Principals of the schools across the United States recently met for several days of collaboration, and to discuss the new curriculum for religion classes
In recent years, the Society has undertaken the great effort of combining and standardizing the educational styles and curriculum at our nearly 30 schools throughout the United States. Previously, principals and teachers were free to work up their own programs and methods. While this element of freedom has benefits, particularly for differing demographics and abilities at the different schools, it came with its challenges - the most glaring of which occurred during student transfers from one school to another.
For this, and for a multitude of other reasons, the SSPX, led by Fr. Gerard Beck, has begun the daunting task of converging the best curricula, practices and ideas from the various schools into one framework - one that can be modified to fit each teacher's needs. Accompanying this project is the need for all the principals to be of like mind in these areas. With this in mind, the principals of the various schools met at the SSPX Retreat House at Ridgefield, Connecticut, for a time of prayer, conference, and collaboration.
Collaboration, first, because each of these principals were selected due to their strength in educational pursuits. It follows that they would create new ideas and strategies for common problems. These meetings, attended by a great number of young priests, gave an opportunity to bounce ideas around, and share solutions for challenges faced in many of our schools.
The district religion curriculum for high school students was specifically addressed, and fine-tuned by many who have been using this curriculum in the classroom over the past year. The main point of religious instruction was stressed to the attendees:
The content of catechetical instruction is the Gospel of Jesus Christ with its treasures of truth and grace ... The materials of a religion curriculum must be as extensive as Catholic culture and not merely confined to Christian doctrine or the catechism. It trains man in Catholic practices and in a life of virtue."
A further theme was stressed - that of respect, both as a teacher and principal. Respect for the educational process, the students, and the parents was discussed, since the old saying bears repeating, "Respect begets respect."
The conferences were closed with nearly 30 priests and several lay principals returning to their home districts, full of new strength, ideas, and enthusiasm for the 2016 / 2017 school year in our academies and college.