The staff at McNicholas High School has a highly personalized approach to education.
"We are focused on trying to help our kids develop good critical thinking skills that they can take out into the world," says Shannon Kapp, the school’s director of marketing and communications.
Therefore, this year they are implementing a schedule that includes an "Explore" period during which students are encouraged to learn a new skill. This may entail a student venturing out into the community to feeder schools to read or participate in community service activities. It may involve attending an assembly where they hear from a law enforcement officer or a rock-climbing enthusiast. For juniors and seniors, it may mean job shadowing professionals so that they can get an inside look at career paths that interest them.
"We have good alumni support to help with this, but we’ve also got people in the community who are not McNicholas alum who provide excellent programs," says Kapp. "The Explore period is a way for our students to personalize their education beyond a traditional classroom setting."
The weekly advisory groups, now in their third year, continue to be a success. Freshmen are placed in an advisory group with a teacher and remain in that group for the duration of their high school career. Teachers act as mentors for their students as they grow and develop throughout the four years.
The mission at McNicholas is to inspire young men and women through faith formation and academic excellence to become compassionate leaders and grow toward Full Stature in Christ.
"We are trying to help students think critically and develop leadership skills for the changing world through the lens of the Catholic faith," explains Kapp.
The staff is also focused on mental health and wellness, so this year they are working with the Hope Squad, a school-based, peer-to-peer suicide prevention program that includes prevention, intervention, and postvention components.
"We have our students in place who have gone through the training to be part of the peer-to-peer group," says Kapp. They also have begun establishing the MindPeace program so that students who need mental health services can get those services on campus.
"These days schools do a lot more than just provide a basic academic education to students," says Kapp. "We are very excited about these programs that help in the development of the whole student, the whole person."
Archbishop McNicholas High School is located at 6536 Beechmont Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45230. For more information, visit www.mcnhs.org.