Distinctiveness of the Catholic School
(The Catholic School Trustee: Service & Stewardship in Christ, OCSTA. 1997)
Despite their commonalities, a Catholic school differs from a public school in both foundation and substance.
Catholic schools have the rights to provide religious instruction, to teach Christian moral values, and to display religious symbols. The Catholic school is an integral part of the Church’s mission to evangelize youth. Catholic parents freely choose to send their children to Catholic schools with the full expectation that they will be socialized into a faith community in which a Christ-centred approach is central to instruction in all subject areas.
Catholic schools develop in our youth a love of God and people, and appreciation of prayer and a moral foundation to help them as they journey through life. Catholic schools provide a complete academic program in an environment that integrates learning, religious instruction, gospel values, and spiritual formation into all aspects of the curriculum. The Catholic school is a faith community in which spirituality and practice of faith are lived out in the daily experiences of staff and students.
Formal teaching of our Catholic faith occurs through the Religious and Family Life Education programs. Religious instruction is not confined, however, to specific periods on a timetable. Subjects which deal with social issues, moral values, ethical decision-making and the impact of technological advances – i.e. history, science, environmental science, literature, economics and technology – are approached and taught from our Catholic beliefs, traditions and practices.
Spiritual formation is nurtured by the environment of the classroom and school. It is a place where religious symbols are displayed and respected and expressions of prayer, scripture, and liturgy are part of daily life. It is important, therefore, that trustees, supervisory personnel, individuals in positions of responsibility, and the teaching staff understand, are committed to, and exemplify the vision of Catholic education.
Our unique character is in our vision of stewardship, extending God’s presence into society. It is our hope that our graduates will be transformers of society. By their presence and by their faith they continue the mission of our schools and help to bring the Good News to all.