Strategic Plan Calls for a Replication of The Nicholas Center’s Success

We are using the bi-weekly President’s Perspective to highlight each Pillar of our new Strategic Plan: Go Boldly.  This week, we examine the fourth of five Pillars, Innovative Campus. 

This week Minndependent, the largest statewide organization serving private and independent schools in Minnesota, recognized The Nicholas Center at Hill-Murray by naming the center the 2022 recipient of its prestigious Program Award. The annual award honors “an innovative or successful program that supports engagement and academic achievement for the school, students or faculty.” Read more here.

If you don’t know, The Nicholas Center is our state-of-the-art wing on the west side of our campus that was once the gymnasium. In 2012, with the help of a $5.5 million gift, the space was remodeled and reopened with the hopes and dreams of providing a Catholic education with individualized support for all students.

Students work in The Nicholas Center

By all accounts, The Nicholas Center (TNC) has exceeded every expectation. I am fortunate to hear from so many parents who share how the support of TNC has transformed their child’s life. We embrace students with learning differences and focus on what he or she can bring to the classroom. TNC was designed to disrupt old norms, and it gave way to a deeper, more individualized perspective on what student success is and how we can achieve it. It’s also a perfect example of what we plan to accomplish with other spaces here at Hill-Murray. 

Over the next six years, the Go Boldly vision is for new and renovated spaces – indoors and outdoors – that will dramatically transform our historic campus, bringing new opportunities for interdisciplinary activities, collaboration, and improved areas for teaching and learning. For instance, we want to add more common areas for students to work, eat, laugh, collaborate and reflect. They need spaces to work quietly, independently, or discuss and debate. 

We must continue to be a pioneer as a Catholic school and reimagine some of the dated spaces that our students utilize each day, such as the cafe and learning center. This summer, we will continue our classroom renovations to include new lighting, flooring, and active learning furniture. At Hill-Murray, our classrooms and all of our spaces will facilitate and inspire more engagement and enjoyment in teaching and learning – not limit it. 

Every PIONEER who steps onto campus should feel a sense of welcome, a spirit of innovation, and a reverence for our commitment to our Catholic faith and values. Ultimately, our campus and facilities will continue to enhance Hill-Murray’s reputation as an innovator and leader.

That is exactly what The Nicholas Center has done over the last decade and why Minndependent recognized it as Program of the Year. The stories of how the dedicated teachers and tutors of TNC have changed lives are endless. The potential to replicate its success more broadly at Hill-Murray is boundless as we Go Boldly into a truly transformative phase in our school’s rich history.