Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Holy Angels Reopens with Hybrid Instructional Model

Demarest, NJ: After many months of collaboration with a special task force, the Academy of the Holy Angels’ administration opted to reopen the campus on September 9. The Academy’s new hybrid instructional model blends in school and at-home learning to emphasize COVID-19 health and safety measures and maximize student engagement.

“I believe Holy Angels is well positioned to begin the 2020-21 school year,” said AHA President Melinda A. Hanlon, expressing the importance of personal responsibility among every member of the AHA community. “We look forward to a successful partnership with students and their families.”

How does the hybrid system work? Every other school day, 50 percent of the students attend in-person classes on campus and 50 percent receive synchronous learning from home via Google Meet or Zoom. Students are assigned to Team Theresa or Team Caroline, so they know which days to report to campus. Team Theresa is named for Blessed Mother Theresa Gerhardinger, foundress of the School Sisters of Notre Dame. Team Caroline is named for Mother Caroline Friess, director of the SSNDs in America. The schedule allows Team Caroline and Team Theresa to meet with all their teachers in person during the course of one week.

While they are on campus, students establish working relationships with teachers, receive critical services, and socialize with peers. When Angels study from home, they enjoy a consistent schedule, remain engaged for the full school day, and benefit from reduced exposure to COVID-19.

“The plan to return to in-person classes is aligned with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s and the NJ Department of Education’s guidelines shared in mid-July,” AHA Principal Jean Miller explained. “The plan also follows the Centers for Disease Control guidelines for health and safety. Our task force, comprised of administrators, teachers, staff, parents, doctors, nurses, and maintenance personnel, worked throughout the summer to evaluate schedule possibilities and safety precautions that would best serve our community.”

The Academy’s classrooms were outfitted with plexiglass partitions and reconfigured to permit appropriate social distancing of at least six feet. In addition, air conditioning was installed in the main school building.

AHA’s administration worked closely with Aladdin Food Services to implement Aladdin’s Safe Dining Plan, which includes a cashless Student Commons. Students and staff are able to go online and load funds onto their ID badges so they may make purchases. A boxed lunch service is available, and spaced seating is offered inside and outside the building.

AHA’s 2020-21 theme also reflects the importance of taking responsibility for others’ well-being.

“’Sharing our love, faith, and hope’ is from the SSND Constitution,” President Hanlon said. “We chose this theme at time when we are recommitting ourselves to build greater equity and inclusivity within the Holy Angels community.”

Founded by the School Sisters of Notre Dame in 1879, the Academy of the Holy Angels is the oldest private girls’ school in Bergen County. While AHA is steeped in Catholic tradition, this prestigious high school serves young women from a broad spectrum of cultural and religious backgrounds. Over time, thousands of women have passed through AHA’s portals. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts, and athletics. The Academy’s current leaders continue to further the SSND mission to provide each student with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially, and physically, by offering a first-rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity, and service to others.

Academy of the Holy Angels

315 Hillside Avenue Contact Us & Driving Directions

Demarest, NJ 07627

Phone: 201.768.7822

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