We are called to this great responsibility. “The first responsibility of the Catholic school teacher or leader is to live the faith him or herself … (students’) understanding of the faith is rooted in the culture of the school, which makes this real for them.”. For the past four years, the archdiocese has also utilized Cardinal Stritch University’s “Sustaining the Mission” program, a “systematic and highly quality-controlled program of theological formation for all Catholic school teachers and principals,” said Cepelka. A Catholic School is Driven by its Mission A successful Catholic School is driven by its mission – and its mission needs to be something explicitly Christian and unapologetically Catholic. Some interesting facts about Catholic schools are: There are 6,568 Catholic schools in America. It is this emphasis on mindful service that Quesnell identifies as a foundation for “the faith-based environment that inspires a different culture within the building” at DSHA. Total number of registered seniors in August 2017: 1,470, Total number of graduates in May 2018: 1,453, Total number of National Merit Semi-Finalists: 20, Total number of National Merit Finalists: 19, Total number of National Merit Commended Students: 20, Total Number of National Merit Special Scholarships: 11, Total number of Governor’s Scholars: 53 (For rising seniors in summer of 2018; Class of 2019), Total number of students in Governor’s School for the Arts: 14 (For rising seniors in the summer of 2018; Class of 2019), Total number of scholarships received: 3,727, Total dollar value of scholarships: $167.1 million, Total estimated value of KEES awards received: $7 million, Percentage of graduates furthering their education: 98%, Percentage of graduates entering the workforce: 2%, Percentage of graduates who are undecided: 0%, Total number of service hours contributed by seniors in the 2017-18 academic year: 55,480, Overall number of service hours contributed by high school students: 195,420, Average* ACT score: 24.8** (99% of students took the ACT). Catholic school and what makes it distinctive. We teach them through the Catholic faith that all they do in life is greater with love. The work rests on the following question. Fr. These skills improve the quality of learning and life of young people and the communities in which they learn and grow. “In other words, if we want to look at what the Kingdom of God is like, that’s what the Catholic school should be: living the Gospel.”. Visible evidence of faith fills the Catholic school environment. All aspects of the Catholic school (curriculum, relationships, priorities, aims, objectives, pastoral care, discipline) have the potential to speak of God’s loving care for each individual involved in the school’s life. Catholics need to learn and remember the teachings of the faith. Effective Catholic school leaders 1. 3. This spiritual mission is carried out in many ways—regular classroom instruction, weekly school liturgies, prayer experiences, sacramental preparation, retreats, service learning, and extracurricular activities. The structures will be located “right at the heart of the school,” said principal Dan Quesnell. Catholic Schools and the Common Good, was pubUshed in 1993. 4. Our students discover their greatest potential is not reflected simply by high test scores, but at the intersection of their God-given gifts, the desire to learn, and service to others. Though not all teachers employed by the archdiocese are Catholic, Cepelka said, “there is an expectation that, if at all possible, teachers are Catholic.” Regardless of their faith background, all teachers must have basic certification in religion. What do we mean by the Catholic school curriculum, how is it distinctive and how does it reflect the overall Ultimately, a Catholic education should prepare students to be good stewards of God’s gifts and active people of faith who serve others, participate in their faith and civic communities, and make a … Jesus Christ is the reason Catholic Schools exists. But to live the Gospel is no simple feat, and Cepelka knows that. In the Rule of the Brothers of the Christian Schools , the Institute states its ultimate mission as follows: This knowledge-based quality is especially important for Catholic schools … So academic standards are important as part of a rounded education. Also know what good governance and family engagement look like. Together, we guide our students on a sacred journey and mold them in their most formative years with the profound understanding that they are a reflection of their experiences. The distinctive nature of Catholic schools is evident in relation to •Employment –Governors (Academy Committee) appoint and employ all school staff. We nurture this potential with reverence, encouragement, and discipline. •Pupil Admissions –Governors and the Admissions authority. Our school is a community of learning with a distinctive educational philosophy which is based on the Gospels which permeate all its activities. Yet, that is what they are asked to do in a Catholic school.”. Know the business of schools. There is no one element to Catholic education, she said, that makes it truly “Catholic.” A crucifix on the wall and a passively taught religion class is not enough. Ensuring the distinctive Catholic character of the school . That theme emerged from recent media coverage of educational issues that incorporated voices from the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). We have learned that “Excellence in Academics” and “Fostering Catholic Values” is insufficient for the mission of a … Spirituality. Together with you, we teach every student who embarks on this sacred journey how to wield their intelligence, compassion, and spiritual conviction throughout the rest of their lives to make their home, community, and world a better place. One of the tools that we use to measure the impact of religious education is the Assessment of Catholic Religious Education (ACRE), a nationally-normed questionnaire that is administered annually to students in grades 5, 8 and 11. Catholic schools are also active, collegial members of national and regional associations and have the liberty and wisdom to avoid faddish trends while focusing on core skills, content-rich curricula, and measurable student achievement. What makes a Catholic school Catholic? After all, there are 32,000 students – 32,000 souls – entrusted to the care of Cepelka and the archdiocese’s schools. Rebecca Anderson, right, a senior at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School and member of Christ King Parish, Wauwatosa, works with Emma Viergutz, a student at St. Coletta Day School, Milwaukee, on Friday, Jan. 23. Ethos is the characteristic belief and spirit of a community. 