Our Signature Program

We believe in big ideas and thinking outside of the box.
We believe that creativity creates endless opportunities.
We believe in a culture of innovation where a growth mindset is embraced and where continuous improvement lives.

While there are many ways that a St. Catherine’s education goes far beyond the fundamentals, our Girls Innovate Program provides transformational experiences intentionally designed for girls in five distinct areas:

How it all started

In honor of St. Catherine's 125th Anniversary and in celebration of the United Nations International Day of the Girl, we hosted Girls Innovate, a special event for more than 1,000 girls from across the Richmond region. The high-energy day featured women who shared their stories about how they are changing the world and inspired students to dream big. Girls explored and collaborated on design challenge with support from mentors littleBits, Capital One, CapTech and WestRock. 

That day sparked a new movement – a commitment to design curricular innovations for the evolving needs of our students across all grade levels, all divisions and all subjects.  A committee of faculty and staff conducted research and created a framework of ways to provide transformational experiences for girls. In the fall of 2018, the Girls Innovate Faculty Fellows Program launched to advance academic programs, expand student opportunities and drive enhanced approaches to teaching and learning.

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Signature Program Highlights

List of 5 items.

  • Girl-Centered Research

    • Girls Innovate Fellows Program
    • Professional Development & Faculty Research Teams
    • Student-led Research
    • Intensive Studies Program (ISP)
  • Global Citizenship

    • Cultural Competencies Curriculum
    • World Languages
    • Global Partners and Projects
    • Student and Faculty Exchanges
    • X-Term
  • Ethical Leadership

    • Honor Code
    • Virtues Program
    • Student Health and Wellness
    • Service Learning and Outreach
    • Social Justice
  • Connecting Women of Excellence

    • JK-Grade 8 Big Sister/Little Sister Program
    • Grades 5-12 Advisory Program
    • Upper School Career Day
    • Junior Summer Internship Program 
    • Guest Experts and SaintsConnect Alumnae Network
  • Creative Mindset, Digital World

    • Age 3-Grade 12 liberal arts and STEM Curriculum
    • Creativity and Technology integrated throughout all grades
    • Imagination Stations, Innovation Labs and Innovation Days
    • Robotics Teams


Women Who Inspire Us

Recognizing that female role models are essential for girls, St. Catherine's engages with dynamic women, who share their stories with our students and who inspire our girls to dream big. Highlighted below are some of our recent connections with extraordinary women. 

Girls Innovate 2019 Event

Girls Innovate 2017 Event

Girls Innovate 2015 Event

Girls Innovate Faculty Fellows

St. Catherine's is delighted to invest in our faculty. The Girls Innovate Faculty Fellows Program provides funding to faculty members to pursue specific projects that will advance innovation and expand student opportunities. Full-time faculty are eligible to participate by submitting proposals during the annual application process each fall. All Faculty Fellows applications are reviewed by a selection committee. Upon acceptance to the program, they embark upon a two-year term to conduct their projects. For more information about this program, please contact Jennifer Vermillion, Director of Innovative Learning at jvermillion@st.catherines.org.
Faculty Fellows 2018-2020:
  • Lower School teachers Amy Adkins and Carter Warren are investigating ways to further expand student opportunities to participate in FIRST Lego League Junior Program and partnering with faculty at Randolph-Macon College to conduct research on the benefits of early STEM exposure for girls.
  • Pontus Hiort, Upper School history teacher, and Molly McAleer, Upper School English teacher and Director of X-term will create a framework to deepen the teaching and learning of global competencies across all divisions.

Signature Program Founding Committee

In recognition of their great work, we applaud and thank the following founding committee members of the Signature Program initiative. 

Marsha Alexander
Doug Bader
Sue Baldwin
William Berry
Nancy Cohen
Benjamin Court
Brett Degnan
Laura Farrell
Allison Felton
Katherine Ferguson
Anna Hatfield
Rev. Drew Johnson
Dr. Annie Kapetanis
Theodora Miller
Doran McBride
Sherry Oelkers
Dr. Terrie Scheckelhoff
Sarah Sobon
Heather Szymendera
Jennifer Vermillion
Carter Warren
Dr. Ryan Warren
Abigail Whorley
Dr. Lara Wulff

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Girls Innovate News

List of 7 news stories.

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