HNMCS actively promotes 21st Century Skills in all students. Each Thursday, during Flex Block, students have Innovation Time where they work on their individual passion projects geared to develop the whole girl. They meet with a homeroom teacher or a teacher mentor to plan and execute cross-curricular projects, where the focus is on a big idea and meets curriculum expectations across a broad range of subject areas. Innovation Time provides opportunities for students to work collaboratively, use technology in creative ways, and engage in critical thinking and problem solving with real-world applications.
In the Senior School, the girls spent the first few weeks researching topics and discussing ideas with their homeroom teachers. They have completed their proposals and presentations outlining why they chose their project and personal goals. These year long projects cover a variety of topics such as creating cookbooks, exploring photography techniques and designing websites. The Innovation Time program inspires students to integrate personal interests, academics and extracurricular activities on a large scale project.
When speaking to Sonnet Hines '22 about her project, she said “This year, for my IT project, I am in charge of the robotics YouTube account. My goal is to create content for team FRC7659 and to develop a subscriber fan base. I chose to do a YouTube account because I enjoy videography. This project allows me to branch out to other subjects such as robotics, law, art, technology and more. It also permits me to look at the different fields of STEAM."
To students, Innovation Time means having the opportunity to work on a project that they are passionate about.
“I chose redesigning Disney princesses as my IT Project", said Hannah Abbot '21. "When I was younger, I idolized Disney princesses in every way possible. The unrealistic body types they had in movies before 2010, made me set an impossible body standard for myself, throughout most of my childhood. By doing this project I hope to help other children, and adults, realize that the beauty of Disney princesses and other characters shouldn't be based on their body type.”
In the Middle School, students work on IT projects in homeroom classes, and they're called “Passion Projects”. In order to help facilitate the structure of their projects, the girls had three different types of projects to choose from. They are working on a research project, learning a new skill, or, in Grades 7 and 8, creating a Google Expedition. They spent the first weeks brainstorming ideas and used design thinking to help determine the type of project they wanted to complete. Then they determined their goals and made an outline and timeline for their projects. We have girls making Google Expeditions for Greece, the Azores, and London. We have girls upcycling clothes, learning to knit and cross stitch, and exploring digital animation. In the spring we will have a showcase for the girls to present their projects to one another.
"I would like to create a mobile app using the application, Xcode. Each week I will watch about one Youtube video from a channel called CodeWithChris. He provides a playlist of videos going step-by-step on how to create a mobile app using Xcode. These steps will guide me to my final project and it will teach me how to create an app. My final project will be a mobile app. I have not decided what it will be yet. I am still exploring possibilities." said Cristina Racco '26.
Angelene George '28 is taking a different track and is researching wolves. "I have started by using a graphic organizer to plan my project. Some of the topics I will be researching are the location, the habitat, and the prey of the wolves. I am just getting started, but I will be using internet websites to locate my information and pictures. My final project will be in two parts, a Google Slides presentation with my research project and a diorama showing the wolves in their ecosystem."