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Online learning is nothing new for Saint Mary's School.

Saint Mary's plans to operate fully in-person for the 2021-2022 school year with no virtual option offered.

In the event that the school would need to pivot to virtual learning, whether for the pandemic or inclement weather, Saint Mary's is prepared.

Committed to providing girls with a challenging and comprehensive educational experience, Saint Mary's has long employed technology to ensure learning continues through hurricanes, snow storms, and other mitigating circumstances. In the event the campus may close for a variety of possible reasons, learning continues.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Saint Mary's re-imagined the possibilities inherent in its innovative, 21st-century academic program to expand its online learning experience for the longer term. 

With a growth-based approach at its center, online learning, like all Saint Mary’s programming, is designed specifically for girls and offers myriad opportunities for collaborative and student-driven learning – key competencies that leverage the strength of girls.

While the experiences may look different in a distance-learning space, the design goals are the same: build 21st-century competencies, maintain connectivity, engage girls in their own learning, deepen learning, and minimize stress with an assessment model designed to assess an individual student’s growth and success. 

Knowing the importance of maintaining connections within a school community, Saint Mary’s  intentionally builds opportunities for students to connect with teachers outside of class time and with one another into its virtual-learning design. Whether it was an online assembly with the student body, a virtual chapel, a sip-n-chat session with the school nurse, a weekly dorm night on Zoom, or a meeting of a Student Share group – virtual learning at Saint Mary's is designed to ensure every girl is learning, growing, and supported in a virtual world.

Contact Us

Debra Townsley
Interim Assistant Head of School for Student Experience
dtownsley@sms.edu

Morgan Phillips 
Director of College Counseling
mphillips@sms.edu

Technology Help Desk
919-424-4004
helpdesk@sms.edu

THE VIRTUAL PROGRAM

Student Guidelines  |  Advisor Guidelines

More virtual learning information available on the student information page accessed through the Student Portal.

Virtual Learning News

Diplomas conferred upon Class of 2020 May 17

Saint Mary’s graduating seniors of the Class of 2020 had diplomas conferred May 17, 10:30 a.m., in a video senior recognition ceremony during which they were declared graduates and instructed to turn their Saint Mary’s rings with the seal pointing out towards the world they are entering.

A virtual commencement ceremony was presented July 24 with special commencement awards, speeches, the dropping of the handkerchief to close the year, and the recognition of each senior.

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Senior spring athletes honored with virtual Senior Night

With the 2019-2020 school year winding down, we honor and celebrate our spring senior athletes on Saint Mary’s varsity lacrosse, soccer, softball, and track and field teams with a virtual Senior Night tribute at the end of a season cut dramatically short due to the COVID-19 situation. The 2020 spring season that barely was could be summed up as the thrill of victory followed by the agony of incomplete.

While there was great disappoint for the abrupt and unexpected cessation of the season after our teams came out of the gates strong and ready to compete, there is still much to celebrate about the accomplishments of our seniors over the past four years including exciting wins, strengthening of team traditions and programs, team bonds and friendships, personal bests, and even individual conference championships.

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Dance Class Virtual

If I had a nickel for every time that someone in the last month has asked me, “How are you teaching chorus online?”, well… I’d have LOTS of nickels. My response has varied from an indignant “Of course, I do!” to a kinder, “It’s different, but we are still singing and sharing music every day. Why wouldn’t we?” I got the giggles in a recent Zoom meeting with Director of Dance Ms. Yount and some others last week when a friend said, “How are you, Lisa?  Are y’all still dancing?”  Ms. Yount backed up so the camera captured her entire living room with every piece of furniture pushed to the walls and stacks of CDs next to an 80’s boom box. Yes! The dance goes on!

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Ninth grade seminar innovation track concludes with Shark Tank pitches

The 2019-2020 9th grade Seminar program wrapped up its innovation track with virtual Shark Tank style pitches to potential investors April 23. The students, working in teams, observed real-life situations to create products and business plans to provide solutions to problems, situations, and challenges – large and small. Through the project, students learned about collaboration, observation, idea generation opportunity analysis, market research, prototyping, and pitching. Due to the distance learning situation, the student entrepreneurs collaborated and made their pitches to the faculty and staff sharks via the online platforms, Microsoft Teams and Google docs.

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The arts at Saint Mary's in the age of virtual learning

In the age of COVID-19 and distance learning, arts education may be among the most challenging disciplines to teach online. The performing arts typically involve lengthy in-person collaboration and rehearsals working closely together toward live performance with real-time reaction from an audience. The creation of visual art benefits from the hands-on interaction between teacher and student with all the resources of the studio. True to their creative and resilient nature, Saint Mary’s Visual and Performing Arts faculty and students are rising to the meet the challenge with innovative projects and strategies to continue their work in meaningful ways.

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