International Baccalaureate Program
STEM Honors Program
Following a year-long process, Sacred Heart Academy has been designated an IB World School and becomes the only private high school in the Greater Buffalo area to offer this exceptional opportunity! The IB Diploma Program’s rigorous and comprehensive two-year curriculum for juniors and seniors will launch in September 2021. The IB Diploma Program is commonly recognized as the gold standard of high school curricula. The global perspective at the core of the IB curriculum is more relevant than ever and completely aligns with SHA’s mission and vision of empowering young women with excellence in education that prepares them to make a positive impact on the world.
Harvard University has said the following regarding the IB Diploma Program: “Success in an IB Program correlates well with success at Harvard. We are always pleased to see the credentials of the IB Diploma Program on the transcript.” Closer to home, an IB Diploma can result in sophomore standing and/or up to 30 college credits at institutions like Canisius College and the University at Buffalo.
Developed over 50 years ago, the IB curriculum is accepted and respected the world over. IB Diploma Candidates will take six IB courses their junior and senior years, along with a two-year course in Theory of Knowledge. Additionally, each diploma candidate must complete and reflect on creativity, activity and service hours as well as complete a 4,000-word research paper. The breadth and depth of this well-established curriculum will prepare students exceptionally well for the rigor and independence of college.
The authorization and verification process to obtain IB Designation was extensive and involved a team of teachers, administrators and board members, all of whom have made this our designation as a IB World School possible. Steps to prepare for the designation included professional development, written course outlines, policy development, and a verification visit from IB. During the visit, the IB representatives expressed how impressed they were with Sacred Heart generally and more particularly with the team that was assembled to explore and implement the program.
Frequently Asked Questions about the IB Program
Students are identified mid-way through their ninth grade year to double accelerate in math and science through summer coursework. Participating students spend four weeks during each summer to study or explore disciplines in STEM. Girls who complete the program typically have four or five AP courses in math and science which can include AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, AP Computer Science Principles, AP Chemistry, AP Biology and AP Physics. As a result of this program, we have more graduates studying engineering and other disciplines in which women are underrepresented.
Click here to learn more about our STEM Honors ProgramInnovation in Our Collaboratory
The Collaboratory, introduced in the fall of 2016, is an experimental, flexible space where our strong science, technology, engineering, math and art curricula intersect with real life application and creative ingenuity. This space is equipped with 3D printers, a laser cutter, computers, scanner, microcontrollers, robotics kits, soldering tools, motors, circuitry, experimentation kits, digital cameras, larger format printer, and an interactive projection device. Course offerings in this space include Introduction to Engineering, 3D Design and Animation, Stained Glass, AP Computer Science Principles and iPad Photography. The space is also home to our Rocketry and Science Olympiad Teams.
Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Internship Program gives seniors the opportunity to observe and work with professionals in a field of their interest. Students spend three afternoons per week, or the equivalent, at the workplace. This experience is complemented by one class period per week to address workplace issues and career development.
Students have interned in a wide range of fields for a host of different organizations and professionals. These include Kenmore Mercy Hospital (Pharmacy), Canisius College Athletic Department, Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Immunology, Public Relations, Pharmacy), Town of Amherst Department of Engineering, Niagara Falls Aquarium, Hauptman Woodward, Amherst Middle School, the University at Buffalo Department of Admissions, Daybreak Productions, Estee Lauder, and several law and dental offices.
Critical Thinking and Growth Mindset
How do you educate girls for jobs and careers that likely do not even exist in today's world? Experts tell us that over 50% of the jobs opening ten years from now are in careers and fields that have yet to emerge. We know that thinking critically, knowing the power of collaboration, and embracing a growth mindset are essential to these opportunities. For this reason, we teach critical thinking skills to all our sophomores. Each year we select a timely and multi-faceted subject of interest and dive into its complexity, helping to develop girls’ problem solving, analytic and research skills through collaborative and innovative instruction. Past topics have included social media, genetically altered foods and voting rights.Leadership Studies and Capstone Project
At Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, we are committed to graduating young women with leadership skills that will prepare them to change the world for good. This commitment spans their four years at the Academy and culminates with a Leadership Capstone Project. One such project, Locks for Lyons, was a cancer awareness and hair donation drive that culminated in over half of the school donating six or more inches of hair for chemotherapy patients. Leadership Studies Program
Knowing that junior year is busy and can be demanding for our students, we have introduced a weekly mindfulness course partnering with area professionals. Girls learn about the neuroscience behind the effectiveness of meditation and are introduced to various meditation practices including breathing exercises, yoga, body scans and studies in compassion. We all know that high school can be an amazing four years- with mindfulness training, our girls are “present” to experience it.
