Empowering Girls in the Classroom
Extensive research informed our decision to adopt a cascading, rotating schedule with 55 minute class periods two years ago. Our previous instructional plan had included standard 42 minute periods on an unchanging daily cycle. The change has been beneficial for students and faculty allowing greater depth in content and variety in academic activities. Through a more flexible and productive classroom environment and more opportunities for interactive teaching methods, the block schedule supports student mastery and the retention of material.
Longer periods of time allow students to direct their own learning. Taking extra time to grapple with questions on their own and amongst their peers, students strengthen higher-order thinking skills. Engaging students in an extended “block” is not simply a matter of having more activities to fill the time. It requires an entirely new mindset and teaching paradigm that radically changes the role of the teacher, the student, and the curriculum. “Late-start Wednesdays” speak to our commitment to providing our faculty with consistent and meaningful professional development. This time encourages collaboration and cross-curricular planning, as well as the development of new methods of instruction.
Within the schedule, each core class meets five out of eight days in an A to H cycle. Religion courses and electives meet four times, and physical education classes meet twice in one cycle. Science courses are traditionally accompanied by an additional lab block to foster an environment of experiential learning.
Our school year is divided into two semesters. Rather than having our students return after Christmas break to a week of exams, they now have the opportunity to take part in our experiential WinterMission program, a week in which students across grade levels, led by faculty, engage in service, travel, and exploration developed around themes. Mid-year skill assessments are given in each core content area prior to the December holiday break, freeing students to enjoy the time with family and friends. Final examinations for all courses (except senior-level and Advanced Placement) occur the first week in June.
Community time is built in to accommodate daily Office Hours, Morning Meeting, Advisory & Clubs. On Mondays we gather in a Morning Meeting, on Tuesdays and Fridays students will meet in small Advisory groups, on Wednesdays we will have a late start for faculty planning and on Thursday we have clubs during community time.
Each student is assigned a faculty advisor and will join a group of 10-12 other students in advisory. They will meet twice a week as an added layer of support and guidance as they navigate their Nardin career. A life skills and mental health and wellness focus will be discussed through monthly themes.
There are 9 houses, made up of one advisory from Grades 9, 10, 11 and 12. Family members are placed in the same house. Gator Time competitions occur throughout the year with a Gator Cup prize awarded at the end.
Every day, our students engage in Nardin EXploratory Time (nEXt), our signature “X-block”. This time allows for eXploration, eXperiential learning, and making eXtraordinary connections with fellow classmates, faculty and local experts that challenge our girls to imagine what is possible...what is nEXt! A variety of opportunities are provided that not only align with our mission to inspire our students to do amazing things for the world, but ignite their inherent curiosity and develop their imagination in new ways.
P.E. Requirement for Athletes
Nardin athletes are able to opt-out of gym while in-season. Athletes will decide at the beginning of their season if they want to participate in Gym and if not, they will rejoin their class the day after their last game. Attendance at practice and games is mandatory for this privilege.
Office Hours will provide a guaranteed time for students to meet with teachers each day for a half hour after morning meeting, advisory or clubs.
Our WinterMission is a week-long experiential opportunity for our students in early January that is designed to more fully integrate the tenets of our Academy mission into our curriculum. WinterMission will occur January 3 - 11 and is not graded but is a graduation requirement. Click to view WinterMission brochure