Scholarship, Leadership, & Service
March 15, 2017
SMA Tradition of Excellence Continues
Pictured from left to right are assistant principal Pamela Rogers, principal Sr. Jennie Jones, SSF, Advanced Ed Review Team members Fran Taylor-Pope John Paul Catholic School and Jill Gomez-Advanced Ed Leader-Brother Martin High School, Sisters of the Holy Family Congregational Leader Sr. Greta Jupiter, Sisters of the Holy Family Treasurer Sr. Alicia Costa, Advanced Ed Team Members Lakeisha Chambers-Southern University Lab/Baton Rouge; Teresa Billings-Holy Cross High School and Jason Hanks-St. Joseph Academy in Baton Rouge, president Sr. Clare of Assisi Pierre, SSF and assistant principal and Advanced Ed Coordinator Cheryl Ross Brown.
St. Mary’s Academy has been continuously accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for more than 50 years. Schools are reviewed every three to five years to maintain their accreditation. On Wednesday, March 15th, St. Mary’s Academy received its recommendation for continued accreditation from the Advanc-ED team.
Over the past year, dedicated faculty, staff, parents, students, and school constituents have been working on maintaining accreditation through Advanc-Ed, an international organization which ensures that all learners realize their full potential in the United States and 70 other countries.
Over three days, the Advanc-Ed external review team observed SMA, interviewed stakeholders, and reviewed evidence and artifacts provided by the school and studied them according to their “Standards for Quality.”
These Standards are “research-based, comprehensive quality statements” that describe conditions and factors that contribute to a quality educational experience and operational effectiveness. Advanc-Ed research confirms their beliefs that every school requires:
- stable governance, management, and leadership
- a coherent course of study
- a reliable system by which to assess students’ progress
- instructors who have a clear understanding of what they aim to teach, how, and why
- and access to the resources they need.
Special thanks are extended to assistant principal Cheryl Ross Brown who served as the Advanced Ed Coordinator at SMA. Kudos also to the Advanced Ed Review Team that consisted of Fran Taylor-Pope John Paul Catholic School; Jill Gomez-Advanced Ed Leader-Brother Martin High school; Lakeisha Chambers-Southern University Lab/Baton Rouge; Teresa Billings-Holy Cross High School and Jason Hanks-St. Joseph Academy in Baton Rouge.Read More
March 11, 2017
Students Walk the Red Carpet
St. Mary’s Academy presents its annual Red Carpet Awards on Wednesday, March 8 in Austin Gymnasium. One hundred-twenty middle and high school students were honored as Renaissance Stars for their excellent performance in the classroom.
The Renaissance Star program at SMA recognizes students for improvement in academic achievement, good attendance and extracurricular involvement. The program has four levels of achievement that students can attain that also include good behavior and no teacher referrals.
Honorees entered the gym via a red carpet and were each awarded Oscar-inspired trophies and gift cards.Read More
March 10, 2017
A Glimpse of the Past
On Friday, March 10, the students in Mrs. David’s class had an excursion that they will not soon forget. Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River, on the historic River Road in St. John the Baptist Parish is Whitney Plantation. The only plantation museum in Louisiana dedicated to understanding the facts of slavery, Whitney tells the story of slavery and the lives of the Haydel family.
Visitors can experience the world of an 1830’s sugar plantation through the eyes of the enslaved people who lived and worked here. During the 90-minute walking tour, the students gained a unique perspective on the lives of the enslaved people on the Louisiana sugar plantation, learning their stories through the real oral histories recorded by the Federal Writers’ Project during the Depression.
On the National Register of Historic Places, the site includes the last surviving example of a true French Creole Barn, what is believed to be the oldest detached kitchen in Louisiana, and the Big House, considered the earliest and best preserved raised Creole cottage in Louisiana, all built by slaves.
Through these restored buildings, museum exhibits, memorial artwork and thousands of first-person slave narratives, Whitney Plantation gives a voice and respect to the slaves, who lived, worked, and died here.
Christal Keller was born and raised in the 7th ward of New Orleans, Louisiana, a product of the Archdiocesan elementary school system. A graduate of the St. Mary’s Academy class of 1993, she finished in the top 10 of her class.
Following graduation from SMA, and after several major of study changes, Christal went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from the University of New Orleans in General Studies – Health Sciences in 2002. While earning her degree from the University of New Orleans, she began working for Walmart Pharmacy in June of 1998 as a stock associate. The Pharmacy Manager recognized her potential and work ethic and encouraged her to train for a Pharmacy Technician position. After studying and passing the test, Christal became a Licensed Certified Pharmacy Technician in January of 1999, remaining in that position for the next ten years.
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city, forcing Christal to evacuate to Baton Rouge. Fortunately, she was able to continue working as a Pharmacy Technician at one of the Baton Rouge Walmart stores. In 2006, knowing that she was not content to remain a Technician for the rest her career, Christal re-applied to Xavier University’s College of Pharmacy. Because she was deficient in some required science related courses, she was initially denied entrance and hence advised to return once these courses were completed. While still working as a Pharmacy Tech, Christal completed the appropriate study, reapplied for entrance into Xavier University’s College of Pharmacy program and was accepted in 2009.