With the Heart of a Lion…

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Dear Friends,

Our school community has truly embodied the heart of a lion this summer, moving toward an exciting future with courage, passion and grace. The halls have been roaring with excitement and progress during the last couple of months since the students left for the summer. I hope you will enjoy this update and please let me know if you have any questions.

On Sunday, June 5th, McAuley graduated its 46th class of students and acknowledged a 100% college acceptance rate to prestigious universities and colleges from California to New England and the South. Students received $2.1 million in scholarship money for an average of $56,000 per student. The Class of 2016 gave gifts to the school that included a picnic table for outdoor eating, studying and socializing as well as $3000 for reworking the website for The Maine Girls’ Academy. These gifts have already been put into place, and we are grateful for the support of the Class of 2016. We wish them well as they embark on their next adventures.

Later in June, we learned that for the second year in a row, we were named the Best Private School in Maine (Secondary) by Down East Magazine. The “Best of Maine” awards occur annually, and the MGA community is thrilled that others recognize what we’ve always known — that the state’s only all-girls high school is number one! Our name change was announced after the printing of the magazine, so we look forward to winning next year as The Maine Girls’ Academy!

July 1st marked the beginning of a new governance structure and a new name. I am so thankful to work with a courageous and determined Board of Trustees who made it possible for us to continue educating girls right here on Stevens Avenue once the Sisters of Mercy sponsorship ended. While we were initially sad to find that we would need to change the school’s name, we are excited about the new name, The Maine Girls’ Academy, and we love how it communicates so clearly that we are here in Maine, ready to educate girls now and into the future. Hundreds of you gave your input during the naming process, and we are thankful.

With the new name came the need for a new logo. Experts from Simmons Ardell and Narrative Design worked with the school to come up with just the right logo. We considered many options and ultimately chose three alternating triangles with layers of meaning.

The first thing you might notice is the way the white space behind the triangles gives an M – representing the M for Maine in our name and perhaps even a nod to the M in our former name. The three triangles represent our three signature programs – Leadership, Global Citizenship, and E-STEAM (Ethics infused Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) that we will implement this year. The triangles also represent pine trees since Maine’s state tree is the Eastern white pine. The primary colors of the school remain green and gold, and we have added the upbeat, secondary colors of lime green, raspberry, and light aqua. You will notice these colors on our website, spiritwear and signs.

We are getting closer to seeing progress on our intergenerational campus. You may recall that SeaCoast Management, the development company behind OceanView at Falmouth and the Highlands in Topsham, plans to build a senior living community on part of the property. Seacoast will not be using the buildings that the high school presently uses, and they have agreed to a renewable 25-year lease. The first phase of the project will be the renovation of the historic Motherhouse property into a mix of subsidized and market-rate one-bedroom and studio units.

The 2016-17 professional development themes will include STEM and arts integration; diversification of teaching strategies based on neurological and developmental needs of girls; and specific areas of interest within academic departments. Over the summer, several teachers participated in substantive professional development:

  • Ms. Sagaree Sengupta attended the MLTI Summer Institute
  • Ms. Davis attended the RiSE Conference at UMO
  • Mr. Anderson completed the Advanced Placement Institute in Calculus at Saint Joseph’s College
  • Mr. Curran completed the Advanced Placement Institute in US Government and Politics at Saint Joseph’s College
  • Ms. Lake Adams completed coursework at USM in Maine History
  • Ms. Scribner participated in conferences around Arts Integration and Project Based Learning
  • The entire Math and Science Department along with Ms. Scribner from the Fine Arts Department and Ms. Dupree from the Library Media Center participated in a Project Based Learning seminar where they had the opportunity to explore the benefits of PBL and to begin planning projects in their disciplines

This year also marks the return of the Community Read; over the summer all students, faculty, and staff are reading I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (with Christina Lamb). A committee of students, faculty and staff will convene to determine the activities and discussions around the read. Click the link for more information on our approach to One Book, One Community. We urge everyone to read the book and join us for events as they are announced. All are welcome!

As we look toward our first day of The Maine Girls’ Academy, I want to thank you for your loyalty, generosity and confidence. Please keep us posted on your own thoughts and questions, and please keep an eye out for communication from us. We are moving quickly with great news, and we want to make sure that you hear it all so that you can share it with your friends, family and potential MGA students and donors.

We look forward to the 2016 – 2017 school year, as together we can work to ensure that The Maine Girls’ Academy is a place where each student can thrive and realize her full potential. This is our time to shine. We have big plans for MGA’s future, and it all starts now.

Kathryn Woodson Barr
Head of School