It's About the Children
A Quick Note for Parents

***The information below pertains to middle school specifically. I'm sending this to all families in case others are interested in this news.***
Time Well Spent

As a principal, I’ve found it an important part of my role to ensure we are using the school day to the maximum benefit of our learners. 

At Holy Cross Academy, we are blessed with a full seven-hour school day (many schools have shorter academic days) with your children to provide them with an outstanding Catholic education. We will continually look at how that time is spent and how to maximize its use for their spiritual, academic, social, emotional and physical development. 

I’m excited about changes made to the middle school schedule this year that I feel will lead to a better experience for our students. 
Class Periods

This year, middle school classes Monday – Thursday will be 48 minutes in length. Friday classes will be 40 minutes each (the shorter Friday classes are due to adding Mass into our schedule). In the 2018-2019 school year, all classes were 43 minutes Monday – Friday. See the chart below to see how our students’ schedules are impacted by this change.
Daily Schedules
When students arrive in their homeroom classes on Monday, they will receive a copy of their individualized daily schedule from their homeroom teacher. Student schedules list where and when each class will take place.   
How Did We Get “Extra” Minutes?

Through discussions with middle school teachers this summer, I was able to identify four periods from the 2018-2019 schedule that we did not feel were optimal uses of our middle school students’ time. Removing intramurals, library, extra help, and encore from the schedule allowed us to pick up 172 minutes per week to use in other ways.  
Time for a Chart
What about recess? 

With the new schedule, middle school students pick up an additional five minutes per day for recess compared to last year.
Technology Time

While our students are short of their weekly Diocesan minutes in technology, I have no doubt they will far exceed those requirements through the course of the year. Our 7 th and 8 th grade teachers will use the computer lab, IPad cart, and Chromebook cart as needed throughout the year to give students the opportunity to demonstrate their learning using technology. Our sixth grade students will have plenty of technology exposure through the Chromebook initiative.   
What About Music?

The Diocese has allowed Holy Cross Academy and other schools to not schedule weekly music classes for middle school students as long as those students have the opportunity to participate in music programs. Holy Cross Academy middle school students have the option of participating in chorus, band, and strings, as well as our annual drama production.  
Passing Time

Transition time from class to class is factored into the middle school schedule this year. Last year, classes were scheduled back to back for 45 minutes each with no transition time. This made the actual time in class approximately 43 minutes for each period last year.  This year, two minutes of passing times is factored in for class changes. 

Beginning this school year, students in grades 6 – 8 may carry a backpack with them throughout the day to carry their necessary books and supplies. We encourage students to only carry what they need for their upcoming classes and not unnecessarily load down their backpacks.
Locker Visits

At the beginning of the school day, students go to their lockers to get the materials they need for the first three classes of the day. After third period, students visit their lockers to get materials for periods four and five as well as to get a snack they may want to enjoy before fourth period begins. The end of period five starts lunch and the students visit their locker following recess to secure their books for their final two classes.  

Students have the option of bringing a lock to secure their locker during and/or after the academic day ends. It is necessary for students to share the combination to their lock with their homeroom teacher. This gives back up for the student in the event that they forget their locker combination or if the child is absent and we need to get materials for them to send home.

We are excited about the Chromebook initiative for 6 th graders this year. A reminder that 7 th and 8 th graders are asked not to bring in Chromebooks or laptop computers during the school year. As we assess the Chromebook initiative throughout the year, we will make a determination regarding technology plans for the 2020-2021 school year.
Chromebook Meeting

As with any new program there are plenty of questions that go along with it, and we would welcome families who would like to learn more about the 6th grade Chromebook program to a meeting on Thursday, September 5 th at 7:00 p.m. in the school library.
Mission Statement

At Holy Cross Academy, we are guided by the spirit of Saint Francis de Sales as we dedicate ourselves to: 

  • Create an atmosphere of prayer and reliance on our heavenly Father;
  • Spread the message of Jesus in our families and our community by treating all persons with respect and showing reverence for the gift of God in each one;
  • Build up the Spirit-filled faith community within Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception Parish;
  • Serve those in need in our local community and in the Missions through an awareness of our global responsibility to all humanity;
  • Develop the whole child: spiritually, emotionally, academically and physically;
  • Promote academic excellence by challenging all our students to recognize their gifts and fulfill their God-given potential.
Holy Cross Academy
250 Stafford Lakes Parkway  
Fredericksburg, VA 22406
St. Mary Preschool
1009 Stafford Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401