We teach the whole child. We provide a well-rounded education. These are just some of the declarations many schools, public and private, share with their communities. What I find interesting about such statements is how few schools can actually support these claims. Instead, many schools merely emphasize their academic initiatives and achievements to support the notion of attending to the whole child. Test scores rule the day and are used to define school excellence. But academic excellence alone falls far short of a well-rounded education.
Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service is the 2017 theme for Catholic Schools Week. In that theme resides the respect and recognition of a well-rounded education. Knowledge acquisition is certainly an important outcome of any school, public or private. Our Catholic schools impart quality teaching and foster strong learning across a diverse student body, and we have the metrics to support that claim. But Catholic education does not stop at successfully educating the mind. Fostering a community of faith is core to our mission in Catholic education. Nurturing students to embrace a life of prayer and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ brings them into a community of faith. Yet having faith and a strong academic mind still falls short of a well-rounded education. As Catholics, we are called to serve others, as Jesus did. A well-rounded education, therefore, encourages students to live out the Gospel message each day by serving those in need, for the betterment of their communities and society.
An education that tends to the mind, heart, and soul of students, while empowering them to be Christian leaders who promote justice, is a well-rounded education. An education rooted in faith, knowledge, and service is one which teaches the whole child. When a child attends Catholic school, this is the type of well-rounded education he or she enjoys.
Welcome to Catholic Schools Week 2017, and God bless all of you for the many ways you support our schools, our mission, and our 19,838 wonderful students!
Superintendent of Catholic Schools, Archdiocese of Omaha