Dear Duchesne Community,


As our year of courage and confidence continues, the sense of excitement and enthusiasm throughout campus is palpable! Duchesne Academy has kicked off 2019 with great momentum. In fact, the first week of the spring semester was one of the most exciting we've had on campus this year with several announcements and key events happening during the start of 2019. All are noted below.

New Schedule Beginning in Fall 2020

During a series of meetings with faculty, staff, students, parents, and the Board of Trustees, Duchesne announced that the school will be implementing a new six-term modular schedule beginning in fall 2020. This "mod" schedule will transform the way in which we educate girls, and it will allow Duchesne to lead the way in preparing 21st century learners for a lifetime of success. While other independent schools across the nation already utilize this model, Duchesne will be the first in the state of Texas to implement such a schedule. In Middle and Upper School, the schedule will shift from two semesters per school year to six terms per school year. Each term, or "mod," will be 29 or 30 days and students will take four to five courses during each mod. The Lower School will adopt an eight-day rotation for the specials in order to increase learning time in the homerooms. For a more thorough understanding of the new schedule and the reasons for our change, with supporting documents and data, visit We will also be hosting additional presentations for parents to learn more about the new schedule and ask questions. These meetings will be in the Theatre on Tuesday, February 19 at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, February 20 at 1 p.m. See a sample Upper School schedule below: 


Challenge Success

Recently, Duchesne was accepted into the Challenge Success program, a nationally recognized program, which is run out of Stanford University. Challenge Success was founded by Denise Pope, Ph.D., a senior lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, where she specializes in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods, and service learning. The year-long program will provide professional development for faculty and staff, while working with students and parents towards identifying and discussing specific topics of interest at the school. Denise Pope will be on campus February 12 to speak with our community and share more about the program.


Institute for Global and Social Awareness

Duchesne will also be launching the Institute for Global and Social Awareness in the fall of 2019. A founding director for this program will be hired this spring and the Institute will begin exploring opportunities for global experiences for the Upper School girls, including domestic and international travel rooted in academic exploration, service learning, and social awareness.

Turf Field

On the first day of second semester classes, Duchesne held the official Home Field Advantage groundbreaking ceremony to kick off construction of a new turf field. Jeremy Doyle, a Duchesne parent and Trustee, joined me at the podium to discuss the process that led Duchesne to build a turf field and to thank our supportive community for making it possible. We were joined by key campaign supporters donning hardhats and hoisting shovels to officially break ground on the project! The new field is expected to open in May before the close of the school year. It will serve our entire student body during physical education classes and allow all Charger athletes greater opportunities for training and practices. The new turf field will also give Duchesne a greater presence in the community with the ability to host all home games and visitor tournaments. Visit our athletics website to learn more and see images of the new turf field.


Cha Cha's Corner Opens on Campus

Following the ground breaking ceremony on our turf field, the excitement continued with a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open Cha Cha's Corner, a new coffee shop on campus. It has quickly become the new favorite gathering spot with dozens of girls (and faculty and staff and parents!) lining up each day to get a drink or snack. The menu includes coffee and tea drinks, as well as smoothies, hot breakfast items, and snacks. The shop is located next to the Spirit Store in what was a previously underutilized hallway. Now, the hallway area is lined with high top tables, chairs, and ambient lighting to provide an area for the community to gather, socialize, relax, and study while also giving a nod to Goal 6 - Food!☺


Continued Strategic Plan Progress

In addition to the major projects listed above, which all support the imperatives laid out in our Envision 2022 strategic plan, Duchesne is making great progress on other strategic initiatives. Our Upper School advisory system is evolving. Freshman groups are formed and each group is then assigned an advisor who is dedicated to the freshman experience and the freshman transition to high school. In 10th grade, each advisory group moves together and is assigned a new advisor who will then support them through graduation. Our Middle School advisory program continues to follow best practices, and we are also researching a Lower School advisory. Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) testing is being conducted in grades 2-8 t0 identify students' strengths and challenges so that teachers can individualize learning, and a third learning specialist will be hired allowing for the expansion of the learning support program in 2019-2020. In Upper School, faculty are piloting programs in the Harkness Method and Modeling Instruction pedagogy. In addition to current facilities projects, campus master planning will soon begin to identify how we can further develop our campus to meet the programmatic needs of our students. Overall health, wellness, and preparation for life is being implemented in numerous ways including new programming to enhance campus security, student engagement, and school spirit.

Courageously and confidently, our faculty and staff continue to educate young women for the present and to explore the growing needs of this generation of learners for the future. We are firmly committed to providing an education that transforms young girls into mature women who also will courageously and confidently pass on the spirit of Sacred Heart to others and in doing so, transform the world.


Thank you for your unwavering support of our mission, and may you and yours reap many blessings in the new year.


With a grateful heart,


Patricia Swenson

Head of School 


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© 2018 Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart


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