At CNA we find a helpful, hopeful story about a school in Colorado.
Here is a taste, but it is worth reading in full over there.
Classical education enlivens Denver Catholic school
By Carl Bunderson
Denver, Colo., Oct 16, 2012 / 03:03 am (CNA).- Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School based in Denver, Colo., has nearly doubled its enrollment in just one year by introducing a classical curriculum.
“This is something people want, and they’ve wanted it for a long time, and now it’s available,” principal Rosemary Anderson told CNA Oct. 10.
Our Lady of Lourdes is a pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school. The parish’s pastor, Monsignor Peter Quang Nguyen, had helped turn around a number of schools in the Archdiocese of Denver which had been in danger of closing. He was assigned to Lourdes five years ago.
When Msgr. Quang hired Anderson to be principal in 2010, the school was in “quite a bit of debt” and had only 104 students enrolled. That figure is 180 today.
The school’s capacity is 235 and Anderson believes that by the next school year, “we’ll have to start wait-listing kids.”
Anderson noted that classical education is meant to help students learn how to think, rather than merely teaching them “subjects.” The program at Lourdes school was inspired by 20th century author Dorothy Sayers’ essay “The Lost Tools of Learning,” and the work of Laura Berquist, who was involved in the founding of Thomas Aquinas College – a Catholic university in southern Calif. which uses the classical model. [These names just keep coming up! And if you have not read Sayer's essay, then... read it!]
Anderson was encouraged to differentiate her school, and with the “support and knowledge”of Bishop James D. Conley – former apostolic administrator of the archdiocese – chose to follow this approach to education as a way of imparting to students the art of learning. [As I understand it, Bp. Conley was greatly influenced by the late Dr. John Senior, Classics prof at KU. He also influenced those who founded Wyoming Catholic College.]
“The classical approach is Catholic, through and through,” said Anderson. While “other schools are doing great things,” “no other Catholic schools in the diocese are doing this yet.”
The school’s re-organization will be a three-year process. The first year, which is occurring presently, involves a re-vamp of the English department and the introduction of Latin classes.
Latin was introduced in place of Spanish because of its importance as the basis of all Romance languages. Students “logically process things better when they know Latin,” said Anderson. She pointed to high school freshmen who “test into honors French, without having had any French before, just by knowing the root language.”
Latin is important for the grammar stage of the trivium because its nouns decline, or change their ending according to function they are performing in a sentence. This helps students to better understand how languages work, and it is coupled with the memorization of poetry.
There is quite a bit more of this encouraging article.
Are you parents of small children?
Think about this.