Welcome to the 2016-17 School Year. These are exciting times and there is no difference with all that is taking place on the Damien campus.
With the opening of the New Year we have completed a two year process toward implementing a one-to-one Chromebook policy. Starting this fall the many opportunities that teachers have peen learning about in training the past two years is being fulfilled as now each student has access to a Chromebook. There are many resultant savings for families with the use of electronic textbooks. The classroom interaction with teachers has become more personal. Teachers are using many additional applications that are leading to a higher level of student involvement with their learning. A new day in learning has dawned.
Four years ago we began the process of applying for acceptance as an International Baccalaureate Diploma School. We have held many information sessions to advise families about what it might mean for a student who chooses the programme for grades 11 and 12. We are grateful to John Mahon who has served as IB Coordinator-Designee and took us through the process. We were approved by the IBO last spring, the courses have commenced with students of the Class of 2018 for their junior year.
Recent enhancements of our plant are coming into full view. The thorough renovation of the former Activity Center now as the Event Center is complete. With roof repairs and cooling added last year, over this summer the interior walls were re-painted, new baskets were put in place, sound panels were placed over the windows, and new bleachers were installed. As the doors were replaced the facility became useful for the variety of events that it is intended.
Our long-awaited second lunch shelter has finally broken ground following a lengthy permit process. We will shortly have a new facility available that provides shelter from the sun and rain and will include electric plugs so that the unprepared student can charge electronic devised as needed.
We pray God's abundant blessings on all our families as we move forward in this school year.
Merritt Hemenway, Ph.D.
The 2016-17 school year is my 49th in service to Catholic Education. The last 36 have been as the Principal of five different Catholic high schools: Bishop Amat 1981-1990; Cantwell 1990-1991; Cantwell Sacred Heart of Mary 1991-1994; Santa Margarita Catholic High School 1994-2002; Bishop Amat High School 2002-2012; and Damien High School 2012-present.
Along the way I have been blessed to work in this ministry with hundreds of dedicated Catholic high school teachers. Over the years my professional work has focused on four general areas of expertise:
1) Catholic High School retreats - I have personally worked over 107 Kairos retreats and 22 Emmaus retreats for juniors in addition to many class level retreats. Bringing the students to a personal relationship with Christ is an important part of Catholic School Ministry.
2) Inclusive Catholic Schools - Over my career I have always taken an interest in students who struggle with learning. This has grown out of a passion developed through experiences as a parent with my own children. The National Catholic Education Association has used my work at Santa Margarita and Bishop Amat as a model that I have shared many times at the national convention.
3) Technology in education - My Doctoral Dissertation at Claremont Graduate University focused on the use of technology in support of learning. Over the years I have been focused on keeping my schools at the forefront of this area.
4) International Baccalaureate Programme - Since I was introduced to the IB Programme in 1995 I have been faithfully impressed with all aspects of what if has to offer education. When you gather the brightest minds in education world-wide in one place to discuss learning, amazing results occur. It is my hope that the many resources of the IB will enhance the program offered at Damien.
After high school I attended St. Mary's College of California located in Moraga. My graduate work was started at Cal State Los Angeles where I completed my Masters in Education as well as my teaching and Secondary Principal Credentials. (I also earned a credential in Adult Education which helped me greatly as I became a professional presenter on the topics above.) My Ph.D. was earned at Claremont Graduate University in 1999. My topic was the effect of the Internet on the teaching-learning process.