Answering the Call
Catholic education is in crisis. But it is also in renewal. Because while many schools are struggling to stay open, many others are thriving. It is not a mystery why: Catholic schools succeed when they are authentically Catholic. This means they:
Reject the utilitarian goals and methods of modern, secular schools.
Restore the intellectual and sacramental traditions of the Church.
Embrace an understanding of humanity—of man’s nature and purpose—from a Christian perspective.
Authentically Catholic schools prioritize the cultivation of faith, wonder, and virtue over the more common concerns of college and career readiness. They provide a joyful environment where “learning becomes an adventure to discover wondrous connections and order in the world God made, and to understand our unique vocation in this particular time and place.” They spend less money per pupil and fewer instructional hours in the classroom than most modern schools. And yet, they perform better on the very metrics that shape the (soul-crushing) assessment-driven dynamics that pervade modern education.
Catholic education should not be in crisis—not when successful Catholic schools reveal how to reverse current trends.
St. Teresa of Calcutta said,
Wherever God has put you, that is your vocation.
Saint John Paul II said,
Do not forget that when the Lord calls, He also provides the necessary strength and grace to answer His call.
This Playbook can be used by all people who have been “put” in a Catholic school, including:
Parents embarking on an education journey with their children.
Educators eager to be part of a renewal at their school.
School leaders motivated to strengthen all aspects of their school, and especially to grow enrollment and restore the Catholicity of their school.
Pastors, superintendents, and board members committed to serving school families.
May all people entrusted with the education and formation of God’s children have the strength and grace to answer His call.
* The schools and school leaders featured in Catholic School Playbook are not perfect. No institution composed of humans could possibly be. As such, all schools involve some level of dysfunction. The inclusion of a particular school or individual should not be interpreted as an endorsement of all aspects of that school or individual. That being said, we are delighted by the success of the schools included herein and all schools at the forefront of the renewal movement. We are deeply grateful to the individuals who have shared their stories with us knowing that doing so would invite scrutiny. If you have any concerns, or if you know of other Catholic schools that should be part of this project, please tell us. Thank you and God bless you.