Catholic, college-preparatory education for the 21st Century
The Catholic school has a history of outperforming both
public and private schools on nearly every educational measure and across all
socio-economic groups. Its unique emphasis on faith and family provides
flexibility and a focus unavailable to large, comprehensive school districts.
It is an institution well positioned to prepare young men and women for
leadership roles in an increasingly complex world. St Joseph High School is an
exceptional Catholic school, especially as regards faith, academics, and
commitment to service, and is committed to the tradition of Catholic school
excellence. Our mission reads:
Joseph High School strives to be the premier college preparatory school in
Southern Connecticut. The school provides a learning environment that embraces
the Gospel values of the Roman Catholic faith and promotes a commitment to
family and community.
The school prepares our young women and young men to realize their potential,
helps them to excel in higher education, and provides a foundation to guide
them throughout their lives.”
This mission calls us to constant improvement. The purpose
of this position paper is to keep St Joseph High School in the forefront of
schools providing excellence in college preparatory education and the
development of responsible citizenship.
With the world rapidly shifting to an informational, global
economy, St Joseph High is examining its pedagogies and methodologies so as
best prepare our students. We are
engaged in active conversations with both elementary and university partners,
and with professional associations as well as listening to corporate concerns.
Some immediate goals that have arisen from these discussions
- Minimize the transitional challenges students
experience in moving through a K-16 system. The elementary and high school
should be seen as a continuous college preparatory program.
- Reduce the distinction between college level
courses and senior studies through credit bearing courses on the high school
level, encourage Advanced Placement and dual enrollment privileges, and
increase the use of distance learning and video conferencing technologies.
- Continue to value the core curriculum over the
large, comprehensive high school’s cafeteria-style basket of requirements.
- Develop interdisciplinary strands of study that
emphasize applied science, mathematics, and humanities, and weave into each
content area career awareness education, e.g., the pre-engineering program we
currently participate in with Fairfield University.
- Incorporate new informational, communication,
and research technologies that enhance teaching and learning.
St Joseph High School has been quick to adopt innovative
methods. Its committed faculty and administration, as well as a resourceful
parent community, all believe that after faith, it is academics that make the
difference in one’s life. We are committed to providing the best in Catholic
college preparatory education.
21st Century Skills
The incoming generation of teachers brings fresh concepts
and talent that merge with the practical experience and valued tradition
established by the core faculty. The convergence of innovation and experience
leads us to examine the 21st Century Skills curriculum.
St Joseph High’s academic foundation rests on mastery of
these core content areas:
- Religious Studies
- World languages
- Performing Arts, Studio Art, and Music
- History, Geography, Economics
teaching methodologies integrate these interdisciplinary themes with the core
- An informed Catholic
view toward a global community
- Integration of
international content across all subjects
- Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial
- Personal, Civic and Community responsibility
- A respect for the ethical use of power
- Environmental accountability
The academic experience at St Joseph High encourages these
- Communication Skills: information, media, and
technology skills as well as reading, writing, and speaking competencies.
- Creative Thinking: benchmarking innovation
- Critical Thinking: problem solving education
- Concrete Learning: research informed teaching
- Collaboration: team based learning
- Character formation and leadership training
- Multicultural and International exchanges
- Ability to cooperate with people from a range of
social and cultural differences to achieve measurable goals
- Assume a responsible leadership role with peers
The integration of 21st Century
Skills with the Core Curriculum is essential to an education committed to
preparing students for a changing world.
technologies have become powerful tools in the academic arena, and St Joseph High finds itself unusually
well equipped. Interactive white boards light up every classroom. TI-84
calculators are in every backpack. Computer labs and laptop carts are
available. Test preparation courses are on-line. Distance learning experiences
are becoming common. Electronic bulletin boards carry the news of the day to
all corners of the school. You cannot drop Joey or Josie off out back without
the sports board telling you the date, temperature, and exactly how late you
These new technologies provide accessible and practical
personalization of learning. And if we expect our students to make meaningful
contributions to society and provide moral leadership for the future, we need
to provide appropriate role models for the responsible use of these developing
communication and learning tools.
In the commitment to constant improvement, we will begin to
introduce personal computing in the classroom. We propose a three-stage phase
to creating a laptop-learning environment.
First year—A Laptop Friendly World.
Beginning in September 2010, the academic building will
enjoy high-speed, wireless, Internet access throughout. New wiring and wireless
access points will be installed, electric amperage increased, charging stations
will be added, and appropriate cyber-gates and security management software
programs will be installed.
Once registered on the SJHS
network, students will be free to use mobile computing devices in studies, the
library, guidance, cafeteria, and any
open space. Classroom use—note
taking, collaborative research projects, writing and editing, etc.—will be
permitted at the discretion of the classroom instructor.
Mr Eng and Mrs Abelson will work
with teachers to develop practical applications and satisfy professional
Laptops will be welcomed, not
required. No one operating platform is prescribed.
Second year—A World of Exploration. During the second
year, departments and administration will assess the lessons learned and
explore practical applications within their content areas. Best practices,
professional development, software, single or multiple platforms, will be
shared and examined. An informed policy covering the variety of technologies
will be written. Competencies in the use of applied media and informational
technologies will be written. A graduation requirement will be articulated. The
Computer and Technology curriculum will be revised and appropriately staffed.
Third year—A World of 21st Century Skills.
With two years of experience, St Joseph High will move into a fully integrated laptop
environment. Computer platform and facility issues will have been resolved.
Video conferencing and distance learning will become familiar experiences.
Informational technologies will be ubiquitous and their presence will be no
more remarkable in the classroom than were the textbooks and reference books of
the last century.
This initiative is described as an evolution, not a
revolution. St Joseph High, driven by its mission, has constantly put forth the
best in educational methods, innovative teaching, and with the effective use of
preparing our position, teachers and administrators visited high performing
college preparatory schools, attended professional association meetings,
executive briefings, and have dialogued with institutions of higher education. The
21st Century Skills will prepare our students for the world coming