Three Reasons Why Catholic School is Important

St. Agnes Academy
While parents can do their best to offer a safe space at home for difficult reflections and conversations, it is almost equally as important that their school environments offer some of the same, if not more. A religious school can greatly benefit a child’s development when learning how to live with the world’s stressors which is why Christian school is important.
The biggest stressors in students’ everyday lives are no longer solely related to their grades, social lives, or romantic ventures. The constant exposure to politics, world news, natural disasters, and epidemics are just a few of the everyday obstacles our students must learn to digest, process, and respond to. 

While parents can do their best to offer a safe space at home for difficult reflections and conversations, it is almost equally as important that their school environments offer some of the same, if not more. A religious school can greatly benefit a child’s development when learning how to live with the world’s stressors which is why Christian school is important.   

Why is Christian School Important?

 With the help of nuanced religion classes, highly skilled faculty, and a safe physical environment, students can grasp a deeper understanding of their faith during their four years in a Dominican Catholic school. Unique to a Christian school, students with similar academic, athletic, or lifestyle goals come together and offer a sense of positive peer pressure in daily life.
 
It is important to dig into the many opportunities that may not fully present themselves on paper when choosing a high school. Development, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, may come from the least suspecting of sources, such as a child feeling safe enough to ask a question without fear of judgment. The value of Christian education is important for those seeking to simultaneously develop academically and grow in their faith.
 
Consider these three reasons as to why a Christian school is important in 2022.

1. Deeper Understanding of One’s Faith

At the core, Catholic schools will frequently offer basic courses such as Catholicism and Scripture, but there can also be unique classes like Catholic Morality and Social Justice, Interreligious Studies, Seeking God Through Film, Bioethics, or even Feminism in the Church. Through unique community-building courses not available in traditional private schools, students are encouraged to ask complex questions, grow a healthy curiosity about the world around them, and strengthen their faith.
 
A religious school is afforded the luxury of aligning curriculum with Christian values; beyond religious classes, spirituality is welcomed and shows up in the most unique places. A conversation on a historical event with a tie to religious institutions opens different ways of thinking. A meditation practice from a wellness counselor may give students a way to cope during times of stress. A collective pause for prayer from the entire school when a devastating event takes place in another state teaches students how to pause, reflect, and respond in the moment and moving forward.
 
At St. Agnes, we structure our learning environment to provide students with the time and space they need to explore both core subjects and religion in greater depth and further their interests in those specific fields of study.
 
Outside the classroom, students can take part in extracurricular activities focused on sharing their faith. School-wide or weekly elective mass offers a time to worship as a community. Through the compelling elective program, students are encouraged to pursue subjects where they have an existing passion or would like to discover what they are passionate about.
 
At St. Agnes, we believe education and faith should be intertwined to help young students develop a complete understanding of truth (or veritas). While we are fortunate to offer this important opportunity, you will not find this available within a public-school setting. At St. Agnes, our approach is designed to develop capable, well-rounded women who are confident in their faith and ready for higher educational pursuits and challenges as they enter adulthood.

2. Positive Peer Pressure

Developing students’ psyches through in-class conversations, inspiring all-school assemblies, or even conversations in the hallways promotes engagement with others who hold similar interests. While no high school is immune to the trends of pop culture, a Christian school allows students to form friendships based on more solid foundations.
 
Within advanced level classes or unique clubs and organizations, students experience potential interests on a higher, more sophisticated level. Clubs like Diversity Club, Intersectional Feminism, E-Sports Club, or Future Medical Professionals host intriguing meetings with intriguing dialogue for students to participate in.
 
Whether connected through group work or  friendship, students at a Christian school often find themselves wanting the best for their classmates. The sense of pride among a class at a graduation ceremony is palpable. Without many common distractions that may be present in a larger school setting, students encourage each other to do their best in the classroom and on the field or court. St. Agnes encourages our students to grow in their faith (whichever that may be), ask questions that help form their beliefs, and strive to serve as role models for younger generations. Through constructive dialogue, students learn how to communicate with their peers and form meaningful relationships that last a lifetime.

3. Safe Environments Promote Development of One’s Whole

A Christian school's influence on a student’s life goes beyond the classroom; it offers children a safe, well-rounded education with diverse learning opportunities. Securing the trust of a student ensures their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual development will be built upon a strong foundation.
 
Through unique community-building opportunities not available in the traditional public education system, students are encouraged to ask complex questions, foster a sense of healthy competition, grow a broadened curiosity about the world around them, and strengthen their faith.

A) Physical

As true of many schools, a Christian school has the physical safety of its students as a top priority. Schools like St. Agnes provide a safe space for those coming to school or work each day through comprehensive security systems and procedures. Students arrive on campus each day knowing they are in a safe environment with adults there to take care of them.
 
