Innovative In Every Way

Committed To Setting New Standards For Exceptional Education.

NDA is keeping on track by continually evaluating the latest trends in education and discerning what would support our students/Staff and families in the best way possible. The following are 5 of the top educational trends for 2019 (as per Teach Thought) that NDA has adopted and implemented.

1. “Growth Mindset” (Dweck)

Growth mindset is a tool for student learning and improvement. Students are taught to believe they can improve.

  • NDA teachers model growth mindset thinking and support students to use this thinking. By restructuring sentence frames and vocabulary, students learn to place emphasis on effort, not performance. Instead of saying “I’m not good at this.”, students are encouraged to think, “What am I missing?”
  • NDA is moving towards Standards Referenced grading (already in place in K -1), which supports student mastery. Moving the focus from “It’s good enough” to “I can always improve” or from “How do I get an ‘A’” to “How can I master this skill”.
  • Eureka!, our primary math resource, is an application-based program so the Growth mindset skill of persevering (making sense of problems and solving them) is critical. From: “This problem is too hard” to This problem is going to take some time”
2. Maker Learning (Project-Based Learning)

We empower our students to be creators. Our teachers provide opportunities to solve real-world problems by collaborating with their peers and using their critical thinking skills. Emphasis is placed on what is learned along the educational journey – not just on the final result. Project-based learning also allows our students a more personal choice in their education.

STEAM Classes/EXPO: Project-Based Learning

8th Grade: Student teams create a Rube Goldberg based machine, or contraption or invention or device or apparatus that uses a chain reaction to accomplish a very simple task in a very complicated manner.
7th Grade: Using scientific theory/methodology: create/develop solutions to worldwide dilemmas - Science Fair

STEAM Makers Festival

NDA students join 100+ student teams to participate in the STEAM Makers Challenge Event. Students collaborate their bright ideas to DESIGN and BUILD original inventions, as well as provide an environment for creative thoughts to flourish.

ART Curriculum

God’s Garden, 8th grade make masks, 3-d robots, and more.


Grade levels compose their own songs.


Our science resources (Amplify and Foss) support “a transformational approach to teaching and learning that attends to the real and relevant needs of learners and humans. It is an approach that positions agency and student interest at the center, asking students to become more aware of the design of the world around them, and begin to see themselves as people who can tinker, hack and improve that design.” Amplify is also project-based learning but with the addition of phenomena-based problems.

Hour of Code Week

NDA students, PS -8th grade participate in the Hour of Code. It is a global movement introducing tens of millions of students worldwide to computer science, inspiring kids to learn more, breaking stereotypes, and leaving them feeling empowered.

3. Digital Citizenship/Literacy

We are educating our students to be Digital Saints, who are aware of their own digital footprint, respect the footprint of others and be award of the content in their cyber community – not only in Digital Media class but across all content areas.

Addressing Cyberbullying:

What to do if we see it, how to prevent it, etc. We acted out different scenarios, sort of have restorative circles about our experiences, etc.

4. Personalized Learning

Personalized learning is intended to facilitate the academic success of each student by first determining the learning needs, interests, and aspirations of individual students, and then providing learning experiences that are customized—to a greater or lesser extent—for each student.

  • We continually evaluate, develop, design, and source resources that best meet the needs of our current students. This year, in response to our student’s needs, we adopted new resources in Math (Eureka!), Science (Amplify), ELA (Lucy Calkins) and religion (Loyola Press).
  • We use evidence-based resources and instructional strategies to support our instruction and assessment. Some of the assessments we use include:
    • Fountes Pinnel: reading comprehension
    • STAR Renaissance testing as a diagnostic tool in Math and ELA
    • Writing on demand: to assess mastery of writing strategies
    • Formative assessments so the teacher can adjust and improve teaching strategies based on the students’ proficiency.
    • We continually evaluate, develop, design, and source resources that best meet the needs of our current students. This year, in response to our student’s needs, we adopted new resources in Math (Eureka!), Science (Amplify), ELA (Lucy Calkins) and religion (Loyola Press).
  • Teachers meet with students individually, and in small groups, to support them in areas of improvement, and to push them where they can grow.
  • We give our students a voice in their learning process by letting them choose from 10-12 co-curricular options. Our co-curriculars are not grade based, but are experience-based. Some current choices include: Make a million in the Stockmarket, Crochet, Basketball, Volleyball, Rosary Club, Reading Workshop, and Homework Club. Project-based learning also allows our students a more personal choice in their education.
5. Social/Emotional Learning

The foundation of NDA’s educational philosophy is rooted in social/emotional learning. We teach the whole child by integrating our Catholic identity in all facets of the students’ day – both in the classroom and on the playground.

  • Daily Morning assembly with a focus on our Virtue of the month.
  • Prayer before class
  • Religion classes
  • Weekly Mass
  • Character Education curriculum
  • Faith-In-Action community service program K-8th
  • Student Buddies (Middle school students’ mentor younger students)
  • PALS: Student Peace Ambassadors
  • Restorative Justice Practices
  • Monthly recognition of our Christian Witnesses
Kind Words About Us
  • NDA Is Committed To Developing A Well-Rounded, Highly Conscientious And Compassionate Individual...
    "We knew NDA was the school for our daughter when seeing the Sisters interact with the children. Their love and commitment is evident and irrefutable. We love the combination of an academic and a faith focused environment. This loving combination is unmatched. I would tell my friends that NDA is committed to developing a well-rounded, highly conscientious and compassionate individual. The loving staff is focused on developing wonderful human beings."
    Monica & Justin P. – Parents,
  • A Strong Moral Foundation For Our Kids...
    "At NDA, we sincerely feel we are part of a larger family! In addition to the Catholic education with the lovely Sisters that help create a strong moral foundation for our kids, we love that the teachers and staff care about not only educating our kids scholastically, but are also sincerely intent on motivating our kids to be the best version of themselves in a variety of important ways, such as socially and benevolently."
    G.G. B. – Parent,
  • NDA Is Not Just A School, It’s A Place To Grow...
    "NDA is not just a school, it’s a place to grow and experience the world around you with not just your classmates, but with your “family” that has good Catholic values instilled in them."
    Sal S. – Alumni Class of 2015,
  • NDA Is My Second Family...
    "NDA is my second family, a community where I have developed lifelong friendships and learned invaluable lessons from mentors that will forever guide me into my future endeavors."
    Isabella R. – Alumni Class of 2018,
  • Dedicated Teachers And Staff...
    "We chose NDA because of its French program. Little did we know that we were picking a home away from home. Dedicated teachers and staff, a strong academic program, a safe environment, and a close group of friends make NDA a great school! "
    Robbie B. – Parent,