The timing of Easter break this year brought our return to campus on April 29. The advantage to returning to campus after such a late vacation is that it feels like a quick sprint to the end of the school year. And even though the calendar turned to May, our campus remains bustling with enriching and intellectually energizing experiences.
One such event occurred on Thursday, May 2 when our school cafeteria became home to the 2nd Annual Science Night. This memorable affair was led by the members of the University of Maryland Baltimore County Chemistry Club. The theme of this year’s event was “Earth Day is Every Day”. Our attending students rotated through five different activity stations throughout the evening. One station included an experiment to determine if lemons and potatoes hold the capacity to serve as a medium to convert chemical energy into electrical energy. A second station taught the students how to make recycled paper. A third station invited the students to create a homemade CO2 generator. A fourth station introduced the students to the process of how plastic materials are recycled. And a fifth station allowed the students to build a water filtration system out of common substances. Our Science Night inspired our students to experience how research experiments and discovery can be used to solve the problems of the day. As well, the “Earth Day is Every Day” theme was intended to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our planet and taking action to preserve the beauty of its natural resources. I would like to thank the UMBC Chemistry Club for generously sharing their passion for Science with the young students of St. Agnes School.
Then On Friday, May 3, we closed our school doors as our teachers assembled together for a professional development day that was led by Michelle Jones from Notre Dame University of Maryland. The focus of this day was to collect and analyze standardized testing data from our recent IOWA assessments. This important event provided valuable time for our faculty to discuss and discern upon the informational data we gathered from the recent Cognitive Abilities Tests; ELA – Written Expression, Grammar and Reading; Math; Science; and Social Studies assessments that our students took prior to Easter. While most schools do have their students take some form of standardized testing during the year, at St. Agnes, we never “teach to the test”. Rather, we use the collected data as an opportunity to look for trends and any difficulties that our students may have experienced. And as well, we celebrate the successes that our students achieved on their assessments. Although it was a long day of reading reports, inferring the results and planning for the future, it was nonetheless an energizing occasion. And while much of the day was arranged in small groups of faculty teams reflecting and conferring over grade level and subject area data, the concluding part to the day saw our teachers use this information to determine and set goals for the 2019-2020 school year.
This “data day” was a wonderful occasion in which to use critical thinking skills, communication and creative collaboration with our colleagues. And all of this was done to continue to improve upon the excellent education that we provide at St. Agnes. What a school! We are truly blessed!!