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  • Writer's pictureMARY REESE SULLIVAN '26

In Walsh We Trust: Celebrating 40 years of ES

This 22-23 school year marks the 40th anniversary of the Educational Services Program (ES) at Saint Ursula Academy. As a fellow ES student, I wanted to inform others about it because many students need to learn or understand what ES is. I talked with our founder, Mrs. Walsh, and she had much information that was new to me.

What is ES?

Mrs. Walsh: ES [ Educational Services Program] is a program for girls with learning disabilities, ADHD, and anxiety.

How did it come to be?

Mrs. Walsh: Forty years ago, a couple had six daughters that did not attend SUA, but the third had a learning disability. On the search for a new high school, they asked about starting programs for learning disabilities as the school did not have this program, and were inspired to start something new. The principal at the time asked Mrs. Walsh to try this new program out, so the school became known as one of the only schools in the district that has an education help program.

Where was it located?

Mrs. Walsh: The ES program has moved all over the school and was located in what is now a maintenance closet; then moved to Dr. Thomas's office and then to counseling. Next, it moved into Mrs. Roses (counsel check-in) which used to be a large room. Finally, the ES services program was where it is now: the Nuns' old sleeping quarters.

How long until it became popular?

Mrs. Walsh: It took about four-five years for the program to catch on and become popular. Furthermore, there was a need for other teachers since it was the only CP High School with a program for learning disabilities.

How many Students are in ES?

Mrs. Walsh: The girls currently in the program are 87.

What do we do in ES?

Mrs. Walsh: In ES, girls take all their quizzes and tests. Students also get extended time, and audio recordings, and are allowed to ask questions to the specialized teacher. During an ES bell students must fill out a list of all the tasks they will accomplish in the ninety-minute bell. For instance, a student may go over notes with a teacher, review or relearn a lesson, work on a project, have a teacher edit a paper or project, take a quiz, or just study with some friends.

The Teachers:

Mrs. Walsh

The founder of the program in 1982, Mrs. Walsh specializes in Spanish, math, and all history. She is currently the head of the department until Mrs. Balz returns from maternity leave.

Mrs. Airling

Mrs. Airling joined in 2012 and specializes in Freshman literature, Religion, and reading aspects like history, and she helps students with IEPS. She is also the club supervisor for the Board Game club!

Ms. Lea

Ms. Lea joined the program about five years after it was established in 1991. Ms. Lea worked part-time as a French teacher and then part-time in ES. Currently, she specializes full-time in French and math.

Mrs. Sigel

Mrs. Sigel worked at the school for forty-five years as a science teacher. She later joined ES in 1992 and handles Science and Math.

Mrs. Balz

Mrs. Balz joined in 2006 and specializes in all literature and is the owner of our beloved Angelo and Ginger. She also took over in 2017 as the head of the department but is currently on maternity leave until April with her beautiful daughter: Piper. Also, shout out to Ms. Perazzo for filling in for Mrs. Balz, we all appreciate you!

The last 40 years have helped and changed many girls' lives. I am especially lucky to be a part of such a wonderful community and be in a place where I feel okay to ask “silly questions.” I would also like to thank all the ES teachers who help me every day and are always there, so thank you!

For more information about our wonderful ES program click here:

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