HALO: Hub for Advanced Learning Opportunities

A bold plan to unlock student potential by building a new academic wing to meet emerging education model requirements beyond the classroom and enhance the St. Michael's campus experience.
 
 

Introduction to HALO

Enjoy this video featuring HALO committee members discussing the goals and benefits of what the HALO project means to St. Michael's students and the greater community.

Read the Full Project Case Statement

 
 
 

HALO Goals

1) Facilitate inter-disciplinary programming
2) Develop self-directed students
3) Design collaborative, interactive space
4) Provide project-based learning environments
5) Encourage experiential research opportunities
6) Foster real-world career exploration

Preparing Pathways

We find that colleges look for students who already know what they want to study. The HALO will provide students the necessary exposure during their high school careers to vet that discovery process. One way in which students are currently able to identify potential areas of focus is via YouScience, an assessment tool used at St. Michael’s in sophomore year, which is designed to help students discover insights about their natural abilities. The assessment provides students with a list of compatible careers that align with their aptitudes and skills, which may help students determine a potential major for college early in their high school education. Students can use this informed potential and apply it in the practical atmosphere provide through the The HALO learning environment.  
 

Benefits of Halo

Become leaders in secondary education

Garner state and national recognition as a leader in secondary education.

Acquire & retain top teaching talent

Easily attract the best teaching talent and retain the outstanding faculty we already have as a high school with such facilities and programs.

Foster collegiate & corporate partnerships

Expand upon partnerships with top universities and invite corporate and other research institutions to participate with us in supporting and preparing students for future goals in work, education, family and community.

Create real-world, professional opportunity

Provide classes, workshops and other opportunities for students in many disciplines in which industry experts would interact with students in a real-world atmosphere — be that a laboratory, board room or health/medical suite.

Cultivate a culture of self-directed students

Develop a culture of self-directed learners who become the primary stakeholders in their own education and distinguish themselves in the eyes of college admission and internship directors.
 
 

HALO Floor Plans


HALO FAQ

List of 14 frequently asked questions.

  • What is the HALO project?

    The HALO (Hub for Advanced Learning Opportunities) project is to build a new campus wing to meet emerging education model requirements that go beyond the classroom, further expanding the school’s ability to respond to the need for immersive, aspirational learning space to enhance the education experience of all. The HALO project will also transform the entire campus with the addition of a prominent entrance and walkway to create a more attractive campus welcome experience.
  • Why are we launching this campaign now?

    First and foremost, we are compelled to complete all on-campus development before our impervious cover allowance expires in 2022. In essence, if we don’t build now, we will actually forfeit any future campus expansion for St. Michael’s. Furthermore, in order to retain and sustain our mission as a college preparatory learning environment, St. Michael’s must evolve to include facilities for cutting-edge programming and subjects to reach and teach all students in order to advance their futures. With the HALO, we are moving toward an environment with learning elasticity to match the skills elasticity necessary in today’s shifting marketplace. Doing so will provide students the necessary exposure to determine and vet their path of collegiate study.
  • What is the timeframe for construction?

    Construction will begin once 40% of at least $5 million in pledges has been fulfilled. Planning for construction is running parallel to fundraising efforts to allow the ground to be "shovel ready" once we reach our goal.
  • Is tuition revenue being used to fund this project?

    No. This project will be totally funded through gifts and grants. The school will seek support from grandparents, alumni, friends of the school, and charitable foundations. If your family would like to make an extended family gift to the campaign, or if you have a family foundation that would be interested in supporting the campaign, please contact the Advancement Office.
  • What will my gift support?

    Campaign gifts will support a building plan for a two-story structure situated on the west side of the central courtyard that includes open-concept elements and a flexible configuration. From robotics to music recording, and artificial intelligence to film production, HALO will facilitate and support learning in a collaborative, cross-disciplinary environment. While we envision that there will be permanent fixtures in the space, such as perhaps an engineering or music lab, most of the space will otherwise be built to accommodate any number of activities with the use of mobile carts, and moveable walls, fixtures and equipment.
  • What is the expected contribution from each family?

