The Notre Dame Philosophy
The tradition of Catholic education within the Church is a vital one. Although academic excellence remains a primary concern of any educational institution, religious or secular, Catholic schools consider other areas equally critical in the development of a truly educated Christian. A Catholic education also emphasizes the moral development of the individual and encourages active participation within the faith community. This same emphasis forms the foundation of all administrative policies and procedures.
Notre Dame emphasizes academic achievement for every student. The definition of academic achievement is related to the background and future plans of each student. The road to academic success, therefore, cannot be the same for each student enrolled at Notre Dame. The curriculum affords students a choice of courses to meet collegiate, vocational, practical, and religious needs. A periodic review and updating of course offerings aids in the maintenance of an education that is relevant to contemporary needs. Instructional materials and methods complement student needs for success both inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom. As stated in the General Directory for Catechesis, Notre Dame seeks to teach students to “look at the world from the standpoint of faith.” Therefore, students are encouraged to recognize that Jesus is at the center of all academic disciplines.
Understanding that parents are the primary teachers of their children, Notre Dame readily accepts its responsibility for the moral education of its youth. The school cannot replace parental influence and should, instead, complement it. Moral development is rooted in Catholic education, self-discipline, and application of Gospel values in personal relationships. This is accomplished in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Since a student learns through observation as well as study, a Christian educator teaches through example as well as words. This positive example, based on love and concern for the individual, creates a Christian environment that reaches far beyond the classroom.
Each person should stand as an individual and as a person within the community. Notre Dame, as a Catholic school, strives to create a lived experience of human community rooted in Jesus Christ. Every student needs respect, concern, encouragement, praise, and challenge in order to relate positively with others. By fulfilling these needs within the faith context of a Catholic school, Notre Dame enables students to develop a personal desire for a relationship with Jesus and a commitment to share Gospel values with others. Catholic education provides opportunities for spiritual growth through prayer, study in the faith, and service to others. Participation in the faith community at Notre Dame prepares students for immediate and future involvement in the parish, in the diocese, and in the Universal Church.