The Merici Model of Education at Ursuline Academy

Ursuline Academy pic
Ursuline Academy
Image: ursulineacademy.org

Becky Catino attended Ursuline Academy of Cincinnati, a four-year, private college-prep high school in Cincinnati, Ohio. Currently, Becky Catino is a member of the Ursuline Academy Foundation board of trustees.

Since 1896, when the college was founded by the Catholic Ursuline Sisters of Brown County, Ursuline Academy has been preparing girls for life after high school through a rigorous academic program and an emphasis on serving others. Ursuline Academy has developed and currently uses a distinctive style of education that it calls the Merici Model, named after the school’s founder, St. Angela Merici.

Perhaps the most noticeable way that the Merici Model of education is different from other models is that classrooms at Ursuline only have three walls. The fourth wall of each classroom is open to a hallway, where students not in class are free to roam. This may seem like a recipe for disaster, but in fact it is meant to teach students in class the ability to focus through distractions, and students in the hallways, to be respectful and quiet.

The Merici Model also allows students a great deal of freedom in choosing their own class schedules. Students are encouraged to create a customized schedule of classes within their own interests rather than having a universal schedule imposed on them; they also are given time between classes to spend as they decide, rather than going straight from class to class without a break. The purpose of the customized schedule and free time is to give students the opportunity to learn time management and self discipline, and to prepare them for the environment they will encounter in college.

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