The narrative is changing. Catholic schools are reclaiming their Catholic identity and growth and joy are once again taking hold. It is happening. In large schools, small schools, urban schools, rural schools, wealthy schools, and poor schools. It is happening because it is the authentic vision of our Holy Mother Church, guided by the Holy Spirit. It is happening because it is good, and true, and beautiful. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the overwhelming majority of Catholic educators, by no fault of their own, have been cut off from the Church’s time-tested approach, rooted in the classical liberal arts and sciences. Instead, they have been subjected to a secular, industrialized model of education that discourages teachers and fails to inspire students.
Thankfully, more good news. The programs that the Institute has developed over the last decade provide Catholic educators with three essential things that help them realize the full implications of a philosophy of education that puts Jesus Christ, the Logos, at its center:
  • life-giving vision of education – based on two thousand years of Catholic intellectual tradition, which formed many of the keenest minds and holiest saints in history
  • The tools and techniques of thinking and learning that allow teachers to embody the Church’s vision immediately, regardless of their previous experience (or lack thereof) with classical liberal arts education
  • The confidence and clarity that comes from connecting with those who have already transformed their schools or from seeing it in action
In 2018 our programs provided these three things to more than 500 educators representing over 20,000 students at more than 100 schools in 33 states through a variety of programs:
  • Our sixth annual “National Catholic Classical Schools Conference,” our largest to date, drawing over 250 educators from more than 80 schools and 30 states
  • Our third annual “Spirit & Craft of Teaching,” a one-week intensive teacher training program for those either new to teaching or new to Catholic liberal arts education
  • Two more offerings of the ever popular “Academic Retreat for Teachers,” which allows educators to revive their love of learning by reading deeply across multiple disciplines and discussing classic texts
  • St. Jerome Academy in Hyattsville, St. Thomas More Academy in Raleigh, and Our Lady of Lourdes in Denver each hosted our “School Leaders Forum,” which allows educators to witness first-hand a flagship school that has had success implementing the Catholic classical liberal arts approach
  • More than 20 on-site workshops led by a growing number of practitioner-experts in order to keep up with a demand level that has outpaced the abilities of the Institute staff
  • Ongoing consulting for schools in transition
Given the many and varied ways we are able to serve educators throughout the year, most people are surprised to learn that for more than a decade, we operated on nothing more than the pro bono services of full-time educators. Our first paid staff member started in 2016 and since then our lean staff has struggled to meet demand. In 2019, we are poised to at least double our impact, but we need more resources, primarily for a few more hands on deck as well as the investment necessary to transition some of our most effective programs to a medium – video or online – that will allow us to keep up with demand and serve more schools.
Our first annual Advent Campaign is underway so that we can begin 2019 in full stride and spend our time and energy serving the schools seeking our support. But first, we need yours. While the work required to reclaim the Church’s tradition of education can at times seem daunting, the feedback we consistently receive is that our programs provide the spark and guidance needed to renew Catholic schools and sustain their efforts over time. We’re doing a lot with a little. Help us do more.