ways. Since her entrance into eternal life on October 11, 2014, we have learned of the many acts of kindness, charity and support she shared with alumnae, students, faculty and those dear to her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.  

May the Lord bring a bountiful harvest of grace to all our Holy Angels families this Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

Jennifer Moran
Principal 

 

October 2014

Dear Parents and Students: 

Throughout October, Holy Angels honors its past and looks forward to its future.  October 2nd, our feast day, October 24th, Foundation Day and October 25th alumnae liturgy and dinner, are complemented by October 5th’s Open House welcoming prospective angels.


While our values and the charism of the School Sisters of Notre Dame remain unchanged, there is so much happening in and beyond our classrooms that they could not have imagined.


Our Engineering for Sustainability course, open to seniors, is up and running.  At the end of the first quarter, I will be speaking to the juniors about another semester course, Principles of Engineering.  These represent Holy Angels first foray into online courses.  Our students will work collaboratively with others from all over the country under the guidance of a qualified instructor.  I am eager to see the results of the project that will represent the culmination of the course. This kind of learning closely mimics the real world. Creative partnerships and collaboration across time zones and continents are the new workplace realities.


In addition, we have so many extracurricular activities that prepare students for STEM majors and careers.  Our very own Society of Women Engineers will hear from alumnae in the field in which women are vastly underemployed. Field trips to the Meadowlands to study heavy metal contamination and the Pequest Trout Hatchery (where the fish eggs for Project Trout will come from) are scheduled.  As a second year engineering major at Northeastern University and alumna of AHA proclaimed to me last week, “Miss Moran, you would think I go to Don Bosco, there are so many guys in my course!”  Activities such as CSI Angels, 3D Design, MEDS and Young Entrepreneurs, also serve to teach our students there are no barriers that a well prepared woman cannot overcome. 


In that vein, I want to highlight another new activity that links Holy Angels to the “Lean In” Movement. There are many college chapters of this organization inspired by Facebook and GOOGLE executive Sheryl Sandberg.  Her best seller of the same name shares her experiences as a woman executive in a male dominated technology industry. Our very own Lean In group will study her strategies for success and learn how to cope with setbacks, failures and outright discrimination in the workplace.  


Such a comprehensive program deserves our support, but at Holy Angels we take that development of the whole person seriously.  That is why our STEM program has evolved into a rich and value laden STREAM program with Religious Studies and Art rounding out the curriculum. If you would like to support our “growth” in this area, consider donating to Project Greenhouse.


Our Science Department is proposing this exciting and innovative school-wide STREAM initiative. Interested students will plan and build a functional greenhouse right here on campus. Powered by solar panels, the greenhouse will grow crops that when harvested will be donated to various food banks in Bergen and Rockland Counties. 


Students will have a hands-on opportunity to carry out studies in biology (i.e. genetics, botany, plant structure and function), environmental science (i.e. organic farming, sustainable agriculture), physics, mathematics,  engineering, technology and the formation and running of a not for profit business. Project Greenhouse stresses the importance of the mutual interaction among the sciences and the simultaneous expression of Catholic Social teaching. It will also encourage interaction among the other disciplines: (history and social studies, religious studies and campus ministry, health and nutrition, art and humanities).


If you believe as we do in Living Simply, Responsibly and Sustainably; then please consider donating to this project. With a budget of just 5000 dollars, we could all discover the truth of the statement, “Girls who live in glass houses grow vegetables.”


While we celebrate our past, we look forward to a future so bright we will need to wear shades!  May God continue to prosper the work of our hands this month.

 

Sincerely,

Jennifer Moran
Principal 

 

September 2014

Dear Parents and Students, 

September 2014, the start of another wonderful school year at Academy of the Holy Angels. We welcome back our sophomores, juniors and seniors and continue the welcome we began with the Class of 2018 the last week of August.

Wednesday, September 3rd will be a full day of school (7:47 to 2:05). Students who have not yet completed summer assignments and summer reading are running out of time. Summer reading will be assessed during regular class periods the second week of classes.  

The traditional Labor Day Angel tasks include: backing up all files so they are not lost during the reimaging process and downloading the school calendar.  

Holy Angels will soon become a home away from home for 142 ninth graders in the class of ’18, ten sophomore transfers and our five new faculty/administration members:

We extend a warm welcome to Melinda Hanlon, President. Her energy, concern and determination to keep Holy Angels strong have impressed our community greatly. Mr. Jonathan Blevis, in Religious Studies, Ms. Stephanie Gibney, in English, Mr. Sean Hickey, in English and S. Diane Driscoll, SSJ in Religious Studies. Familiar faces in new places include Mrs. Kraytem and Mrs. Loo who begin their tenure as homeroom moderators in room 9 and 215, respectively.   

As Holy Angels is our home, we are making every effort to keep it and every member of our community safe. Additional security measures were put in place during the summer months. These include internal security cameras and a reception window outside the Attendance Office for drop offs of packages, projects and forgotten laptops. Ms. Mullooly, Dean of Students, will lead students through all the new procedures. Faculty and staff will continue their review of the updated emergency manual to insure preparation for any unplanned disruption of the school day. We thank Mr. George Ballane, Director of Technology, for his efforts in coordinating the installation of equipment.

- Our weekly emails contain a wealth of information about school life. Please check for upcoming audition dates for the fall play, the Academy Chorus and  the Handbell Choir.

- Parents have their chance to participate on Sunday, September 14th at a reception for new parents and guardians. On Tuesday, September 9th there is a special orientation for the parents/guardians of the International Students. Holy Angels regards these two events as so essential that we make it mandatory for at least one parent or guardian to be present.

Our Middle States accreditation visit will take place at the end of April 2015. As you know, Holy Angels has been approved for a new Middle States protocol called Sustaining Excellence. Participation in this pilot program is limited to institutions that have the statistics to validate their success. This year we will be implementing our Action Plan with the class of 2018. Our thesis is that the adoption of a growth mindset (the belief that intelligence and academic success can be increased by effort over time) will reduce grade consciousness and academic stress and foster a positive attitude toward learning. All our constituencies will be updated as our research results are gathered.

The theme for this school year is “To Live Simply, Responsibly and Sustainably” is reflected in our new STREAM (Science, Technology, Religion, Engineering, Art, Math) initiatives: an online course for seniors, “Engineering for Sustainability”, our ninth grade Biology Environmental Project (aka Project Trout) and our use of 3D printers to create cross curricular projects in Math, Art, Technology and Science. Of course, our turf field will be kinder to athletes and our field maintenance budget, saving water and eliminating pesticides and toxic chemicals. 

For 134 years, Holy Angels has fostered oneness, community, interdependence and kindness in every aspect of school life. Yet we know our work and deeds cannot stop at the campus boundary or the 2:05 dismissal bell. They must extend as far and wide as possible. A global view is integral to all Holy Angels offers to students, faculty and staff, parents and guardians of all our Angels. So dust off those wings! You will need them every day of the new school year. May it be filled with abundant graces and blessings for all.


Sincerely,

Jennifer Moran

Principal 

 

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