Skip To Main Content
Middle School Director's Notes

A message from Director of Middle School, Ilse Norris:

Dear Visitation Middle School families,

The NASA Hunch eighth-grade team made it back safely from Houston. Claire Feldman, Rowan Murphy and Caitie Paterson, accompanied by Ms. Little and myself, arrived bright and early with poster board, brochures, and actual 3D printed models of the needle-holder forceps at the Houston Space Center. The actual presentations happened in the Saturn V building, which houses the lunar capsule that was used to circle the moon. The Visitation team was one of only two Middle School teams out of over 100 national teams present; very special indeed! The girls did a great job presenting their biomedical device to various NASA representatives. After official photos, they had the opportunity to sign a storage locker that will be sent up to the International Space Station, so their names will be immortalized in space! The young ladies were exemplary and represented Visitation School very well; I was so proud of them! The trip to the Houston Space Center was an extraordinary experience for all of us and I feel blessed to have been a part of this trip to support our students and Ms. Little.

On Tuesday, April 18, Olive Norman had a chance to be the Middle School Director for the day. Her day started with a Middle School info session for prospective students and their parents. Olive did a great job highlighting all the wonderful things our Middle School has to offer before accompanying the parents on a tour of the school while the guests joined their host students. During the Middle School Assembly, Olive surprised the whole Middle School body with the announcement that they could change into sweatpants for the afternoon, which was met with cheers of joy from the students! The day also included leading the students in prayer before lunch, hosting a lunch meeting for the other directors, and giving the students a proper send-off at the end of the day in the Middle School circle. A big thank you to Merrie Market for promoting the “Middle School Director-for-the-Day” and to Olive for jumping into the role with gusto! Job well done!

Last Thursday evening, three eighth graders, Anna Cierzan, Josie Katras, and Isabella Staelgraeve, competed in the Religion Bee at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Hastings. 21 Middle Schoolers from seven Catholic area schools took center stage and wowed us all with their intellectual prowess and knowledge of the Bible and our Catholic faith. One of our students, Josie Katras, made it to the quarter-finals! A big thank you to Carolyn Horttor for guiding the eighth graders through the preliminary rounds and accompanying the winning team to Hastings. I was proud of our students and impressed with their knowledge of their faith!

On Thursday, April 20, the GRIT Girls went on their last field day of the year. They visited Code 42 in Minneapolis. Code 42 is an American cybersecurity software company, specializing in insider risk management. It is the maker of the cloud-native data protection products Incydr and CrashPlan. The students learned about insider risk and about all of the different roles needed to run a company. For the National content, they listened to Christy Cook teach them about Imposter’s Syndrome and how they can use it for good. They also heard from Dr. Merritt Moore - a physicist and professional dancer about how they can blend all of their passions and make a career out of it. Code 42 provided another great experience for the GRIT Girls!

This week, students in grades K-8 will take the ERBs. With more than 90 years of academic assessment expertise, the Educational Research Bureau delivers objective tools that provide actionable insight into student achievement. Mrs. Irizarry, our technology integrationist, provided an opportunity for students to log in and take a series of practice tests on April 19 during Academic Flex. We wanted to make sure that students are fully informed, prepared, and set up for success.

Looking ahead: 
The eighth graders are getting excited for their capstone trip to Washington DC from May 3 through May 6. All eighth-grade parents are invited to an informational meeting on Wednesday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. in the DeChantal auditorium. I highly recommend attending this meeting, as we will introduce the chaperones, share the full itinerary one more time, and address the dress code for students, logistics of carry-on travel, gathering time and location at the airport, emergency phone numbers, and additional monies needed to cover incidentals. 

On Thursday night, April 27, we are hosting the Middle School Open House for new, newly enrolled and returning families. The evening starts with dinner in the dining room, followed by an Activities and Clubs Fair. Then, our visitors will take tours, guided by our WEB leaders, and will attend six different 8-minute sessions. Sessions will be facilitated by our wonderful MS faculty; this is an opportunity to get a first glimpse into classes and programs. The wrap-up will be around 8 p.m. Please spread the word and invite neighbors and friends to this event.

Friday, April 28, is Grandparents Day. Middle School students are dismissed at 1 p.m. after lunch to meet their grandparents in the Heart. There will be an opportunity for students to take official photos with their grandparents and take a brief tour of the school. Mass for Middle School and Upper School students will start promptly at 1:30 p.m. in the Commers Gym, with a reception to follow. Just a reminder that this is a formal uniform day for students. We are looking forward to welcoming our grandparents on campus!

As always, it is a privilege to partner with you and to work with your daughter in this wonderful school.

With gratitude,

Ilse Norris
Director of Middle School