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Who are we?
Sacred Heart Academy is a Catholic school for young women, founded in the Franciscan tradition in 1877. Our 425 students come from 30 school districts, are graduates of more than 50 middle and elementary schools, and represent 13 faith traditions. In the Class of 2025, 37% of the students are from public schools, 12% have a sister who also attends SHA, and 18% have a mother, sister or grandmother who is a SHA alumna. We embrace a philosophy of welcome and inclusion.
How does Sacred Heart perform academically?
Most recently ranked the #1 high school overall in Western New York (out of 132) by Business First (2019-20). Our rigorous college preparatory curriculum includes the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program, 16 Advanced Placement and college courses, in addition to Regents and Honors classes. Eighty-three percent (83.9%) of the AP exams taken in 2021 received a score of 3 or higher compared to a NYS average of 59.5%. We offer three languages other than English: Latin, French and Spanish, and a wide range of electives in technology, music, art, and dance. Our already robust academic offerings are enhanced by our online partner, One Schoolhouse (formerly Online School for Girls) opening up another 10-15 advanced and AP courses for our girls. Our faculty and staff include four teachers with their doctorates, two lawyers, one engineer, eleven SHA alumnae, and three religious Sisters.
What is the academic profile of the Class of 2021?
The 109 members of the Class of 2021 were awarded more than $37 million in scholarships and awards to some of the top colleges and universities across the country. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the class graduated with Advanced Designation Regents Diplomas. This is the highest Advanced Designation Regents Diploma rate in WNY. Additionally, in the Class of 2020, there was one National Merit Finalist, one National Merit Commended Student, 15 AP Scholars, 12 AP Scholars with Honors and 29 AP Scholars with Distinction. See Senior Class Profile for additional information and a listing of accepted colleges and universities.
My daughter may need some extra help to do well in high school. Is there a place for her at SHA?
At SHA, we embrace a growth mindset and welcome a broad range of academic students with the goal of helping them to achieve their full potential. With hard work and teacher support, a student will meet the academic rigor of our program and her goals. Extended Math (in Algebra, Geometry and Algebra II) and English Enrichment (in Literature Survey I and II) provide more instructional time for students to master material. Teachers are available after school for additional help.
How does SHA incorporate technology in the classroom?
Our 1:1 iPad program supports technological literacy and active classroom learning. Whether it is a virtual dig in Ancient Greece, a walking tour of the Louvre, access to the Space Station or a performance at the Globe Theatre, our technology is bringing the world into our classrooms. In addition, each classroom is equipped with hardware and software to support state-of-the-art teaching and learning. When appropriate, teachers incorporate flipped lessons and educational applications to enhance assesments, presentations and joy in learning.
How do you balance class time with opportunities for learning outside of the classroom?
We have six commonly used alternate schedules that allow us to invite speakers, have student-led assemblies, celebrate Mass, gather in community, and continue our learning outside of the classroom. From Career Day to our annual Day of SHAring, our school community embraces different opportunities to learn. We also use our school breaks for experiential travel and learning. Whether it is our juniors exploring our history and government in Boston, the Marine Science class traveling to a field station in the Bahamas to conduct marine research over February break or our girls traveling to Zambia over the summer and meeting with the U.S. Ambassador, many of our “teaching moments” happen outside of the classroom.
What recent capital improvements have been made to your historic building?
SHA’s physical structure is the best of both worlds. Respectful of our 2014 historic designation, our building renovations include a fresh, welcoming look and upgrade to our dining hall, food preparation and service areas; the Collaboratory, a state-of-the-art computer and engineering lab; and our SHA History Museum to honor the Sisters of St. Francis and to commemorate SHA’s 140th anniversary. In addition, we opened our Athletic Center in 2014 which features a gymnasium, fitness center, dance studio, school store and locker rooms. In 2015, we unveiled our student art gallery and bridge to the new Athletic Center.
How does SHA meet the wellness needs of students?
Your daughter’s health and wellness are important to us. We nourish her spirit, mind and body and help her to cultivate lifelong healthful habits. From courses in social emotional learning to units in healthy relationships (in its 8th year) and mindfulness (in its 6th year), we nurture your daughter’s sense of identity and well-being. Our wellness team includes two full-time school counselors, a social worker, and a school nurse. Clubs like Be-YOU-tiful, Manifestation and Donate Life that promote self-love and acts of kindness help to set a culture of confidence and healthy balance. True to our Franciscan heritage, we strive to be an inclusive, welcoming and joy-filled community where all members thrive. We celebrate our diversity as a gift and strength of our institution and acknowledge that our students’ education is incomplete if they have not learned to appreciate that we are a stronger, richer and far more interesting community because of our diversity. SHA girls support one another and work collaboratively in the classroom, on the field and on stage.
How do you provide students with the tools to lead?
At SHA, every student council officer, sports team captain, retreat team leader and club president is a girl. Role models abound. Our well-established four-year leadership curriculum gives SHA students the knowledge and skills necessary to be a competent and ethical leader, ready to make her mark on her community and her world. Our Leadership Program helps girls hone core competencies through classroom learning, oral presentations, interviews, and senior projects. Leadership skills are also developed through our Footprints Service Program which allows girls to use their unique gifts to make our community better. Last year, SHA girls completed over 22,000 hours of service. Girls also have the opportunity to showcase their leadership skills in the world of business through our M&T Women in Leadership and Business Program.
What opportunities do you provide in the arts for your students?
Our girls can choose among electives in art, music, dance, and theatre. SHA’s Music Department enters the following (for chorus, band, and orchestra): ECMEA (All County) and NYSSMA (All State), and each year SHA students are selected to perform as members of the ECMEA All County and NYSSMA Area All State ensembles. Additionally, each year SHA produces a fall musical and a spring drama and holds a Coffee House performance night. We also take a group to NYSTEA each year for its three-day theatre workshop led by Broadway professionals. Students and ensembles perform throughout WNY during the holidays and in the spring. Art students submit work to local shows as well as art contests and display their work in our beautiful Student Gallery.
How can my daughter participate in a sport?
SHA maintains a high-quality Athletics Department with competitive sports teams, and a physical education program designed to promote personal fitness and wellness. Fourteen sports are offered at the interscholastic level along with two club sports. SHA has a rich history of championship teams. In the past few years, our student athletes have participated in state competitions in cross country, basketball, swimming, golf, and track and field.
What clubs are offered after school?
We offer more than 25 academic, social, athletic and service clubs including: Science Olympiad, Manifestation, Pathos Writing Club, Debate, Mathletes, Mock Trial, Rocketry, Glee, Sign Language, Diversity, Current Events, Coding, DIY, Donate Life, BookTok and Ski Club (sponsored by St. Joe’s), to name a few. New clubs are regularly initiated by students as they explore their interests and develop their leadership skills.