Guidance from teachers, coaches, and administration ensures there are minimal to zero incidents of violence or harm caused toany student, faculty, or staff member. All employees of St. Agnes undergo a Safe Environment Online Training program entitled “Safe Haven” from Catholic Mutual Group. Students in Christian schools learn from an early stage that they must work beyond identifying good and evil. They learn to understand and articulate how and why they are shaped by stories told in today’s culture and how those stories may wear down their hearts and minds.

B) Mental

The ability to think clearly and make good decisions is the basis of one’s mental health. While making good decisions may not be what comes to mind first when thinking of a teenager, these are some of their most formative years. Many Christian schools have incredible resources to help students no matter what they are facing. St. Agnes has a highly skilled team of certified Wellness Counselors who equip students with tools to manage stress, redirect emotions, or find resources that can further help.
 
Thanks to the important lessons learned in classrooms, and within organizations, students stretch and flex their mental health to develop their own sense of thinking. They are constantly encouraged to ask questions to help understand the greater “why.”
 
More and more often, educators are meeting students where they are with new tactics and methods in the classroom. These new methods help many students learn to work through their learning differences, come at a problem from a different angle, or ask for modifications they may need in a classroom, sometimes through individual attention.  
 
Practicing safe mental health tactics helps St. Agnes encourage and foster the independence of our students. While we welcome parents to remain involved in their daughter’s education, we ask all families to remember this is a college preparatory education. Students are expected to learn how to problem-solve on their own further preparing them for what lies ahead.

C) Emotional  

Very much intertwined with one’s mental health, emotional health is just as important. Knowing how to cope and manage emotions can greatly benefit a young person’s character development. Students in a Christian school are blessed to have so many mentors, resources, and advocates rooting for them.
 
With the help of Wellness and College Counselors, St. Agnes works with students to craft a vigorous yet attainable course schedule fit to the individual student. Student activities such as pep rallies, assemblies, and sporadic free dress or sweet treats boost morale and foster a sense of community throughout the school.
 
A well-balanced combination of core and elective courses, an outlet for physical release, such as Physical Education classes or athletics, and opportunities for social interaction are all key to a healthy emotional state. The benefits of attending a Christian school are extraordinarily apparent in times of stress. St. Agnes coordinates programs to facilitate “safe spaces” for conversations, support during exams, processes, and procedures for times of bereavement, and information on mindfulness, sleep, and healthy eating.
 
An additional benefit of private school is greater opportunities for parents to stay involved in their child’s education and growth. Parents have more opportunities to connect with teachers, staff members, and other individuals who interact with students during their time in school. They experience how the values they have instilled in their children come to shine during their child’s four years of high school and on.

D) Spiritual

During the formative years, it is crucial that students feel confident and comfortable in their beliefs. All too often, young people will shy away from their faith due to social constructs, lack of development, or the absence of a strong support system. A private school setting can help students develop their beliefs by seamlessly intertwining education and faith in all classes ranging from theology to science. Thanks to faculty and staff who model Christian principles, a student’s Christian education is an extension of what their Christian parent or guardian is seeking to accomplish at home.
 
Understandably, in a public-school setting, many students feel pressured to keep their faith lives separate from their school lives. This can lead to inner conflicts as students try to reconcile education and faith in an environment where external signs of worship are not supported or encouraged on a day-to-day basis. Fortunately, in a Christian school, students are encouraged to develop and live faith-based lives daily. A school rooted in a religious affiliation should be instrumental in equipping its students with the understanding of that faith.
 
At St. Agnes, we help your child grow in their faith by fostering the Dominican pillars of prayer, study, community, and preaching. Students have the opportunity to ask difficult questions, identify their gifts in areas such as prayer, service to others, community development, or academics, and grow together in faith. Teachers are empowered to avoid “simple” answers that are due more intensive thoughtfulness. Students leave St. Agnes with confidence to defend their faith and effectively share that faith with the world.

Consider Nurturing Your Child’s Faith at St. Agnes Academy

Rooted in the Catholic, Dominican tradition, St. Agnes Academy challenges young women through exceptional academic preparation and transformational experiences to lead with integrity, joy and a commitment to social justice.
 
If you are considering Christian education for your child, we encourage you to learn more about the benefits of a college preparatory school such as St. Agnes.
 
A St. Agnes graduate witnesses Gospel values and lives veritas through word and deed. We challenge young women to grow into future leaders through exceptional academic preparation. We tailor our curriculum to the individual needs and learning styles of each young woman that steps onto our campus. St. Agnes fosters a safe environment for learning so that students are comfortable asking questions, seeking knowledge, and celebrating life in a joyful, optimistic, and productive way.
 
Talk to us today to learn more about the benefits of a Christian school, especially here at St. Agnes. If you are interested in allowing your daughter the opportunity to deepen her faith, contact us today!
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