5. DSHA requires its students to complete a full credit of service before graduation. This faith-filled environment instills high degrees of self-confidence, self-respect, and self-discipline among students. Secular education seeks to make more successful and intelligent people. (catholic schools: thier…: what makes a catholic school distinctive? 99% of students who attend a Catholic high school graduate. What makes the Catholic school distinctive is its attempt to generate a community climate in the school that is permeated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and love. What sets an institution of Christian learning apart from its peers, making it more than just a private school named after a saint, with a priest on staff?All Saints School, Kenosha, students pray during a city-wide Catholic school Mass to kick off Catholic Schools Week, Monday, Jan. 26, at St. Joseph Catholic Academy, Kenosha. And this mission is supported by educators who are committed to fulfilling the teaching mission of Jesus Christ and who offer spiritual guidance in a faith-based environment. Spirituality in the Catholic school is a search for God. Instead, Cepelka believes the secret to authentic Catholic education consists of four essential parts, and she relies on her staff and the principals of the 99 elementary schools and 14 high schools in the archdiocese to ensure that each day, all four standards are met. Together, we guide our students on a sacred journey and mold them in their most formative years with the profound understanding that they are a reflection of their experiences. 60% of seniors enrolled in college-level courses. What makes the Catholic school distinctive is its religious dimension, and that this is to be found in a) the educational climate, b) the personal development of each student, c) the relationship established between culture and the Gospel, d) the illumination of all knowledge with the light of faith. As the curtain fell on another school year and the children, beaming in neat white-and-blue uniforms, waited to receive their awards, the pastor led everyone in calling upon the Lord. It tries to guide the adolescents in such a way that personality development goes hand in hand with the development of the "new creature" that each one has become through baptism. The video is intended for students and teachers at New Zealand Catholic schools. This means that in addition to providing rigorous academic curricula, Catholic schools actively work with students to build their moral development and shape them into good citizens. We attend Mass at least weekly and participate in the sacrament of confession twice a year.” During Lent, a class “gives up” recess and attends adoration in its place. What makes Catholic schools distinctive, however, is that the values that underpin the curriculum explicitly arise from the teachings of Jesus, because Christ is the foundation of the whole educational enterprise. This faith-filled environment instills high degrees of self-confidence, self-respect, and self-discipline among students. Each year students in Catholic Schools clock hundred of thousands of hours of community service. In our care, they receive a strong spiritual foundation and an education that guides them for the rest of their lives. The systematic promotion and facilitation of positive relationships at school has been identified by many researchers as a core component for improving student wellbeing, enhancing school culture, preventing school violenc… (The Sacred Congregation for Catholic Education; 1977: n.34) Our Promise: Know and love children and can inspire faculty and families with their passion and sense of purpose. The National Congress on Catholic Schools for the 21st Century was held in 1991. “The best way we learn is to imitate, to see before us an example of what we are told about, and so there’s the quote that’s attributed to St. Francis: preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words,” she said. The sacrament of reconciliation is held twice a year, and every day “begins and ends with prayer,” said Ruedinger, adding, “We embrace and celebrate the differences that set us apart from a public school.”. 1990. A fourth distinctive characteristic of … Catholic school teachers, our most treasured resources, realize how demanding but also how privileged is their call to explicitly teach and tirelessly model, for their students and each other, what it means to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What makes a Catholic school Catholic? As students mature within the supportive environment of Catholic schools, they are challenged by their faith to take their gifts and give back to the broader community. A Catholic education is seen as more than just an accumulation of scholarly achievements; rather, it is the formation that each student merits as a child of God, made in his image and likeness. Service learning opportunities are part of the curriculum of several Catholic Schools. The spiritual mission of Jesus Christ is the reason Catholic Schools exists. Students at All Saints, Kenosha, submit their prayer intentions on a daily basis, said Lichter. What Makes A Catholic School Catholic? But are we always? Of those students, 86% attend a four year college. Catholic schools seek to provide not only a high-quality