In June 1968, the Sisters of Immaculate Heart withdrew from Immaculate Heart of Mary School (IHMS). At the invitation of the pastor, Monsignor John O’Donnell, the Religious Sisters of Charity took over the administration of the school in September 1968 and guided the academic and spiritual growth of its students until 2008. As the parish grew, the original school was replaced by a larger building in 1956. The school was originally a first to eighth grade school. In 1992 a kindergarten was added, which necessitated the addition of a modular building to accommodate the extra students. A Library/Resource room was also added, allowing space for growth addressing the technical needs of the school. After the tragedy of 9/11, a Garden of Peace was created in the front of the school to memorialize those who lost their lives on that day. The student ecology team and Student Council continue to maintain the garden and, through their efforts and those of the faculty, it has grown to include a memorial to those members of our own school community whom we have lost. In January 2014, the school opened a Transitional Kindergarten room for four year olds. In the summer of 2015, the Shea Foundation helped renovate our resource lab and housed it with new computers.
In 2008, the R.S.C. withdrew from the administration of Immaculate Heart of Mary. The current administrator, Allyson Alberto, is a layperson. Both she and the lay staff of IHMS remain committed to the beliefs and philosophies instilled by the R.S.C. The love of Christ urges us spiritually, emotionally, and academically.
Within the past several years, the school has opened its doors to more children with special needs. We have implemented the Support Team Education Plan (S.T.E.P.). A STEP Coordinator provides testing and evaluation of students with special needs, as well as assistance to the classroom teacher in putting into place a combination of modifications and accommodations based on the individual needs of the students. By developing an inclusion program within the school, additional students in our school community may be served.
Living in a technological age, we, too, must keep up with the times. Thanks to the Shea Foundation, we have replaced the chalkboards in each classroom with whiteboards, short-throw projectors, iPads, and Apple TV’s. To enable students to be active learners and productive members of society, we have implemented the use of more technology within our curriculum to facilitate individual learning styles through media and technology, such as PowerPoint presentations, videos, websites, and blogs. Two interactive panaboards have also been purchased to enhance the learning in classrooms. The students have been able to become more innovative, active, and creative individuals and are able to apply their skills into today’s technologically advanced society.
The future of learning is about access and sustainability with the aid of improved technology. Thanks to the graciousness of the Archdiocese, Immaculate Heart of Mary has taken the next step and moved into a new stage of learning. We have moved into interactive learning, specifically Blended Learning. Blended learning is a student-centered structure, in which students are working in centers (2 to 1) with technology as a tool to differentiate instruction. With devices for each child, rewiring of the school internet, computer adaptive programs, and extensive professional development for teachers, the students have grown tremendously in one year.
For many years, IHMS has nurtured and cherished many rich traditions. Fostering a sense of community has always been valued at IHMS. Every class participates in Family Nights once a year, in which the family and friends of each student in each grade celebrate a prayer service with one another, as well as partake in a community dinner. Each class is also in charge of Family Fun Days, in which the entire church and parish community can come together to pray, worship, and eat.
Celebrating Mass together as a school has been a long-standing tradition in our community. The students, faculty, and staff come together to celebrate the Liturgy and Eucharist at Mass once a week (in which faculty and grade levels take turns in planning). Prayer services are also planned by various grade levels during holy days, such as Immaculate Conception, Rosary Month, Triduum, and Easter.
Performing Arts is also highly valued at IHMS, in which all the grades participate in school plays: Christmas Pageant, Passion Play, and Spring Play. Drama, visual art, and music are taught and cultivated at IHMS, as we understand the value of sharing our many talents with others.
IHMS continues to aim high as it prepares our youth for leadership, academic excellence, and the passion to be Christian stewards. The school’s lofty goals, born over 90 years ago, still provide inspiration and identity to the entire IHMS community.
Ms. Allyson Alberto
1055 N Alexandria Ave.