Madonna Wins National Academic Award!
In March 2020, Madonna won the Innovations in Catholic Education award from Today’s Catholic Teacher Magazine. Madonna was one of twelve finalists chosen from the original one hundred applicants before being named the winner in the Curriculum & Instruction category. Below is a description of the program which will only continue to grow and help give our students amazing opportunities at Madonna and beyond.
At Madonna High School, our dedicated and talented faculty and staff, our Advisory Council, and our commitment to learning, provide Madonna students core academic tools for college and beyond. Being more competitive than ever to get into college, it’s incumbent on our students to present the strongest possible portfolio. With limited funding, we need creative solutions that leverage resources to provide our students with a strong advantage and help them take their next step in life. At the beginning of 2019, we developed a road-map for educational excellence which included Healthcare, Engineering, Legal, and Business career tracks.
The career tracks are a combination of current courses offered, courses from a community college, AP courses, an internship and a series of MOOCs, which stands for massive open online courses. Traditional MOOCs are free online university courses offered by colleges all over the world that are normally not eligible for credit. Their enrollment can run upwards of 100,000+ students and anyone around the world can register. After registering, students will typically work at their own pace to watch informative lectures and lessons, complete assignments, and take exams.
Once the series of courses were selected, the school administration and staff communicated the benefits of the MOOCs and how they would be administered. Being a very progressive school, we had ten students sign up for the series of Healthcare MOOCs and six students signed up for the series of Engineering MOOCs. The first step for the students were to register for the certificate program for the first MOOC. This allowed them with access to the full lectures, online books, and quizzes which are graded online. The other benefit was that once our students pass the course, they will receive a certificate of completion from school which adds the student’s name to a national registry that is searchable by universities and gives our students a competitive advantage when applying to college.
The students taking these classes view the online classes individually and take notes. For problems and homework, the students work in groups helping each other better understand the concepts. This aspect has been a major benefit to our students because they learn the importance of collaboration. At the end of each section, the students take a quiz they must pass in order to move to the next section. At the end of the course, the team develops a comprehensive test the students take in order to show proficiency in the material.
To add to the benefits, we have been fortunate to have the professors that teach these courses to interact with the students. Each course that is selected is from a top five university in the discipline. For the engineering course, Dr. Wayne Whiteman from Georgia Tech, presented information to our students via video conference. In Healthcare, Dr. Paul Bloom from Yale, presented to our students covering course material and discussing careers in Psychology.