According to a Catholic school principal, restructuring of parishes and schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has forced an important evaluation: Why do Catholic Schools matter?
Brian Ragatz, principal at Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary School, offered four reasons at the Catholic Schools Week Mass at the Maplewood parish. Here’s the executive summary:
» Learning matters.
There is statistical evidence of the value of a Catholic education, but it is not about statistics. It is about learning.
“We do not simply deliver information to children; we teach children, and we teach them how to learn. We teach to the child, not to the book, not to the class, and certainly, not to the standardized test. Presentation has high standards that push children to reach their potential and beyond. The only way this is possible is because teachers, principal and pastor know the children.”
» Safety matters.
Catholic schools offer a community that looks after each other. Just about every teacher knows every student. “We know who is who and where they should be. Our teachers work as a team to make sure each child is safe.”
» Character matters.
Education goes beyond the classroom to include integrity and providing a moral compass to make good decisions.
» Faith matters.
The most important aspect, faith, is the cornerstone of life and therefore the most important aspect of a Catholic education.
“Without it, personal successes and achievements have little relevance.
“With it, you realize that your successes and achievements are not only for you, but should be shared with others; with your family, friends, teachers, homeless and homebound, just as Jesus taught us. We teach this type of stewardship in every grade.”