Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Catholic High School Honor Roll?

The Catholic High School Honor Roll is a membership organization, available to Catholic high schools throughout the United States, who share in the desire to strengthen the Catholic identity in their programs.  


What happened to the Top 50 Honor Roll from 2012?

That program now exists under the name of the Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards and is a component of the Catholic High School Honor Roll. In the past, the Top 50 Honor Roll operated every two years with the last Honor Roll recognition taking place in 2012. The Top 50 Honor Roll will continue under the name of the “Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards” in the spring of 2014. It will still impose the same stringent standards as the past Honor Rolls. One difference will be that the schools will no longer be compared to one another, with the program now adopting a set of objective standards that focus specifically on Catholic identity. Top schools will be recognized under this program.


What are the Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards?

The Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards is a biennial recognition of America’s Catholic high schools who demonstrate strong Catholic identity in the areas of Institutional identity, Governance & Administration, Faculty and Academics, and Student Life. The list will be published and publicized nationally, and a resource for parents, schools, and donors. A school’s recognition not only distinguishes a school for its commitment to Catholic identity, but as one of the finest schools in the nation.


Are all Honor Roll members eligible for the Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards?

To participate in the recognition program, a high school must meet all of the requirements for membership in the Catholic High School Honor Roll and have at least 36 students in grades 9-12.


What if I don’t want to participate in the Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards? Can I still belong to the Honor Roll?

Yes, you can still be a member of the Honor Roll and enjoy its benefits because we want you to strengthen the Catholic identity of your school. We welcome all schools to become part of a national network of Catholic high schools who work together to achieve academic excellence and strengthen the Catholic identity in their schools.


What are the Benefits of membership in the Catholic High School Honor Roll?

See benefits to belonging to the Honor Roll here.


What schools are eligible to members of the Catholic High School Honor Roll?

See the eligibility requirements here.


How does a new school become a member or the Catholic High School Honor Roll work?

Schools new to the Catholic High School Honor Roll are asked to complete information on the sign-up page.  Upon receipt of a request for membership, new schools will receive a confirmation email with log on information.  Enrollment in the program is not complete until the school submits the membership application and receives confirmation from the administrative staff of the Catholic High School Honor Roll. See the process here.


Are schools who participated in the Honor Roll in previous years required to re-register?

Principals and headmasters who have previously enrolled in the Catholic High School Honor Roll receive notification to update their school’s information in the fall of 2013. They will be able to log-in as in the past and then update their information and their commitment to Catholic identity.

To ensure that schools receive all benefits associated with membership, the school must update its information annually.


What is the purpose of the optional Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards?

The Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards is designed to identify schools that demonstrate excellence in Catholic education as well and encourage and assist schools who seek to strengthen the Catholic identity in their schools. The mission of Catholic high schools is to educate students as effectively as possible in a way that integrates Catholic identity into the every aspect of its program, thereby preparing students for active engagement in the world as political, religious, and business leaders.

Having long set the benchmark for moral and academic formation, many Catholic schools now see a loss of traditional Catholic identity, a weakening of academic standards, and the support of views contrary to Church teaching. It is no surprise schools are closing, attendance is falling, and financial struggles permeate Catholic school systems throughout the country.   In some instances, Catholic schools resemble public schools that teach religion as a subject, often less than five times a week, and consider it to have the same status as other academic disciplines.

Schools that opt to enter the Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards (available in spring 2014) will complete a set of questions related to four dimensions associated with Catholic identity: Institutional Identity, Governance and Administration, Faculty and Academics, and Student Life. Items on the recognition application will be used to evaluate schools and recognize those Catholic high schools which demonstrate a commitment to the teachings of the Church surrounding Catholic education.


What has been the impact of the Catholic Honor Roll?

Since the Honor Roll’s inception in 2004, schools have found that the Honor Roll is a great incentive for improvement. To aid this, all applicant schools receive a detailed, comprehensive assessment offering feedback and detailing its strengths and weaknesses.

The best schools are highlighted to inspire imitation and encouragement among all schools. By examining the four dimensions of Catholic identity, the Honor Roll calls on all Catholic schools to scrutinize themselves in relation to the Church’s educational calling.

Schools participating in the Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards find its publicity powerful. Use of recognition associated with the program enables schools to tell the country that they excel at defying the trend. Since the program began in 2004, over 200 media stories – in major newspapers, magazines and on TV and the radio – have highlighted the fact that these schools have earned this distinction and are remaining faithful to their calling. Even more, schools use the Honor Roll to promote and strengthen themselves, all because the bar has been held high and they are proud to have risen to the occasion.


Can the public see school’s evaluations?

No. Due to the nature of the Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards, we make a promise to schools that each evaluation will be kept private.


I am a new principal of a school which was previously enrolled, how do I log on?

Log on information is assigned to the Head of School/Principal and does not change. If there is a change in leadership at a previously enrolled school, and the log on information has not been transferred to the new administrator, information can be obtained by contacting the administrative staff at the Catholic High School Honor Roll HonorRoll@CardinalNewmanSociety.org.


Where can I locate good resources to help me improve the Catholic identity of my school?

The administrative staff of the Catholic High School Honor Roll, in conjunction with The Cardinal Newman Society, has spent the past eighteen months compiling resources that focus on Catholic identity in high schools.  Our website has been redesigned with this purpose in mind. We will continue to research and seek input from our network of Catholic high schools to share best practices associated with strengthening Catholic identity.


Who manages the Catholic High School Honor Roll?

The Acton Institute founded the Honor Roll in 2004 and managed it through the 2010 recognition cycle. The Cardinal Newman Society became the managers of the Honor Roll in 2012.


Why does the Honor Roll evaluate more than just Academics?

A common misconception about the Honor Roll is that it is an academic competition for Catholic schools. Pope John Paul II reminded a group of American bishops during their 2004 ad limina visit. “It is of utmost importance, therefore, that the Church's institutions be genuinely Catholic: Catholic in their self-understanding and Catholic in their identity.”

There are many schools with strong academic reputations but lack a strong (if any) Catholic identity. . We believe a program where Catholic identity integrated into all areas of a school’s program is a better measure of the overall quality of a Catholic school. If you have a strong Catholic identity you have strong academics because the Catholic identity of the school is woven into the academics.


Why is my high school missing from the Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards?

Regardless of the constituency (alumni, parents, board, etc…) this is one of the most common questions we are asked.  This is a valid question with our response being, “The school you to which you are inquiring about did not apply to be part of the Catholic High School Honor Roll Schools of Excellence Awards.” Each year we invite all Catholic high schools to participate, now both in membership in the Catholic High School Honor roll and the optional Schools of Excellence Awards.


How much does it cost to participate in the Honor Roll?

There is no cost or obligation attached to applying for membership in the Catholic Honor Roll Honor Roll or participation in the optional Schools of Excellence Awards. It is a free resource from The Cardinal Newman Society for Catholic high schools as well as parents.
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