    This exciting, transformative initiative is happening here first! No other Austin area high school will have anything comparable to ours — a separate, dedicated facility for students to explore their own interests; learn to use tools and materials, both physical and virtual, and develop creative projects – high tech or no tech! We encourage all families to make a meaningful contribution at a level that is most suitable. Gifts to the campaign should be based on your ability to give and belief in the mission of St. Michael’s. Making St. Michael’s a philanthropic priority will ensure the success of this campaign.
  • Are there naming opportunities?

    Named gift opportunities are available. Please mention your interest to the Advancement Office, or use the materials provided to you to indicate your preference.
  • How will you recognize my gift?

    Publicly acknowledging gifts to the campaign via signage and marketing materials is a meaningful way for the School to recognize donors. While some donors prefer to remain anonymous, many others appreciate being honored for their gift as a way to inspire others to participate.
  • Our family is not in a position to make a large gift. Should we still participate in the campaign?

    Absolutely! We hope to have 100 percent of our families pledge a gift to the HALO campaign, regardless of the size of the gift. Every contribution really does matter. High levels of participation from parents, alumni and faculty can help the school raise additional grants from foundations and corporations to support our campaign.
  • Does the School accept gifts of stock, insurance, charitable trusts or corporate matching gifts programs?

    Yes. Gifts such as appreciated securities, insurance or trusts provide tax incentives for donors and can make gifts go further. Additionally, many companies match their employees' charitable gifts, making a gift grow even larger. Please contact the Advancement Office for more information.
  • Are gifts to The HALO campaign tax deductible?

    Yes. St. Michael’s Catholic School meets the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, Section 501(c)(3). Donors should check with their financial professionals regarding tax deductibility.
  • My child is graduating and won't ever use this space. Why should I contribute?

    In the Upper Commons, a statement above our donor acknowledgment panel reads, “Sometimes a few people can change the lives of many.” It was no more than a handful of individuals who brought St. Michael’s to life in Austin. With their conviction and foresight, these founders forged a new model of a Catholic high school — an independent, exclusively 9th - 12th grade institution with diocesan ties — that would rank as a top-tier secondary school. St. Michael’s is top tier, and it is incumbent on all of us to maintain that position for future generations.
  • How does the capital campaign differ from the Crusader Fund?

    Funds raised by the Crusader Fund each year support our current year annual operating expenses, including tuition assistance, faculty professional development, and academic and athletic programming. A capital campaign, on the other hand, raises funds for a major capital investment, such as a new building, extensive remodeling, or endowment.
  • Will I be asked to support the Crusader Fund during the capital campaign?

    Yes. Even during a capital campaign, the ongoing expenses to operate will continue to require the support of the Crusader Fund. Because tuition covers only a portion of the operating budget, annual giving remains vital to the life of our school. St. Michael’s uses a financial model that combines tuition and charitable donations to balance the school’s operating budget. Used by many of the United States most successful independent schools, this model designates that 80-90% of operating costs are covered by Tuition and Fees and the remaining 10-20% of operating costs are covered by donations.
Advancement Task Force
Jarrett Anderson
Laura Duggan
Leah Esparza
Steve Felice
Bob Hymson
Sara Blake Jernigan
Tim Kane
Bill McMeans
Terry Modoff
Dawn Nichols
Joanne Senn
Jessica Shafran
Heidi Sloan
 
Campaign Planning Committee
Jarrett Anderson
Chris Dolce
Leah Esparza
Tim Keyes
Terry Modoff
Dawn Nichols

HALO Advisory Pods

Health/Medical
  • Todd Biederman
  • Lori Brisbin
  • Pepe Martinez
  • Matthew Meigs
Technology/Business Accelerator
  • Tom Cerovski
  • Steve Felice
  • Brian Modoff
  • Brian Senn
  • Alan Topfer
  • Russell White
Music/Film
 
Law/Legislative Affairs
  • Lisa Lucero