M&T Bank Women in Leadership & Business Academy
This program provides students with the skills and knowledge to create and manage a real business and will receive a certificate in Leadership & Business upon their graduation from SHA. Interested students take Entrepreneurship, Accounting, and Practical Law classes as well as receive an internship placement and participate in ten seminars in the summer. Entrepreneurship is taught by a local entrepreneur and takes students through the process of creating a business from concept to launch. Students then present their prototypes or business plans at a regional Shark Tank-like pitch competition to real investors. Students are also encouraged to participate in the DECA Club. This new program was made possible by the generous support of M&T Bank. Learn more here.
Global Citizenship and International Learning Opportunities
We live in a global reality and feel strongly that opportunities for girls to create their world view should be supported by world experiences. Each year, approximately 75 students avail themselves of an international learning opportunity. Opportunities vary each summer, but have included cultural tours of Italy, the British Isles, Portugal, Spain, France, Costa Rica, Central Europe, New Zealand and Australia. We also offer mission-based service and immersion trips to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Zambia, plus a research and field experience trip to the Bahamas. Additionally, our students have participated in the UB Confucius Institute China Immersion Trip and the Young Life El Salvador Mission Trip (led by one of our faculty members). Our student body is enriched each year through German students who are here for a semester as part of the Buffalo-Dortmund Sister City Student Exchange Program.International OpportunitiesExtended Courses
We are committed to meeting our students exactly where they are and providing the supports to help them succeed. Our extended courses in all Regents math and English 9 and 10 courses offer additional instructional time and small class sizes to support appropriately paced and individualized instruction. This model allows our teachers time to ensure comprehension and has been highly successful. In the Class of 2019, 97% of students graduated with the enhanced Advanced Designation Regents Diploma. This is the highest rate for this diploma in all of Western New York!Community Service
The Gospel of Jesus Christ and the example of St. Francis of Assisi call us to serve the needs of the community. Through our Footprints Service Program, students provide community service, reflect upon their experiences, and understand the ministry of service in their own lives. A third of our students volunteer more than 50 hours each year. Each year, the entire SHA community participates in a Day of Sharing, with over 700 volunteers performing 4,200 hours at 70 sites. Day of SHAring
A perennial favorite showcasing our commitment to our Franciscan tradition, the Day of SHAring engages the entire community-students, faculty, parents, alumnae and friends- in a day of service amounting to over 4,200 volunteer hours at over 70 sites throughout Western New York. The day starts with a prayer service before we disperse throughout the community. Every year we are amazed by what can be accomplished by the SHA community dedicated to making a positive impact. Many girls are moved to continue their volunteerism at the site they visit on their Day of SHAring.Shakespeare in Residence
We are fortunate to have Shakespeare in Delaware Park (SDP) in Residence. Members of SDP are available to work with our students in English and theatre classes. We have also had members of SDP work with our student actors on theatre arts, such as monologues and combat choreography.Reading to the Dogs: An Experiment in Fluency in Reading
Faculty member Dr. Karen Szalach is an expert in the Reading to the Dogs program and is innovating and adapting this national program to support a high school curriculum. This program is based upon research that supports the conclusion that apprehensive readers are more calm, fluent and retain more when they read aloud in the presence of a therapy animal. Piloted in the Spring of 2017, Dr. Szalach has seen subtle improvements in reading fluency and comprehension with our students involved in this program. Charlie and Angel, our two therapy dogs, are a huge hit with all our students.Robust Educational Technology
Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart has a robust academic technology program designed to prepare our students to become women who possess the analytical skills to evaluate, question and contribute to the global body of information; and who have the ethical and spiritual foundation to use these tools and this information to contribute to the good of the local and global community. To achieve this goal we have an online Learning Management System, Smart Boards in every classroom, a 1:1 student iPad program, laptops available for science lab work, networked computer labs, and online textbooks, notetaking and study apps. Naviance and College Counseling Seminar
As a college preparatory high school with 100% college placement, we are committed to assisting girls in finding the right college or university to continue their learning and pursue their career and professional goals. This exploration begins freshman year and culminates in Senior Seminar. Students utilize Naviance as a tool to explore interests, personality types, careers, majors and possible colleges and universities. We know each family's budget and college goals are different and our counseling department is here to help your daughter navigate this exciting path of opportunity. We are thrilled to report that the Class of 2019 was awarded more than $31.5 million dollars in scholarships and grants!World and Classical Languages
Students choose among four languages to study: Spanish, French, Latin and Mandarin, and can earn college credit in each of these languages through our partnerships with the Online School for Girls and Niagara University. As one of the inaugural partners with UB's Confucius Institute, Sacred Heart has welcomed instructors from China since 2011. We also offer a popular club, American Sign Language. Our languages are taught in our newest wing (2012) converted from convent space into state of the art classrooms.