Help the School Sisters of Notre Dame in Woodhaven Make a Difference: The Woodhaven Beat

Today you have an opportunity to help change someone’s life, and it won’t cost you a penny. All you need to do is tell someone you know about the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center for Women right here in Woodhaven.

Perhaps you know a woman who never got the opportunity to finish high school. That diploma can often be the key to a better future. It can open the door to better job opportunities or maybe even a promotion in a current job. Or maybe a high school diploma can even be the first step in going to college.

This September, the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center for Women will begin holding open registration for their tuition-free classes for the 2022-2023 school year. While there is a $30 fee to register, there is no fee for any of the classes or the books.If anyone has any questions the School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center for Women in Woodhaven can be reached by phone at 718-738-0588 or by email at, or you can visit their website at

To ensure the safety of all students, you must have proof of vaccination in order to attend classes at SSNDEC Woodhaven. And for all dates and times listed below, please arrive on time and wear a mask.
The School Sisters of Notre Dame Educational Center offers classes to prepare women to take the TASC (formerly the GED).

Classes begin in September 2022 and continue until June 2023. To register, come to the center (located at 87-04 88th Avenue, across from St. Thomas the Apostle Church) on Wednesday, September 14th or Thursday, September 15th between 9:30 am and 1:30 pm.These classes are for women who are 20 years of age or older; committed to working toward their high school diploma; and can attend classes from 9 am to 1:30 pm Monday through Thursday. They should also have sufficient background and reading and writing skills in English to work on the high school equivalency curriculum.

And if you know someone whose English skills need some work, or perhaps they cannot speak the language at all, the School Sisters also offer ESL (English as a Second Language) courses.Again, these classes are tuition-free and are offered on six levels, from Introductory to Level 5. Classes are scheduled between Monday and Thursday, 9 am to 3 pm (the schedule will vary depending on the level of the class).All women must take a placement test to determine the best level to begin. This test will be given on Monday, September 12th at 10am. Please do not bring children to the test. Students who take the placement test can register the very next day (Tuesday, September 13).

What a difference you could make in the life of the person you share this information with. And not only will it make a difference in the life of that person but the impact will be felt by their children and the entire family.

Changing the lives of women and their families was exactly what SSNDEC Executive Director Sister Catherine Feeney had in mind when she and her fellow sisters opened the educational center back in 2003 in Ozone Park. In those early days, the center had just over a dozen students and it was strictly a GED (high school equivalency) program.

In short order, they also saw a need for an ESL class so that they could better serve a larger segment of the community. The classes were such a hit that they soon needed to find larger quarters and that’s what brought them here to Woodhaven, taking up residence in the former convent that was the home to the nuns that taught in St. Thomas the Apostle.

After the move to Woodhaven, the School Sisters had the room to expand. And with convenient access to transportation (they are near the J train and the Q56 bus along Jamaica Ave., the Q11, Q21, Q52Ltd, Q53Ltd, and QM15 along Woodhaven Blvd. and the Q24 along Atlantic Avenue) they were able to greatly increase the number of women they could help.

Well over two thousand women have been helped by the School Sisters in the years since they opened their doors. And as a byproduct of these classes, their children and entire families are helped. As a result, this can only help improve our neighborhood.

I have been honored to witness the students of SSNDEC over the years and watch them thrive in the warm, encouraging environment provided by the teachers there. I’ve been told that many students have heard about this wonderful program through the pages of this newspaper from friends or family. Now it’s your chance to help someone!

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