September 2019
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

Wellness Wednesday: A Path to Durable Learning

Demarest, NJ: Stress is part of life. Left unchecked, it amps up anxiety and impedes durable learning. On September 25th, Holy Angels stood up to stress by hosting the Academy’s first Wellness Wednesday.

During “community time,” a morning flex period, faculty and staff reinforced their commitment to educating the whole person by leading stress reduction activities. Everyone at AHA was invited to join in and learn positive stress-management techniques.

Options included journaling, art therapy, kickball, fitness training, Frisbee, laughter yoga, meditation, coloring for relaxation, pickleball, tennis, karaoke, doodling, and a chance to walk outdoors and connect with nature on a beautiful autumn day.

Participants had the opportunity to meet individuals from different grade levels and departments.

Wellness Wednesday is an integral part of the Academy’s new rotating block schedule. Unveiled this fall, the new schedule features an eight-day cycle that allows students to take eight courses. Students meet for 70-minute classes a few times a week.

The longer classes allow teachers to dig deeper into their subject areas and foster active classrooms that highlight project-based learning, reflection, discussion, and interdisciplinary learning.

AHA Principal Jean Miller emphasized that the goal is to promote understanding and maximize durable learning. She noted that, because the same classes do not meet every day, students must retrieve information from the previous lesson, a process that aids emotional and cognitive engagement.

When surveyed, AHA students said they wanted a quiet room where no one was talking, and a place where they could work on test preparation with others. Community time helps to fulfill these requests. During this period, students have the option of spending their time in classrooms designated for quiet study, or places where they can speak with other students.

Teachers are able to use community time minutes to administer tests or finish a lesson on days when Masses or assemblies are scheduled. In addition, this time allows faculty and staff to collaborate, pursue professional development, build better relationships with the students, and provide extra help.

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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