21st Century Learning
SJA gives each student access to innovative learning environments and opportunities, building essential skills for the 21st century.
Because women have traditionally been underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, SJA established the Andrea Clesi McMakin ’74 STEM Lab to provide cross-curricular, hands-on learning in a laboratory setting. Students work with a laser cutter and micro-computers and are able to bring their ideas to fruition using one of 21 3D printers, an unprecedented number on the high school level.
Innovation and Design Model
Placing a premium on 21st century learning, the SJA embraces the Innovation and Design model, which offers cutting-edge, project-based learning to equip young women for success in college and beyond. The I&D model helps students develop critical-thinking, collaboration, creating and problem-solving skills. Students utilize the design thinking methodology to design solutions to real-world problems. The six-step design process – identify, interpret, ideate, invent, implement and improve – draws on methods from engineering and design and combines them with ideas from the arts, tools from the social sciences and insights from the business world.
Since 2000, SJA has won 16 Region VII Louisiana Science and Engineering Fairs and 10 Louisiana State Science and Engineering Fairs. As the result of their outstanding projects, science students are invited to present their original research at national and international competitions.
Every year since 1998, SJA has been represented at the prestigious Intel International Science & Engineering Fair. (Two students were invited to participate in the 2020 event, which ultimately did not take place because of COVID-19.)
SJA girls enjoy demonstrating their understanding of complex technology challenges through numerous competitions.
SJA’s Robotics Team competes each year in the FIRST Robotics Competition Bayou Regional. FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) combines the excitement of sport with the rigors of science and technology, enabling students to compete head to head in designing, building and programming robots. In its first year of competition in 2015, the SJA team received the Rookie Inspiration Award, which celebrates a newly established team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers.
SJA students participate in the Global Game Jam®, the world’s largest game creation event, held over a 48-hour stretch at LSU. Our girls enjoy matching wits against thousands of students from countries around the world to create games while, at the same time, exploring the process of development, including programming, iterative design, narrative exploration and artistic expression.
In 2014, SJA students, faculty and staff participated in the Hour of Code, receiving a $5,000 grant from the Supriya Jindal Foundation for Louisiana’s Children. SJA won the high school award for the highest percentage of student participation in event. SJA’s “Whole School” effort was one of nearly 43,000 Hour of Code computer-programming initiatives held around the world during Computer Science Education Week. SJA participated in this event again in 2020.
Each year, St. Joseph’s Academy participates in the Louisiana High School Online Technology Challenge. The annual technology event, hosted by the University of Louisiana at Monroe, recognizes students interested in demonstrating their creative use of technology and teamwork. Every high school in Louisiana is invited to enter a team of 15 students who work under the guidance of a designated coach. In 2018, SJA’s team finished first.
Students also enjoy the opportunity to compete in the Cyber Discovery Camp, held each summer at Louisiana Tech University. The week-long camp helps students understand how technology and the world of of cyperspace are present in their daily lives and how to best interact with them.
Also at Louisiana Tech University, the Analysis & Investigation through Cyber-based Scenarios Camp challenges participants to hone their analysis and investigative skills through a variety of activities. In 2018, SJA's team finished first.
St. Joseph’s Academy enjoys great success in the Shell STEM Showdown, part of the Great Minds in STEM program. High school freshmen and sophomores come together each year with college captains who are majoring in a STEM field.
One of SJA's newest clubs is Girls Who Code.
For questions regarding Academics at SJA, please contact our Dean of Academics:
Dean of Academics
21st Century Classrooms
SJA classrooms are designed with the tenets of 21st century learning in mind, as student-centered spaces allow for collaboration and project-based learning as well as independent work. Within these comfortable spaces, students can easily rearrange furniture, access ample writing space and use task-appropriate technology. Classroom designs are more conducive to movement, games, group activities and communication, including space for small-group projects. Unique seating options, such as bean bags, stationary bikes and other versatile choices, coupled with traditional desks allow students opportunities to learn in a setting that is most comfortable for them.