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January 25, 2021

AHA Blog: FAQ: Discover AHA Middle School

Have you heard? The Academy of the Holy Angels will open AHA Middle School in September 2021. As Holy Angels prepares to welcome young women in Grades 6, 7, and 8, AHA Principal Jean Miller and AHA Middle School Dean Traci Koval shared answers to some frequently asked questions.


Q. Where will the middle school be located?
A. AHA Middle School will be located on the first floor of Kelleher Hall, a light, bright, recently renovated educational space. 


Q. Was AHA always a high school?
A. No. AHA’s foundresses and sponsors, the School Sisters of Notre Dame, were committed to meeting the educational needs of immigrant children. The private Catholic all-girl high school now known as AHA was founded in 1879 to provide education to young women. In 1890, the Academy was incorporated as “Institute of Holy Angels: Collegiate Institute for Young Ladies and Preparatory School for Little Girls.” The preparatory school was still in operation when AHA moved from Fort Lee to Demarest in 1965, although the lower school was being phased out so school leaders could focus on expanding the upper school.


Q. Why open a middle school now?
A. AHA’s leaders are thrilled that Holy Angels will once again meet the needs of younger girls who are looking for an all-girls school. Now, more than ever, young women need the academic foundation, moral compass, and leadership skills to navigate the challenging future. No matter the location or the grade, like the north star, Holy Angels will lead girls along the right path. Holy Angels says “yes” and opens arms wide to younger students who need and request a solid start and quality education. AHA’s personalized programs will help students close the gaps they may have experienced due to the disruptions in the educational process due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Q. Who will lead AHA Middle School?
A. Dean Traci Koval will assume leadership of AHA Middle School. Miss Koval is an experienced Catholic and charter school educator and a doctoral candidate at Seton Hall University.


Q. What is AHA Middle School’s mission?
A. AHA Middle School seeks to inspire young women to cultivate a life-long love of learning while empowering them to navigate the challenges of adolescence, find their voice, and share their unique gifts with others.


Q. My family isn’t Catholic. Can my daughter attend AHA Middle School?
A. All are welcome. AHA is an independent Catholic school sponsored by the School Sisters of Notre Dame and serves students from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.


Q. How will AHA Middle School prepare students for success?
A. Students will receive an individually designed educational program. They will define themselves and realize their potential as they pursue familiar interests and explore new educational pathways. In addition, every student will receive a solid foundation to prepare them for high school, as they develop a moral compass in the SSND tradition.


Q: Will middle school students join in the high school’s daily community period?
A: No. While the start and end of the school day will occur at the same time (7:50 a.m. to 2:05 p.m.), the daily class schedule for the middle school and high school will differ.


Q: Will middle school students wear the same uniform as the high school students?
A: Middle school students will wear a different uniform.


Q: Will middle school students join the high school sports and activities?
A: No, middle school students will have their own sports and age-appropriate activities.


Q. Will there be opportunities for high school students to mentor or tutor middle school students?
A: Yes. Opportunities will be offered, but not mandated.


Q: Will middle school students be added to high school art and music classes?
A: Middle school students will have their own programs separate from the high school students.


Q. Why are all-girls’ schools so important?
A. All-girls’ schools are an excellent choice because each and every opportunity to lead is available to a young woman. Learning how to engage in healthy competition with peers is vital to a young woman’s growth into a confident, compassionate, competent individual.