What happens when a group of high school students decide to form a group to discuss the intersection of religion, liberty, and markets? At Grand Rapids West Catholic High School, they founded The Acton Club. Acton Institute Director of Programs and Educational Impact Mike C. Cook talks with the founders of the club about their experience over the last year in starting the group and their hopes for the future on this edition of Radio Free Acton.
The National Catholic High School Honor Roll announced its fifth selection of the best 50 Catholic secondary schools in the United States. The purpose of the Honor Roll is to recognize and encourage excellence in Catholic secondary education. It is a critical resource for parents and educators that distinguishes those schools that excel in three categories: academic excellence, Catholic Identity, and civic education.
This year’s list includes 10 new honorees as well as eight schools that have earned recognition in each of the Honor Roll’s five years of existence. 2008 honorees range from newcomer schools such as Knoxville Catholic in Tennessee, to repeat honorees such as Bishop Machebeuf Catholic in Denver and Holy Spirit Preparatory in Atlanta. Texas and Michigan led with six schools selected, followed by California, with four schools. Nine different religious orders sponsor honorees, including the Jesuits, Legionaries of Christ, and Norbertines.
To see a list of the top 50 schools, as well as lists of the 10 honorable mention schools in each category, visit www.chshonor.org.
The Honor Roll is an independent project of the Acton Institute, an international research and educational organization. It is produced in consultation with an advisory board comprised of Catholic college presidents and scholars. Advisory board member Very Rev. David M. O’Connell, President of Catholic University of America, said the Honor Roll’s evaluation method is indispensable. “Catholic schools must examine themselves on a regular basis using a well-rounded approach that assesses adherence to the Church’s educational calling,” he said. “The Honor Roll strengthens schools by encouraging high standards and vibrant Catholicism.”
In its five years, the Honor Roll has seen more than 50 percent of America’s nearly 1,300 Catholic high schools participate at least once. This year nearly 300 schools completed the three detailed surveys that measure a school’s adherence to the Church’s educational mission. Each school also receives an evaluation to see how it compares to other schools nationwide.
The best schools demonstrate a balanced excellence, which includes an active Catholic culture, sound college preparation and integration of Church teaching in all departments. These schools also display sound moral, catechetical and civic formation that prepares students for vocations in the world as political, religious, scientific, and business leaders.
Questions about the Honor Roll may be directed to Anthony Pienta at (616) 454-3080, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Why should your high school apply for the Catholic High School Honor Roll? One reason is ecclesial recognition. The video below highlights the experience of St. Theodore Guerin High School in Noblesville, IN. Bishop William L. Higi of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana attended the school’s press conference to honor the school’s accomplishments. The video shows the press conference, and does a fantastic job of describing the Honor Roll.
Other schools also saw this type of recognition, including Salesianum School in Delaware. Bishop Michael Saltarelli of the Diocese of Wilmington, and Very Rev. Joseph Morrissey, OSFS, Provincial Superior of the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, were present at the awards assembly.
There is one week left for schools to apply for the Honor Roll. They can apply online at www.chshonor.org by May 15, 2008. Obviously it’s a busy time in a school year, so if schools need extra time, they can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make arrangements.
While the value to schools is quite clear, many fine schools still have not heard about the program or do not take the time to submit an application. It is a tragedy for schools – perhaps even Catholic schools you know – to miss this opportunity. Many of the schools that do not apply may be your alma mater or located in your area. Your encouragement will help them reap the substantial benefits the program offers. Contacting the principal and development director at these schools goes a long way to encourage schools to participate in the Honor Roll. Schools can only benefit from participating.
Applications and nominations are being accepted for the 5th annual Catholic High School Honor Roll –a list of America’s Top 50 Catholic high schools judged on academic excellence, Catholic identity, and civic education. The list is published nationally as a resource for parents, schools, colleges and donors. As a constructive award competition, the Honor Roll is designed to encourage excellence in Catholic education.
This is the perfect time to encourage your local Catholic high school to apply. All schools benefit because they are compared to other Catholic high schools nationwide and are given a thorough evaluation to help them improve. Those schools that place in the Top 50 receive widespread recognition. Unfortunately, many fine schools are not recognized simply because no application is submitted. Your encouragement will ensure that this opportunity is not missed.
How do schools benefit?
- Evaluation: Each applicant receives comprehensive feedback
- Recognition and Impact: Top 50 schools see increased enrollment, energized staffs, media coverage, and a valuable marketing opportunity
- Scholarship: $2,000 drawing for online applicants
How Does it Work?
- Apply: 3 surveys = complete application
- Deadline: May 15
- Cost: Free to apply at www.chshonor.org.
- Award Announcement: Fall 2008
About the Honor Roll: The Catholic High School Honor Roll is a constructive award competition and evaluation program designed to recognize and encourage excellence in Catholic secondary education. It is sponsored by the Acton Institute, a non-profit education and research organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan and is overseen by a distinguished advisory board of prominent Catholic university presidents and scholars.
Each year the Honor Roll publishes a list of America’s Top 50 Catholic high schools, judged on the criteria of academic excellence, Catholic identity, and civic education. The list is published nationally as a resource for parents, schools, colleges, and donors. The Honor Roll is also an evaluation tool to help schools improve. Each applicant school receives a comprehensive assessment that offers feedback and shows where it stands amongst Catholic schools nationwide.
This year’s Catholic High School Honor Roll has been released. Go to Acton’s redesigned Honor Roll webpage to view both the top-50 and the category leader lists. The webpage also features a virtual newsroom that tracks news stories about Honor Roll schools.
The Honor Roll recognizes quality Catholic secondary schools across the nation. With it, Acton offers a unique evaluation system that assesses their overall quality based on the criteria of academic excellence, Catholic identity, and civic education. The annual top 50 list has gained national recognition and serves as a significant improvement motivator for Catholic high schools nationwide.
Competition to be listed on the Honor Roll intensified for the schools this year due to the increased number of applications received. “The Honor Roll has certainly developed a greater awareness among Catholics that excellence in Catholic education means more than just excelling in academics,” explained Honor Roll program officer Anthony Pienta. “The best schools also have a vibrant Catholic identity and offer a sound civic education program. Schools are reminded of the need for this balance each year the Honor Roll gets published.”
Acton thanks the numerous administrators, teachers, and other staff who completed surveys for this year’s Honor Roll. Your commitment to Catholic education makes a tremendous difference.
For Catholics, few doubt the importance of quality Catholic secondary education. However, many know that the current state of Catholic secondary education in America leaves much to be desired. The question that naturally rises is “what can concerned people do to enact serious improvement?”
The Acton Institute offers at least one solution. The Catholic High School Honor Roll is a unique evaluation system that assesses the overall quality of Catholic high schools based on academic excellence, Catholic identity, and civic education. Before the Honor Roll’s launch in 2004, there were no national evaluations for Catholic secondary schools.
Now, under the guidance of a notable advisory board, the annual top 50 list has become a “measuring stick” of sorts that honors schools for their good work and serves as a competitive motivator that helps schools continually strive for improvement.
It also generates significant national recognition for the schools and has proven to be a great resource for parents and others interested in Catholic education. Kyle L. Groos, principal of O’Gorman High School, said that the Honor Roll made “a huge impact within our community.” In an environment where parents are searching for quality Catholic education, “they want and need to know that we are considered one of the top Catholic high schools.” The Honor Roll has given schools the opportunity to help parents make the decision of where to send their children.
You can help support vibrant Catholic educational excellence and facilitate reform by encouraging schools in your area to apply for the Honor Roll. The deadline for applications is May 15. It involves no cost for you or the schools.