January 27 to February 2 is National Catholic Schools Week – a joint project of the National Catholic Education Association and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The theme for the week is “Catholic Schools Raise the Standards.” The theme supports the recent launch of the “National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools.” These benchmarks ensure the effective operation and responsible governance of Catholic schools across the country, thus promoting high academic standards and Catholic identity.
Of the 132,656 private and public schools in the U.S., 6,980 are Catholic elementary or secondary schools. Educators, parents, and community leaders routinely highlight three benefits of a Catholic education.
- Children are taught faith—not just the basics of Christianity, but how to have a relationship with God.
- Academics, which in Catholic schools are held to very high standards, help each child reach his or her potential.
- Service, the giving of one’s time and effort to help others, is taught both as an expression of faith and good citizenship.
Catholic schools are noting the week through special Masses, open houses, and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and the community. The Catholic University of America will commemorate Catholic Schools Week during the Mass of St. Thomas Aquinas at 12:10 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29. The Mass will be broadcast live by EWTN.
This week marks not only National Catholic Schools Week, but also National School Choice Week, across the country.
School choice advocates and organizations, parents and students are celebrating in a variety of ways. National School Choice Week provides a concentrated focus on mission-effective education options for every child. Schools and grassroots networks, including many Catholic schools, are hosting more than 3,500 events in their regions to highlight the importance of school choice, and to bring media attention to the issue.
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