for Innovative Classrooms

Join us in support of The Mary K. Hopkins Fund for Innovative Classrooms
Providing the foundation for continual improvements in program and professional development to keep the Innovate the Space program leading-edge for faculty and for students.

Mary will be retiring from Holy Child this June, after 24 years of service. We are grateful to Mary for all she has done for Holy Child. When the Middle School was in its infancy, Mary was a pioneer in leading the cutting-edge educational programs. As the child of two teachers, both of whom taught at the Upper School, Mary herself a veteran teacher, joined Holy Child as a core teacher in the newly formed 6th grade, eventually also taking over theology for the 8th grade. She has been ceaseless in her pursuit of excellence for her students.

Mary has been instrumental in spearheading new learning initiatives over the years to improve the classroom experiences for the students. One of these initiatives has been to enhance and upgrade the classroom environment and teaching style in each classroom. Innovate the Space was developed to revolutionize the classrooms into spaces designed to facilitate critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication to shape the students into bold female leaders of the future.



Wooly (Rita W.) Devine ’79, Becky Ward ’14, and C. Maury Devine have already committed to the Innovate the Space initiative by funding one classroom in honor of Mary K. Hopkins. In addition, they have invested in this program by creating an endowed fund, The Mary K. Hopkins Fund for Innovative Classrooms, to ensure that Mary’s vision continues to grow and thrive at Holy Child for generations to come. Consider donating to the Mary K. Hopkins Fund for Innovative Classrooms to keep the program leading-edge for faculty and for students.

Keep this a surprise! We are hoping to announce this Fund at her farewell gathering on Friday, May 19, starting at 2:30 p.m. in the gymnasium. We hope you can be part of that celebration. Click here for more information

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to Holy Child’s Advancement Director, Laura Volovski (301-365-0955, ext. 2123).

Thank you for honoring Mary Hopkins and for your support of Holy Child. Learn more about the initiative and see the short films just below, after the giving forms.

More about Mary Hopkins and Innovation

Our Beliefs

At Holy Child, we believe it is our core responsibility, as educators, to provide our students the most contemporary methodologies and best practice available to prepare them to meet the challenges of a global society. Our strategic vision addresses this initiative of providing a superior, transformative, college preparatory education that tasks every student to achieve academic excellence and success. We envision our “Innovate the Space” initiative to become a foundation toward building a classroom environment that promotes 21st century skills and practices.

Designing 21st century classrooms is more than furniture, technology and training: it is like paint and canvas to an artist.  The innovated classroom empowers our teachers to create lessons that are more dynamic, engaging, and collaborative with design and flexibility. All innovated classrooms were designed with intention and purpose to best serve the students in the class based on student learning needs, content area, and teaching pedagogy: teachers submit proposals for their design request for their space and discipline, including what innovation means to them, how innovation will play a role in their classroom, and what professional development they will need to make their classroom innovative and inspiring.


At Connelly School of the Holy Child, we are committed to the intellectual, spiritual, artistic, physical and social development of young women in grades 6 through 12.  We emphasize this through academic challenge, joy of learning and education of well-rounded women of faith and action.  Mary Hopkins has been a part of Holy Child’s culture and community for over twenty years as a parent, teacher, and Assistant Head of School.  She has lead our community in Brain Based research and how it impacts learning, developed humanities curriculum, implemented student portfolios, innovated our library to include collaborative technology lab, and a Maker Space. More recently, Mary’s vision has created an Internship Program for seniors, researched and piloted the first Innovative Spaces at Holy Child, and started an Entrepreneurial Program for our juniors.  Because of her vision and commitment to our students and faculty, an endowed fund has been created in her name that will continue her vision and passion for innovative classroom by creating an on-going professional development.

Ongoing Professional Development

We have outlined professional development plan based on three strands of learning related to innovation: Brain Based Learning, 21st Century Learning and Best Practices, and Technology Integration.  All Holy Child Teachers will be trained in Neuro Teach: Brain Science and the Future of Education” from the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning.  School leaders responsible for developing innovative spaces and programs will attend conferences at Harvard University on Learning Spaces for Tomorrow. In addition to required training, faculty and administration will have a diverse menu of professional development options that include online courses, on-campus institutes, and blended programs to help cultivate new innovative teaching approaches, project based learning experiences for students, and integrating technology as a tool for creativity and research.  Our goal is to not only prepare our girls for the changing landscape they will face in the future, but also to lead and innovate to make our future better.

Partnering for Innovative Classrooms

Innovation does not begin and end in a library or classroom, it’s a way a thinking… it’s a movement.  Innovation should be everywhere from conference room to cafeteria, music room to our gymnasium: our spaces should be flexible, engaging, promoting higher-level thinking, inspiring creativity and problem solving.

As we continue to follow our mission and vision that is committed to providing a high quality educational experience for our girls, we want to honor Mary Hopkin’s leadership that has paved the way for our teachers to grow, lead, and inspire as she has done for Holy Child since 1993.

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One-Time Gift

Monthly Recurring Gift

Good schools invest in key ingredients that keep dynamic faculty and engaged students working in a culture that fosters a passion for learning. At Holy Child, comprehensive program funding for students and professional development opportunities for faculty are core priorities.

But what of the space where learning takes place?

Holy Child’s foundress, Cornelia Connelly, was an educational innovator who understood the cognitive development of young women.  Recent research tells us that the space in which students learn has a significant influence on engagement and attitude about learning.  Holy Child teachers attend workshops such as Teaching All Kinds of Minds:  The Principals and Strategies of Neuroeducation and Learning and the Brain to strengthen their understanding of neuroscience and its implications for teaching and learning, thereby adapting their instruction to complement a student’s natural development. Classroom space should reflect the purpose of the learning. This is why Hold Child has engaged in a three-year initiative to innovate every classroom by fall of 2018.

Ten classrooms have been completed in 2015-2016, thanks to the pioneer donors who committed to this initiative. These new rooms have changed the classroom environment, teaching practice, and student learning experience for all teachers and students in those spaces. The flexibility and mobility of an innovated classroom allows for transition of physical space to meet the needs of the learning activities at hand.


They serve students in each class, based on content area, and teaching pedagogy. How? Because teachers submit proposals and request specific designs for their particular space and discipline.

Join the pioneers and become a classroom innovator. Proposals for our next round of classrooms are in process: let us match your commitment to empower and educate our young women with the vision of one of our exceptional faculty.

Call or email Chief Advancement Officer Laura Volovski to discuss (301-365-0955, x 2123).


Laura Volovski
Chief Advancement Officer
301-365-0955 x2123

Suzi Montes de Oca
Director of Development
301.365.0955 x2122

Claire Drummond
Office Systems Manager
301.365.0955 x2208