Congratulations to our students, faculty and staff for being among the Top Performing Schools in the state as noted by the Indianapolis Star – 2018 Top Performing Schools in the State. Please join me in helping share the good news.
There are many measures that reflect a school’s overall performance and indicate whether they are effectively preparing students for the future. Since part of my job is to promote the schools, here are just a few stats that you might not find in the local media:
- All LCSS schools scored in the top 15% and consistently receive an A rating by the Indiana Department of Education
- Diocese of Lafayette Catholic Schools ranked #5 in Top Indiana School Districts for combined scores (Math and ELA)
- St. Mary Cathedral School ranked #7 (#1 in the area) out of 1803 schools in Indiana grades 3 through 8 for combined scores (Math and ELA)
- St. Mary Cathedral School is one of only three schools in the state (out of 1803 schools) to score 100% on the English portion
- Central Catholic was ranked #1 in the area for both Math and ELA for grade 10
- Central Catholic was ranked #12 in the state (out of 504 high schools) for combined scores (Math and ELA)
Promoting the good work of our students, teachers, administration and many volunteers is an important part of the job of the Executive Director. Inevitably when I do, I often am reminded of the aspects that I did not include. If I promote evidence of how our students or faculty are living out their faith, I am often asked why I don’t promote our academic accolades more; and when we promote our academic accolades, I sometimes get reminded of how successful our sporting teams are doing. As an Executive Director, I say that this is a good problem to have. We have so much for which to be thankful, and we sometimes do not know where to start or what to include.
Perhaps it is important to start with the root of this success. This success is rooted in our faith and our unique approach to education. It is rooted in a tradition that goes back millennia – our Catholic intellectual tradition. The Catholic intellectual tradition is a “dialogue between faith and culture” that dates back to the beginning of the Church. Catholics believe that we should educate to what is “True, Good, and Beautiful.” In the end, our goal is to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. This goal compels us as humans to seek and acquire knowledge for its own sake. We must do this for our own soul and salvation. It is how we have this “dialogue.”
In order for us to continue this timeless dialogue with our modern culture, we must continue to adapt our curriculum, instruction, and pedagogy to integrate and promote the following timeless skills and competencies (6C’s):
- Critical Thinking and Problem Solving (P21)
- Communication (P21)
- Collaboration (P21)
- Creativity and Innovation (P21)
- Character and Faith (LCSS – Mission & Gospel Values, Grit & Growth Mindset)
- Cultural Competency (USCCB)
So when we promote our success, we are really promoting the values and practices of Catholic education. Whether the results are in academic performance, on the playing field, on a performance stage or reflected in how we respond to the needs of our fellow man, it is all connected to our roots and our approach. In fact, a number of studies have also noted the evidence that Catholic schools are better at preparing students for a successful life and career. This was recently noted in a Wall Street Journal article found here: The Catholic School Difference. There are many other scholarly articles that provide further support for Catholic education. Here is a great summary: Catholic education fact sheet.
Stakeholders should also keep in mind that the bar for “success” continues to be moved ever higher. The ISTEP and the future ILEARN have questions that require students to master material at a higher level. These tests have an increasing number of questions that require a higher “depth of knowledge.” For more information on depth of knowledge or “DOK”, here is an article explaining it and how it is driving learning and assessments: DOK Article.
Modern assessments require students to answer more questions at DOK levels 3 and 4. One could easily argue that students today are expected to master the material at a much deeper level than previous students, and it will take time for schools, teachers and students to adjust to this rigor. We believe we have a jump on this effort, as our teachers and staff have been working for several years to adapt their instruction and assessment practices to ensure students are learning the material at a deeper level of understanding.
As I said earlier in this article, when we promote our success, we are really promoting the values and practices of Catholic education. I would ask that you join me in helping promote our schools. Openly talk about all of our success with your friends and in the community. This is especially important as we prepare to ask our community to participate in Vision 2030 and our efforts to keep pushing ever higher.