By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor
LEE’S SUMMIT — It’s beginning to look like something. Walls are rising, stairs can be seen, and it’s possible to get an idea of the scope of this project. St. Michael the Archangel High School is scheduled to open in the fall of 2017, and to keep both committed students and potential students in the loop, an open house with hard-hat tours was held Nov. 13.
Despite the Kansas City Chiefs’ game being broadcast at the same time as the open house, about 300 people showed up. There were tables with information and sign-ups of interest to students and parents, including technology, athletics, academics, programming, Faith Formation and a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) project called Project Lead the Way. There’s even an Aviation course offered by the Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport. For parents, the Parents Club and the Business office had lots of information.
In groups of 20, either Father Richard Rocha, president or Jodie Maddox, principal, escorted people through the construction site. As they went, the curious were shown a conference room whose eventual windows will look out and down into, as principal Maddox described it, “a ginormous gym seating 800.”
She said St. Michael the Archangel High School will be a 21st century school, rooted in Christ, where students can learn their gifts and expand them. The academic program will feature Learning Academies.
As the flyer on the learning academies states: SMA is committed to helping students know truth, love God and serve others in an environment centered on discovery. They will use their talents, technology and the community of teachers and students to explore multiple areas of interest. Graduation requirements are designed to expose students to a wide content range. The Learning Academies include Aviation,
Business/Computer Science, Human Services, Engineering/ Industrial Technology, Healthcare and Performing Arts/Communications. Students won’t be locked into a specific Academy; they will be encouraged to explore multiple areas of study.
All students will take four years of theology, English and Math, at least three years of Science and Social Studies and two – four years of World Language. Depending on the Learning Academy, there are a number of electives to round out the core courses.
The high school community will consist of three smaller communities and within each community there will be several “houses.” Each house will be made up of students from all grade levels. This creates opportunities for students to form relationships with people from every grade level.
Several students in St. Michael’s uniforms held enlarged architectural drawings of the areas being pre-viewed, the conference room, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chapel, the gym, the commons, cafe and stairs, where students can eat lunch, hang out with friends or study, classrooms and collaborative centers.
The building is being constructed so that each wall faces a vista, and will boast many windows, including a huge glass wall looking out over what will be a meadow with a duck pond. “That’s where I want my office,” Maddox said with a laugh. “Beauty will surround us.”
Currently Phase I is being constructed. Maddox explained that the first phase will accommodate up to about 600-700 students. They expect an enrollment of 325 by opening day.
Maddox is sure enrollment will grow quickly. “If we have new freshman classes of 100 – 125 starting each year, we’ll grow very fast!” she said. Phase II will initiate when enrollment reaches around 700 students. Four more classrooms will be added. If enrollment reaches 900, Phase III will be initiated.
For more about St. Michael the Archangel High School, visit smacatholic.org.