The nation’s nearly 8,000 Catholic schools will celebrate Catholic Schools Week, Jan. 27 through Feb. 2. This year’s theme is “Catholic Schools Light the Way.”
Catholic schools “Light the Way” by providing a faith-based education that supports the whole child in improved learning, and in leading a fulfilled and balanced life. Balanced, educated and spiritually nurtured students will “Light the Way” to a brighter future, through their leadership in communities, governments, businesses and families. Additionally, Catholic School teachers “Light the Way” in each and every classroom through their dedication to strong academics and the healthy spiritual development of each of their students. Catholic Schools Week is an activity of the National Marketing Campaign For Catholic Schools, a joint project of the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
NCEA president Dr. Karen M. Ristau said, “Catholic Schools are a bright spot in education all year around. But on this week we want to focus everyone’s attention on the fact that Catholics schools truly do enlighten our students. In addition to learning reading, writing and arithmetic, students also learn how to become persons of character and integrity so they can light the way for others.”
Maria Powell, executive director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education at the USCCB, said, “High achievement rates, high retention rates, high moral values and high student and parent satisfaction are the distinctive marks of a Catholic school. We want everyone to know how our students shine.”
National Appreciation Day For Catholic Schools will be observed Wednesday, Jan. 30. National Appreciation Day was established to encourage supporters nationwide to showcase the great accomplishments and contributions of Catholic schools to our country. In Washington, a delegation of nearly 200 Catholic school students, teachers and parents will visit Capitol Hill to meet with congressional leaders to promote Catholic schools. Raymond Simon, deputy secretary of the US. Department of Education, will address the group before students head out to hand-deliver letters from chief administrators of Catholic education to their representatives and provide a background package on Catholic schools to every congressional office.
Schools in other parts of the country are encouraged to carry their message of good news to local and state officials.
Marie Powell, executive secretary of the Secretariat for Catholic Education, represents USCCB on the National Marketing Committee. NCEA members are Regina Haney, executive director, Department of Boards and Councils of Catholic Education; Christian Brother Robert Bimonte, executive director, Department of Elementary Schools; and Daniel Curtin, executive director, Chief Administrators of Catholic Education. Dr. Karen Ristau is the president of NCEA.
NCEA is the largest private, professional education association in the world. Founded in 1904, the Association's membership represents more than 200,000 educators serving 7.6 million students at all levels of Catholic education. USCCB is the national public policy organization of the bishops in the United States.
Last year more than 230 Catholic school students, principals, teachers and parents visited every congressional office during Catholic Schools Week to deliver "the good news in education." Many of them delivered letters from superintendents from throughout the country, thus serving as ambassadors for Catholic school students nationwide. This year a delegation will return to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, January 30, 2008, to meet with congressional leaders and underscore that "Catholic Schools Light the Way."