Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart is among an elite group of 317 public and 50 private schools recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2020. This coveted award is based on a school's overall academic performance. "Congratulations to this year’s National Blue Ribbon School awardees,” DeVos said. “It’s a privilege to recognize the extraordinary work you do to meet students’ needs and prepare them for successful careers and meaningful lives.” Now in its 38th year, this U. S. Department of Education program seeks out and celebrates great American schools demonstrating that all students can achieve to high levels.
News Around Woodlands
In the spirit of Sacred Heart schools’ Goal III (a social awareness which impels to action), community service has always been an integral part of a Woodlands Academy education. The novel coronavirus pandemic, among other things, has given students opportunities to help others in ways that could not have been imagined as the 2019-20 school year began. One example of this is the work of several Woodlands Academy students and three 2020 graduates over the summer. They assembled 2,200 face shields that were donated to The Mission of Our Lady of Angels in Chicago, a small hospital in California, the Illinois PPE Network and Woodlands Academy. The face shield kits were provided at cost by a company owned by the Randolph family whose daughters Eleanor and Helen graduated from Woodlands in 2016 and 2017.
The Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart community celebrated its multicultural makeup during the annual Flag Ceremony and prayer service Friday, Sept. 11. There were some changes due to the many COVID-19 protocols governing the resumption of in-person classroom learning just two weeks earlier. For one thing, only program participants were allowed in the school’s chapel during the ceremony. Spectators, typically seated in the pews, instead watched remotely via Zoom from their classrooms, offices and homes.
The Aug. 28 start of the 2020-21 school year marked a return to in-person classroom instruction at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. It happened two days later than originally scheduled to provide more time for easing students back into the building amid all the new COVID-19 protocols that will govern life at school this year. “I’m excited about the students' return to campus and proud of the faculty, staff and administration's thorough planning for how to bring everyone back – or learn remotely – in the safest possible manner,” Head of School Meg Steele said. “We will rely on the strength of this community to guide us as we joyfully welcome students back and approach the fall with openness, creativity, flexibility and humor.”
Members of Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Class of 2020 had to wait a bit due to COVID-19 restrictions, but 27 of them were able to return to campus Aug. 6 for one of the school’s traditional senior year celebrations. Wearing their white graduation caps and gowns – with the addition of matching face masks – and with spectators watching via a live YouTube feed rather than from the pews, each socially distanced graduate in the chapel received a Passport symbolizing her admission into local, national, and global alumnae associations of the Sacred Heart.