academic and vocational education giving due emphasis to the fundamental literacy and numeracy skills required for both learning and life, but also a faith and values based holistic education for all their students. The curriculum is seen as a unity in which religious and secular elements cannot be separated. This is part of a much wider discussion at home and abroad. (Catholic Herald photo by Allen Fredrickson)As part of Divine Savior Holy Angels’ Building on Our Faith capital campaign, construction is about to start on a chapel and campus ministry center. “Teaching children to see the world through the eyes of Jesus Christ is our mission,” she said. Catholic schools believe in developing the whole person. Reverence for Scripture and Tradition—Yes, there really is a core of Catholic knowledge and belief, and we must continue to hold up the bar. We attend Stations of the Cross … and read the Scripture of the day during Lent and Advent. The total Catholic school student enrollment for the current academic year is 1.9 million. In Christian schools, everything is Christ-centered with prayers and religious practices being part of the educational process. “I like to say that the Catholic school really should be a microcosm of the Kingdom of God,” she said. We invite all families to entrust their children to our care and join a community of dedicated educators, parents, and advocates. It is attentive to the needs of each individual child. Colin MacLeod, the director of NCRS, discusses what he believes should be distinctive about Catholic schools. Living Faith Students visit non-profit organizations and civic and governmental institutions to learn about systems, how to be good citizens, and how to advocate for their beliefs. Together with you, we teach every student who embarks on this sacred journey how to wield their intelligence, compassion, and spiritual conviction throughout the rest of their lives to make their home, community, and world a better place. Catholic schools are not exam factories but more like gardens where young people’s physical, moral and intellectual development is tended to with care and diligence. The governing body is your employer and your contract is a national CBA is accountable to the Diocese of Trenton for the authentic way it educates students in the Catholic faith, but otherwise, its governance allows a unique educational vision to find expression. “It is my belief that this begins with me.”, A former theology teacher, Lichter stresses the importance of “intentional faith formation” not only for her students but for her teaching faculty as well, for whom she provides “mini-retreats” that center on prayer and studying. Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki celebrated the Mass. “We pause when an ambulance goes by and say mini-prayers. “And that difference is what makes us special as we walk daily in the steps of the Lord.”, 3501 S. Lake Drive Milwaukee, WI 53235-0913, 3501 South Lake Drive PO Box 070912 Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912, Email the Catholic Herald at catholicherald@archmil.org. DSHA students are required to complete a credit of service prior to graduation, including a two-week service immersion experience called Vocare. Imbued with a Catholic Worldview throughout its Curriculum. “The school hands on the legacy of Catholicism to its students and is faithful to the message of Jesus Christ as it is handed down by the Catholic Church.”. (Catholic Herald photo by Allen Fredrickson). The Christian educator aspires to nothing less than the transformation of a believer into the image of Christ. Catholic schools make unique contributions within the U.S. educational system—with the help of expertise and engagement from diverse sources. Bryk, Lee, and Holland's study of Catholic high schools. As students mature within the supportive environment of Catholic schools, they are challenged by their faith to take their gifts and give back to the broader community. 2. Know mission, ministry, and the unique and awesome power of a community infused with faith and values. Service learning opportunities are part of the curriculum of several Catholic Schools. An Incarnational View of the World. This is the framework which guarantees the distinctive Catholic character of the school. Jim Lobacz blesses an All Saints School, Kenosha, student during a city-wide Catholic school Mass to kick off Catholic Schools Week, Monday, Jan. 26, at St. Joseph Catholic Academy, Kenosha. This culminates in Vocare, a two-week service immersion experience instituted last year. Being Catholic means being people for others. What characterises a Catholic school is a commitment to the formation of the whole person. What sets an institution of Christian learning apart from its peers, making it more than just a private school named after a saint, with a priest on staff? Distinctive Nature of a Catholic School The School owes its existence and special character to the fact that it was established by the Church to nurture Christ’s kingdom in its children and through the nature of its teaching in all subjects, to bring them to a deeper knowledge of and belief in God and a … “We recently installed holy water fonts in each wing of our building, and the children are encouraged to mark themselves with this reminder of their baptisms,” he said, adding that the school also “proudly displays crucifixes, statues of Mary, and many sacred images and sculptures.”. We invite all families to entrust their children to our care and join a community of dedicated educators, parents, and advocates. Cepelka urges that Catholic schools be a place where prayer and the sacraments are “regular – part of the culture, the fabric of daily life.”, At Christ Child Academy, Mass and eucharistic adoration are celebrated on a weekly basis, and students are allowed to pray in the day chapel following all school Masses. Catholic schools place a strong emphasis on the social and emotional well-being of students, teaching fundamental skills necessary for wellbeing and life effectiveness. How Much of The Re Curriculum Is Given to The Teaching of Other religions? 