The spiritual mission of Jesus Christ is the reason Catholic Schools exists. 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. The foundation of faith around which academic programs exist permeates every aspect of the school day and continues beyond it. This faith-filled environment instills high degrees of self-confidence, self-respect, and self-discipline among students.
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.
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. 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.
We are committed to continuous improvement in this critical mission of our schools. 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. ACRE measures students’ knowledge about their faith and offers opportunities for students to answer questions related to religious beliefs, practices, and perceptions.
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. Overall, seventeen percent of students who attend Catholic Schools are from other faith traditions.
Service learning opportunities are part of the curriculum of several Catholic Schools. 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.
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. 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. Each year students in Catholic Schools clock hundred of thousands of hours of community service.