New courses, logos, laptops, teachers at Catholic highs


Students are discovering the following new aspects to their days at Catholic high schools in the diocese this year.

St. Mark’s High School in Wilmington is moving its newspaper entirely online. The subject matter will not change, but the student staff plans to add videos and slideshows.

The Spartans also feature a revamped sports logo for 2011-12. The new look was designed by Rick Brozek, a 1978 alumnus.

For the first time, St. Thomas More Preparatory School in Magnolia will have a teacher who once sat in the classrooms. Sara Spencer Passon, who graduated in 2001, has joined the faculty, the first grad to come back as a teacher.

Father James Lentini, St. Thomas More’s interim principal, has known Passon since her days as a student at Holy Cross School in Dover. “You can understand why hiring her marks a very special moment for the Catholic community of Kent County.”

Passon, who will teach social sciences, also taught at Holy Cross, and she worked at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown.

Students at Archmere Academy in Claymont have received a laptop this year as the educational landscape continues to change. MacBook Pro computers were distributed Aug. 25 and 26; they will be used in classrooms and at home as the faculty is restructuring the curriculum to incorporate more technology, e-book options and software programs, the school said.

Also, a new technology center and audiovisual studio have been completed at St. Norbert Hall. The construction was funded in part by a gift from the recently graduated Class of 2011. The center will provide space to troubleshoot the new computers, and produce video projects and announcements. It also will include a student lounge area. Photos of the construction progress are available on the school website.

Students may not notice, but there is a new roof over their heads at St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington. The entrance has been renovated, with a new ceramic tile floor. Also, the media center has a new AV presentation section with a projection screen.

Padua Academy students will have access this year to new communication arts courses, including multimedia journalism and television broadcasting and production. The fourth-floor foods lab has been converted into a journalism workshop, and there is a new television studio on the lower level. Students at the Wilmington school will create an online newspaper and a weekly TV show.

There were many physical changes over the summer at Ursuline Academy in Wilmington, beginning with new parking lots and sidewalks, re-pointing and new stucco on the buildings, and the installation of a camera monitoring system. A new stage and curtains were installed in the auditorium, and the floors and walls were refinished.

Students at all levels at Ursuline will have new schedules this year. This will accommodate community time and a morning meeting in the lower school. Also, each month, a different class in the lower school will initiate and execute a service project. In the middle school, the schedule will allow teachers to teach collaboratively by visiting each other’s classrooms. Students in the upper school will have rotating classes, clubs during lunchtime, longer classes and a morning break.