Each year, January is a month packed full of New Year’s resolutions and quiet reflection, but this winter month also highlights the importance of Catholic education in the United States. The 48th annual National Catholic Schools Week celebration takes place January 30 to February 5, 2022.
During National Catholic Schools Week, it’s prime time for Catholic schools to celebrate through various Masses, open houses, service projects and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and community members. Keeping this year’s theme in mind – “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service,” – there are several reasons why Catholic education is important now more than ever.
Safe, Caring Community
Especially during the continuing global pandemic, parents everywhere are seeking a safe and caring school environment for their child(ren). A Catholic school community ensures that your child will be taught the same Catholic values that they learn at home – have reverence for every person, treat others as you would want to be treated and live as Jesus did to help those in need. Many people view choosing a Catholic school as an extension of their families.
High Quality Academics and Spiritual Guidance
According to two studies released last spring from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), every year for the last 20 years, Catholic schools have outperformed public schools on NAEP tests – reading, math, science, computer literacy, geography and history. Catholic school students also in grades 4 and 8 are outperforming their public-school peers in math, reading, and science. Additionally, Catholic schools produce a higher percentage of high school graduates who go on to attend a four-year college and also typically see higher national graduation rates. Catholic school students, while also gaining a high-quality education, benefit from the spiritual teachings of the Catholic church, which are usually infused throughout the school day in religion classes and through active participation in serving their communities around them. In these pandemic times where our nation’s children are at a critical mental health crisis, quiet spiritual teachings and reflections can be highly beneficial.
Whole Child Education
Catholic schools place high emphasis on educating the whole child – meaning that they focus on strong academic achievement, but just as important is providing students with values and ethics that promotes the long-term development, wellbeing and success of children. Catholic schools spend time teaching children about the importance of their actions and behavior and treatment of one another as essential qualities in the learning process. Whole child instruction also aims to ensure each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.
Focuses on Serving the Community
A central benefit to Catholic education is that it devotes time to focusing on the needs of others most in need first, much like Jesus did in his own life. Especially in the age of individualism or “Me Decade” where people focus on promoting themselves, Catholic education “broadens horizons helping children think of others and promotes community service” through various volunteer nonprofit service projects, dedicated community service days or other similar programs to help people who need assistance.
While Catholic schools were once exclusively made up of Catholic children and staff, today Catholic schools include and are welcoming to all families and all religions. Many families today seek to educate their children by embracing the differences of others, by serving those in need and educating the whole child in a safe and spiritual environment while, at the same time, providing the highest academic and spiritual standards.
Click here for more information about how Oak Knoll has celebrated National Catholic Schools Week in years past.