Renewing Catholic Schools: How to Regain a Catholic Vision in a Secular Age
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Catholic education remains one of the most compelling expressions of the Church's mission to form disciples. Despite decades of decline in the number of schools and students, many Catholic schools have been experiencing renewal by returning to the great legacy of the Catholic tradition. Renewing Catholic Schools offers an overview of the reasons behind this renewal and practical suggestions for administrators, clergy, teachers, and parents on how to begin the process of reinvigoration.
Co-authors Andrew Seeley, R. Jared Staudt, Elisabeth Sullivan, Rosemary Vander Weele, and Michael Van Hecke provide an overarching vision and practical guidance on renewing schools. The book begins by situating Catholic education within the Church's mission. Fidelity to Catholic mission and identity, including a commitment to the fulness of truth, provides the fundamental mark for the true success of Catholic education. The Catholic intellectual tradition, in particular, established by figures such as Augustine, Boethius, and Aquinas, can continue to direct Catholic schools, providing a depth of vision to overcome today's educational crisis.
To transcend the now dominant secular model of education, Catholic schools can align their curriculum more closely to the Catholic tradition. One touchpoint comes from Archbishop Michael Miller's The Holy See's Teaching on Catholic Schools, which the book explores as a source for practical guidance. It also offers a Catholic vision for curriculum, examining the full range of subjects from gymnasium, the fine arts, the liberal arts, literature, history, and catechesis, all of which lead to a well-formed graduate, inspired by beauty, attune to truth, and ordered toward the good.
Finally, the book provides a practical vision for renewing the school through the formation of teachers, creation of a school community, and by offering suggestions for implementation of a stronger Catholic mission and philosophy of education. The teacher, ultimately, should strive to teach like Jesus, while the community should joyfully embody the school's mission, making it a lived reality. The book concludes with examples of Catholic schools that have successfully undergone renewal.