Connecting the Dots ...

This week we held our first Parent Information Night for St. Francis College Preparatory High School. In a word, it was “fantastic”! We are very blessed by the outpouring of support we have from community!

As we continue to share our vision and plans for St. Francis it becomes clear that our belief in the need for St. Francis is solid. For instance, many parents are unhappy with the lack of formative – faith based — education their children have received in the past or are receiving today.

As a result, parents are choosing to place their children in regular public schools or homeschooling them. “Why pay for something you are not getting?” is the general feeling.

This, of course, begs the questions: “Will St. Francis provide the faith-based education that so many desire, and if so, how?”

The answers: Yes. Absolutely. That is the entire reason it has been created, and it will do so through integration and living. Please, let me explain.

The area where formative faith-based education often fails is “connecting the dots” between faith and its application for life. Students might have a retreat once a year, they may have mass once a month, and they attend a religious class once a day; all wonderful and necessary. However, these become isolated events contained in a bubble of time.

For example, students often arrive at school for their 8:00 AM religion course. Then, they go to Algebra, English, Chemistry, History, Computer Science and Art. By the time it is 3:00 PM religion course is long lost in the wake of everything else.

But, there are two very intentional ways to connect the dots so that the bubble is broken and the teaching is not lost.

The first is to ensure integration between the faith being taught in the religion course as well as the other subjects taught throughout the day. In this holistic approach to teaching faith students learn and understand how faith is applied in all areas of life. Faith cannot be its own distinct subject. If taught as distinct students will treat it as distinct — 1 out of 7 courses — losing its importance.

The second is to ensure students are living out their faith. Students must also practice their faith and, as we shared with parents this week, one of the key priorities for St. Francis is community outreach by its students. It is through living out their faith in the community that students will connect what they are learning in every classroom to practice, thereby connecting the final dot.

It is a simple – but highly profound – fulfillment of scriptural principles: “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?” James 2:14

When the dots are connected, faith becomes realized, filling the void many parents see today in Christian education.

Through its commitment to the Catholic tradition, St. Francis will connect these dots.