73. It is this requirement, said Cepelka, that illuminates the whole purpose of Catholic education. First and foremost is the requirement that Catholic schools accredited by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee place heavy emphasis on the instruction of the particulars of the Catholic faith. what makes a catholic school distinctive? Ultimately, a Catholic education should prepare students to be good stewards of God’s gifts and active people of faith who serve others, participate in their faith and civic communities, and make a difference in the world. For Mark Ruedinger, principal at Christ Child Academy, Sheboygan, it is important the culture of Catholicism be manifested in physical symbols his students will recognize. We instill in them a pride in their efforts and celebrate their echoing achievements. The thirst for knowledge leads … Overall, fourteen percent of students who attend Catholic Schools are from other faith traditions. “(This means) that nothing is contrary to the faith, to the way that staff and students and parents treat each other,” she said, adding that school administrators and teachers must set an example by their own faith. “In the media sometimes we’re bombarded by all of the horrible things that happen, so giving kids the ability to think about the world in the context of faith, and the hope that comes out of believing, I think is an important aspect of teenage life.”, Ruedinger said Christ Child Academy students visit residents at local nursing facilities several times a year, “bringing cheer, small gifts and song.” The students also organize an annual food drive and collect several thousands of dollars for a variety of charities during their K-8 “Penny War.”, “Our kids know we are different,” said Ruedinger. The foundation of faith around which academic programs exist permeates every aspect of the school day and continues beyond it. What Makes a Catholic School, Catholic? We promise each individual student that we serve and teach in Jesus’ name. You want what’s best for your child, whether that means their education, faith, or health. A Life to the Full Both spiritual and academic experiences in Catholic Schools enable students to deepen their relationship with Jesus, broaden their knowledge of their faith tradition, and connect their faith to daily life. We cannot say enough about this quality! ACRE measures students’ knowledge about their faith and offers opportunities for students to answer questions related to religious beliefs, practices, and perceptions. Vatican II's "Declaration on Christian Education" was clear that parents "must be recognized as the primary and principal educators" of their children. While all students are expected to participate in religious classes and services, Catholic Schools welcome students from a variety of faith traditions, and these traditions are treated with respect. “That is the essential purpose of the Catholic school.”. Catholic School students learn that God is present and active in … “Obviously, it will be a spiritual space in which we can worship, but also a symbol and a reminder of why we’re there each day,” he said. “The expectation is that each of these students, Catholic or not Catholic, is being formed to be a believer, to be a disciple,” she said. Our students discover their greatest potential is not reflected simply by high test scores, but at the intersection of their God-given gifts, the desire to learn, and service to others. Where in parish, school, or family life does this characteristic break down? During October and May, each family receives an opportunity to take home our rosary packet and pray together as a family. “Most teachers graduate from their teacher education programs not having (had) any lessons in how to form Catholic children entrusted to them in their classrooms in their faith. “It gives kids a framework to look at the world in which we live,” he said. Jackie Lichter, principal at All Saints School, Kenosha, identifies this focus on doctrine as her school’s primary function. Reprinted with permission. Our Position: Secondly, said Cepelka, a Catholic school must be “culturally Catholic – from what is on the walls to what is in the textbooks.”. •Governance –Foundation Governors (Appointed by the Archbishop) are in the minority. In this model, service activities are incorporated into the curriculum, providing real life learning, and students are encouraged to develop leadership skills and civic responsibility. Know teaching, learning, and best practices. As the superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee since 2010, it’s not surprising Kathleen Cepelka is passionate about the answer to that question. The foundation of faith around which academic programs exist permeates every aspect of the school day and continues beyond it. “The school exists, first and foremost, to advance the teaching mission of the church,” she said. (Catholic Herald photo by Ricardo Torres), “I have learned firsthand the importance of teachers needing to be ‘formed’ in their faith before they can go about the business of forming the children entrusted to them,” she said. Lastly, “the Catholic school is a place where students and faculty and staff are really formed to be of service, to not just themselves and their own community but to larger society,” said Cepelka. “What sets the Catholic school apart in that regard is people don’t just do good things – collect trash or feed the poor, which are great corporal works of mercy – but they really are brought into reflection about those actions to see how they are part of Catholic social teaching,” she said. We are committed to continuous improvement in this critical mission of our schools. Catholic Schools provide a unique environment that allows students to grow in their faith while performing at high academic levels in a community of dedicated educators, parents, and advocates. 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