New classes, facilities and offices highlight a year unlike any other. Through it all, Bishop Montgomery continued to move forward in providing the very best for the students and the community.
In the last issue of Veritas, our cover story detailed the addition of our new labs for robotics, engineering, computer science, and digital arts/media. The new facilities were made possible through a grant Bishop Montgomery received from Shea Family Charities. When construction was complete in October of 2020, BMHS was in the midst of 100% online classes due to the pandemic.
In March, when schools in Los Angeles County received the green light to return to campus, our students were finally able to take full advantage of the new labs. Students in classes like Principles of Engineering and Introduction to Engineering Design were excited to use the new engineering/maker lab that allowed for easier collaboration and a bright, flexible workspace.
In addition to the engineering lab, the Mac Lab in the third building, which was also part of the construction, became a vibrant work environment for students in our digital arts classes like Yearbook and AP Studio Art. And that is not all. When the 2021-22 school year begins, students will have another new art class from which to choose: Honors Yearbook 3. The new Mac Lab will be buzzing with activity even more so than ever before.
Bishop also introduced other new classes to the curriculum in different departments. Classes like AP European History and Advanced Theater Arts gave students the opportunity to further challenge themselves in social studies and the arts. Bishop was also excited to bring the AP Capstone program to campus.
The first course in the AP Capstone program, AP Seminar, was new for the 2020-21 school year and in the fall, AP Research will be added to the curriculum. In the research class, students continue what was learned in the seminar class, where they conduct academic research, write a paper, and present their findings. However, in AP Research, students will work on a year-long research-based investigation of their interest and will conduct some of the independent research themselves. “It’s similar to a dissertation, which will help get our students ready for college level courses and beyond,” says AP Capstone coordinator John Hong.
New to campus in 2020-21 was Bishop’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Justice (DEJ). The office of DEJ works to increase Bishop’s diversity, provides support for students of color, and expands the community’s cultural competency. One of the primary functions of the office is to promote academic excellence and prepare students to engage equitably in an increasingly complex and global community while maintaining Catholic integrity. “As we dive deep into our mission, it is vital to understand that transformative work is heavy work, but can have profound impact on all stakeholders: students, teachers, staff, administration, parents, families, community,” says Bishop’s DEJ Coordinator Noelle Quinn ’03. “We want our BMHS community to embrace a diverse and equitable landscape because it creates an environment where everyone feels valued. Our goal is to lead and love in a way that mirrors Christ’s life.” English teacher and assistant football coach Eric Sheckler has also joined the office to assist Quinn and has played a large leadership role in advocating to make sure everyone is seen and every voice is heard. “As I assist Noelle, and as a teacher myself, I want to help the faculty incorporate the best practices of this office to help meet the needs of all our students,” adds Sheckler. “It is also my goal to assist in my colleagues’ understanding of DEJ practices in their evolving professional development.”
The new World Languages & eSports Lab (above) houses exciting new technology and equipment for our students. The lab includes an 85″ 4K television; 20 AMD Ryzen 7 computers with 32GB RAM and a 1TB hard drive; 20 IPS Wide Quad High-Definition 27″ monitors, and Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5 and XBox One S consoles for the eSports team. The new lab will serve as the home for our eSports team members to practice and compete against other schools. It will also be a place for World Language classes to study and learn using the latest in technology.
Thanks to the generosity of the BMHS Athletic Booster Club, the water fountains in the three classroom buildings were transformed into refillable water bottle stations. The new stations will allow students, faculty and staff to fill their hydroflasks efficiently and safely.
Beginning in 2021-22, Girls’ Sand Volleyball will be an official CIF sport. For the past few years, it has been a club sport at BMHS. Now, enough schools in California offer the sport, making it a CIF-sanctioned sport. We are excited to make this the 21st sport offered at BMHS.