St. Francis de Sales in Newark is taking big steps to return to its true roots as an authentically Catholic school by adopting the Classical Education Curriculum. This program ensures that students’ Catholic identity is not simply added on, but woven through a school’s culture, curriculum, content, and instruction. Implementation of this new curriculum started in 2021-22 school year and is projected to take three years to fulling integrate throughout St. Francis de Sales. “Putting Christ at the center of all learning is the objective but the underlining benefit is our children are learning from an understanding that faith and reason are entwined,” says Edward Watson, Vice Principal of St. Francis de Sales Elementary School.
Since the implementation of the Classical Education Curriculum, there has been an awakening to the Catholic faith and a sense of closeness to the fellowship of the Church. This has led to more students becoming altar servers, singing in the choir, and developing a deeper love for the sacraments and Eucharist. St. Francis de Sales is also seeing an increase in engagement among families. Some students’ desire for a deeper faith is actively bringing parents back to church or into the Church. In the past, 10-15 students were present at Sunday mass. Now, the numbers are closer to 50-60 at the 11:00 am mass alone. “The ripple effect that is taking place from school to home is truly a thing of beauty,” notes Mr. Watson.
Enrollment is up at St. Francis de Sales and there is a genuine excitement around the transition to a Classical Education Curriculum that is transcending the classroom. Most importantly, there is peace of mind knowing all learning stems from our Catholic faith.
A responsive grant from The Catholic Foundation helped fund the pilot years of the Classical Educational Curriculum at St. Francis de Sales.