Notre Dame Preparatory School Middle Level students enjoy a cycle of enrichment courses designed to celebrate and hone 21st-century learning. An innovative program, Innovate & Design Time (IDT), makes real for NDP’s youngest students subjects like Robotics, Engineering and Architecture, and Computer Coding & Digital Design.

All Middle Level students participate in these non-graded classes, which are planned to foster collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills. According to Mary Agnes Sheridan, NDP’s newly appointed Director of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math, or STEAM, these new courses awaken interest and true understanding of an ever-evolving world.

NDP Innovate and Design

“Women are breaking down barriers in the workforce at an encouraging rate and rebuilding something better and stronger in high-level positions in architecture and engineering, computer science, and security,” she says. “It’s our responsibility to prepare our students for a lifetime of success, and that is why these classes—especially in our younger grades—are so important.”

NDP Innovate and Design

During her time in NDP’s Middle Level, the student is exposed to a variety of non-graded, project-based classes that explore and celebrate STEAM while encouraging students to think creatively and collaboratively. Sixth graders take courses in Technology and Information Literacy, Digital Design, Logic & Games, and World Music. NDP seventh graders discover their inner CSI as they learn the art of Forensic Science, strive towards becoming the most buzzed about documentarist in Digital Communications, learn the language of computer science through Coding, and realize the importance of solid foundations in Engineering and Architecture. NDP eighth graders build and race mechanical marvels in Robotics class. They learn the power of 3D printing and extol the simple virtues of Handbells.

NDP Innovate and Design

The last IDT course for an eighth grader challenges the student to answer the question, “What do YOU bring to the table?” Through her Art Capstone project, each student undertakes an introspective exercise in which she presents a literal place setting depicting the figurative gifts she brings to the world table.

Katie Barger ‘23, reflected on her Art Capstone project saying, “I didn’t know it was a gift of mine until I was encouraged to share. I created a video and wrote poetry, and it just helped me understand that I have passion and talents that can help make the world a better place.”

NDP Innovate and Design

Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by Notre Dame Preparatory School. Images were provided by the school. To learn more about Notre Dame Preparatory School, visit their listing in our Independent School Directory