Headmaster responds to questions posed by story on Catholic Classical Education - Catholic Courier
Students take part in a May crowning May 5, 2017, in the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School in Denver. Classical education begins with the premise that there is objective truth and that faith, reason and a rigorous education lead there. (CNS photo by Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School) Students take part in a May crowning May 5, 2017, in the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School in Denver. Classical education begins with the premise that there is objective truth and that faith, reason and a rigorous education lead there. (CNS photo by Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School)

Headmaster responds to questions posed by story on Catholic Classical Education

To the editor:

Classical Catholic education was featured in Effie Caldarola’s article (“Education trends has pros and cons”) in August’s Catholic Courier. The accompanying photo featured Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Classical School of Denver, where my colleague, Rosemary VanderWeele, is Principal. Rosemary and I met at the first Catholic Classical Schools Conference, hosted by St. John Bosco Schools of East Rochester and held at the Notre Dame Retreat House in Canandaigua. Several good questions were raised in the article about memorization, primary sources, and special education, which I propose to answer.

Memory is one of three powers of the soul; memorization builds that power. Memorization of the Gettysburg Address strengthens this power of soul while inspiring the students with its noble content. Use of primary sources is a best practice of education. History books written in a narrative form tell the real stories of individuals who made pivotal decisions; primary texts provide more relish to an already exciting story. Students are highly engaged by learning history this way.

A student with special needs at a classical school receives the same accommodations and modifications given at a parochial school (e.g., modified assignments, extra time, books on tape). However, fully meeting the special needs of students in Catholic schools is an area where much work remains to be done. Our prayers and work are needed for improvement nationwide.

St. John Bosco Schools and Chesterton Academy of Rochester operate independently of the Diocese of Rochester, though we gratefully maintain a cooperative relationship with Bishop Matano and his Superintendent of Schools (Dr. Anthony S. Cook III).

Colleen Richards, Headmaster

St. John Bosco School &Chesterton Academy

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