From National Catholic Register
Diocese of Marquette Catholic schools are the first in the nation to adopt such a focus; high school to follow.
“We moved our schools toward this model because it best aligns with our mission as Catholic educators,” Mark Salisbury, Diocese of Marquette superintendent of Catholic schools, told the Register. “We know this because it is the model of education the Catholic Church has embraced through its history. It is the best curriculum to have all of the subjects lead our students to Christ.”
The diocese’s eight Catholic schools, which educate 1,100 students, began to implement a classical curriculum —which emphasizes truth, goodness and beauty and the study of the liberal arts (grammar, logic, rhetoric; arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy; and Latin) and the great books. Overall, it focuses on helping students know how to learn and how to think. This classical curriculum was implemented during the 2014-15 school year, said Salisbury, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive, both in strengthening the uniquely Catholic educational experience for teachers, students and parents, but also in terms of maintaining enrollment.
“Our annual parent surveys consistently show that over 90% of our parents are either satisfied or very satisfied with our academic programs,” he said.
“Our curriculum has improved in many ways,” Salisbury explained, citing the curriculum features the incorporation of richer literature, new subjects like Latin and logic, and a new way of “teaching science through gardening and other outside nature experiences.” Other examples include “teaching history through a narrative approach and integrating the impact of the Catholic Church through history,” and “teaching theology of the body beginning at kindergarten.”
For Salisbury, the most impacting change is that all subjects are taught “through the lens of goodness, truth and beauty, which leads our students to Jesus,” he said.
Melissa Pillifant, middle-school math teacher at Father Marquette Catholic Academy (FMCA), one of the diocesan Catholic schools, agrees that pointing to Jesus Christ is the reason the classical curriculum is so successful: “When working to lead students to the good, the true and the beautiful, you are leading them to God, and he blesses you for that.”
Other school officials have experienced the same blessings.