Catholic Schools Onward
Best Practices and New Opportunities as We Move Forward
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(Please note that as current information becomes available this page will be updated – 08.25.2021.)
Excellence in education is characterized by having a strong curriculum, student engagement, utilizing quality instructional methods, making good use of data and regular communication with parents and stakeholders. What is at the heart of learning in a Catholic school is the inclusion of faith and Catholic identity in all we do.
Catholic schools have a two-fold charge: providing an education that is academically excellent and one that is deeply rooted in Catholic identity. The challenge, then, is to ensure that the education that is delivered (no matter what the mode of delivery) meets this standard.
- There has to be a level of intentionality across all grade levels and all subject matter that course content is intentionally Catholic.
- Schools will need to follow the clergy office recommendation regarding school Masses in relation to the appropriate social distancing.
- Attendance of parents and general community at the school liturgies may have to be suspended depending on local guidelines. If the Mass is live-streamed, parents and families should be invited to attend.
- Because of social distancing, part of the school may attend the Mass and the rest of the school live stream the Mass to make a spiritual Communion.
- Provide opportunities for daily prayer in a community.
- All schools across the diocesan community should include the prayer of Pope Francis daily.
- Support and make modifications to other faith-based activities that are important in the life of the school (i.e., retreats, prayer services).
- Increase opportunities for cross-grade faith sharing using virtual means (i.e., prayer buddies meeting virtually).
- Begin all lessons with prayer, including soliciting prayer intentions from students.
- Support the faith life of faculty and staff through community prayer and scripture study.
- Invite parents and families to join in virtual prayer and faith life.
- Connect the current events with a Catholic perspective (using the tenets of Catholic Social Teaching, the Virtues, etc.) as a framework to support understanding.
- Ensure the presence of the pastor in new school configurations.
- Reinforce the role of the principal in the faith life of the school.
- Create approaches to minister to families who experience food insecurity, financial issues, and other crises.
- Promote service learning experiences in virtual spaces.
- Find opportunities in the current situation that would lend themselves to a community response (acknowledgements and prayers for police, first responders, holding food drives, etc.) .
- Maintain Catholic Identity in the school environment:
- Make sure that every classroom has a prayer corner, crucifix, statues, bulletin boards reflecting faith values.
- Laminate the prayer or Pope Francis during the COVID and Prayer of St. Michael and put in a prominent place in the school and classrooms.
- Restore practices of having a class patron.
- Keep in focus the Standards for Ministerial Behavior.
The Prayer of Pope Francis during the Coronavirus
Lord, may you bless the world, give health to our bodies and comfort our hearts. You ask us not to be afraid. Yet our faith is weak and we are fearful. But you, Lord, will not leave us at the mercy of the storm. Tell us again: “Do not be afraid” (Mt 28:5). And we, together with Peter, “cast all our anxieties onto you, for you care about us” (1 Pet 5:7). Amen.
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