The Transforming Freedom and Liberating Education of Notre Dame Academy


Notre Dame Academy is a school with an interesting dynamic within its walls. While Many schools have carefully structure days for the students to follow, Notre Dame allows its students to have freedom within their day. The purpose of free time within the school day is twofold: to allow students the opportunity to complete assignments, and for them to learn how to manage their time wisely. 

The time spent while at  Notre Dame Academy molds young girls into transforming women of leadership-women who are strong, capable, and intelligent. Part of this process is a balanced amount of freedom and guidance. The former is given in the form of study periods and the latter is evident by the attentiveness and kindness of NDA’s teachers and counselors.

The culture of independence at Notre Dame is one that is often misunderstood. The idea of providing free time is to allow students to grow into mature women. Women capable of commanding their time, and doing what needs to be done without explicit direction. . Perri Ribaudo, a junior at Notre Dame, said,  “To me, studies are so helpful and efficient. Not only am I allowed to break the pace of the day, but I am able to complete tasks and stay on top of my work. It is nice to have some freedom and independence in the middle of a rigorous day of work.”  This environment parallels college environments, therefore instilling in students, very early on, an approach that will be useful in college. Study periods are a pocket of time in which the day belongs to the student. She can study for a test or catch up on assignments. A peaceful moment to herself in between the academically challenging and enriching courses.

Guidance classes are something highly valued in Nore Academy. Cassie Weir, a junior, said, “While talking about your future can be a scary topic and overwhelming for people, I think our guidance counselors offer us all the support we need and make us feel comfortable about talking about our futures. I never feel as though I am too overwhelmed in guidance because I am constantly being reassured by my teachers and classmates.”

    Beginning in freshman year guidance not only assists students with the transition to high school, but it is also a class to help you make friends, all while understanding how to navigate the newfound high school experience. It is something of a blessing, to have a class each week, in which students can get advice on how to stay on top of her coursework, all while understanding the value of joining clubs and encouraging a balance of work and life. Sophomore year offers students resources to understand social challenges and school challenges, while at the same time, still remaining as a safe space to grow. Junior and Senior guidance classes end in the culmination of the college process, where counselors help students develop their resumes, ask for letters of recommendation, and sign up for standardized exams. The nurturing nature of Notre Dame Academy manifests itself in the accomplishments of the women who attend as they go on to do amazing things and become amazing people.