Partnering with Parents ...

Partnering With Parents . . .

Now and then you will see or hear St. Francis College Prep use the phrase “partnering with parents”. We wanted you to know what we mean by this and why it is important.

Let me begin with short personal story. In the early 90’s I was practicing law in the Midwest. Due to the nature of my practice I was invited by the State Board of Education to its annual conference to sit on a panel regarding the rights of parents in public education. Part way through the discussion the State Superintendent for Education answered a question by brazenly proclaiming, “Between the hours of 8:00 AM and 3:00 PM those children are ours!”

Needless to say, I hammered back. He was wrong, but I will never forget his words.

Quite frankly, and unfortunately, the public school system as a whole has adopted his stance whether they will admit it or not. And, many private schools have blindly followed suit.

But, St. Francis understands that education literally begins in the home and ends in the home. We understand how important it is for us to partner with parents in the overall formative process of their children. We take the time to inform parents of their importance and look for ways to create a continuum of learning from the classroom to the home and back again.

Why do we take such a strong position? Practically speaking, study upon study continues to evidence that parental involvement in the educational process is a key factor to academic success and achievement.

However, there is a far greater reason for making sure we respect the parental role in education, and this reason is very well articulated in the Declaration on Christian Education, #3; Vatican Council 1965:

Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs.

We understand that in God’s sovereign design, it is parents who are the givers of life to their children and it is parents who are called to be God’s stewards of those children and provide the “first school of the social virtues that every society needs.” And, as we have explained before, we understand how critical virtue is to education.

You see, partnering with parents should really be the overarching calling for educators, and in recognizing this St. Francis is able to provide a true formative education for students.

You shall therefore lay up these words of mine . . . You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 11:18-19:

— S. Phillips