St. Joseph Special Announcement

October 30, 2019

Dear St. Joseph Community:

There are 5 Marks Of Catholic Education: (Article by Archbishop Miller is below)

1. Inspired by a supernatural vision-“The Church sees education as a process that, in light of man’s transcendent destiny, forms the whole child and seeks to fix his or her eyes on heaven.”

2. Founded on a Christian Anthropology-“Emphasis on the supernatural destiny of students brings with it a profound appreciation of the need to perfect children in all their dimensions as images of God.”

3. Animated by Communion and Community-“The Holy See describes the school as a community in four areas: the teamwork among all those involved; the cooperation between educators and bishops; the interaction of students with teachers; and the school’s physical environment.”

4. Imbued with a Catholic Worldview throughout its Curriculum-“To be integral or complete, Catholic schooling must be constantly inspired and guided by the gospel…Catholicism is a comprehensive way of life.”

5. Sustained by Gospel Witness-“A final indicator of a school’s authentic catholicity is the vital witness of its teachers and administrators. With them lies the primary responsibility for creating a Christian school climate, as individuals and as a community.”

St. Joseph Catholic School is a wonderful community with a dedicated faculty and staff. With full support of the school leadership, Father Chris Downey, Mr. Steffens, the Advisory Board, Superintendent Mrs. Poe, Assistant Superintendent Mr. Whitworth and Bishop Vasquez, St. Joseph Catholic School has entered into a partnership with University of Dallas Classical Educational program to be the pilot school for their Kindergarten-8th grade classical education curriculum. What does this mean for our students and parents?

First, you will not see any significant changes to the curriculum this school year. The first grades that it will affect is 6th and 7th for the 2020/2021 school year. Though, as the teachers are trained in the classical model, they will implement those teaching styles within their classrooms. As the years progress, the classical curriculum will be added 1-3 grades per year.

Second, the faculty, staff, and administration, will need your support and prayers as we work on this process. It will be a lot of work for all involved, but we are excited for it and hope to have your support.

Third, you will slowly see changes in how the school functions and teaches. From adding sports, to different ways to do science, math, ELAR, etc…there will be new programs started where some will be phased out. We will keep you updated as things progress.

Our partnership with the University of Dallas Classical Education program at the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts will be significant for St. Joseph. Over the coming months and years, the University of Dallas (UD) will provide the school with substantial training, texts, and other resources either free or a substantially reduced cost. Their goal, along with our goal, is to provide the best Catholic educational experience that your students deserve. We cannot be more excited about this amazing opportunity and the potential for St. Joseph Catholic School.

You may be asking yourself, what is a Classical Education? If so, the parents guide to classical education is attached to the bottom of this letter. Additionally, on November 14th, Assistant Superintendent Rob Whitworth will present at 6:30pm in the school cafeteria on what classical education is all about.

In short though, classical education is Catholic Education. There are many definitions and misunderstanding about what classical is and what it is not, but its core is just good education, tried and true. It is aligned with the way children learn and it teaches them: How to think, how to communicate and how to understand human beings. Simply stated, students respond to God’s call! Please watch the video below by Michael Ortner.

Many people assume classical education means that students just read the classics (Plato, Socrates, etc..). Along with reading the classics, it also is a different style of teaching and learning. Students learn by knowing grammar, by thinking logically, by rhetoric or communicating. And this crosses all subject areas, not just literature, including math and science. Student learn what and why something is, not just the what. For example, students will learn about and read fairy tales. They will learn the meanings behind the stories, their history and the context in which they are written. And as C.S. Lewis writes about students, “[The fairy tale] stirs and troubles him (to his life-long enrichment) with the dim sense of something beyond his reach and, far from dulling or emptying the actual world, gives it a new dimension of depth. He does not despise real woods because he has read of enchanted woods: The reading makes all real woods a little enchanted.”

We are transitioning to the classical model because we believe it is the best educational model there is and has ever been plus it is just good Catholic education. Classic Education’s emphasis on truth, beauty, and goodness allows students to more thoroughly understand and appreciate their faith and the world around them.

Our faculty will be given resources to learn more about classical education, the scope and sequence of the curriculum, and other texts to study. Their first formal training begin on January 6th .

On November 5th, several representatives from UD will be on campus touring the school and talking to various individuals. We are planning a big welcoming event for them.

The entire school leadership is very excited about this partnership with the University of Dallas and expect great things for our school and students.

Introduction to Classical Education

Michael Ortner - From Greeks to Geeks: The Classical Liberal Arts as the Best Foundation for STEM