The start of the new school year has brought a lot of changes for one Catholic elementary school in Middle Village.
Saint Margaret Catholic Academy (SMCA), formerly known as St. Margaret’s School, has officially made the transition to the Diocesan-mandated Academy model. That isn’t the only change the school has made this year, as Victoria Richardson — the school’s former technology teacher and assistant principal — has taken over the reins as principal.
The academy is now being managed by an all-volunteer lay board of directors, as well as Richardson as the principal. The SMCA board is made up of 11 experts in different fields, who volunteered for the position to move the school forward.
Richardson said that parents and students will not see a day-to-day change in their school day or the curriculum with the change over to the academy.
“The parents and the students really don’t see that everyday change,” Richardson said. “It’s really the administration. It would be myself — the principal — because I no longer directly report to Monsignor [Steven] Aguggia (St. Margaret Church pastor), I report to the board.”
Former principal Dr. Philip Franco decided to step down because he wanted to get back into the classroom and teach, Richardson said. He continues to teach at SMCA and other schools.
As principal, Richardson has plans to bring changes to the school that both parents and students will see.
“We have tablets that I purchased at the end of last year and we are trying to get more tablets in so the students can utilize them,” Richardson announced. “I’m working on an iPad grant to hopefully keep technology moving because it’s changing constantly.”
“I want to push the students for service,” she added. “So what we are implementing [is that] once a month [we are] focusing on some type of service, whether it is donations to a certain org, or some awareness so that each month has something we can do for the world. This way there is more community outreach, so the students know not just what goes on in Saint Margaret, [but also that] there’s a bigger world out there.”
SMCA isn’t the only Catholic elementary school in the area to make the change to the Academy model this year. Earlier this month, Sacred Heart School in Glendale changed to Sacred Heart Catholic Academy of Glendale.