Mission & Philosophy

MISSION STATEMENT

St. Monica Academy, an independent, coeducational school for grades one through twelve, founded by parents in fulfillment of their primary responsibility for educating their children, seeks to form students in faith, reason, and virtue through a classical education in the Roman Catholic tradition.

STATEMENT OF PHILOSOPHY

The education of children is, in the first place, the responsibility of their parents (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2221, 2223). Parents have the right, and the duty, to choose a school which corresponds to their own convictions (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2229). In furtherance of this right, and in fulfillment of this duty, a group of parents in 2001 founded St. Monica Academy. The Board of Directors has adopted the following statement of philosophy to guide the school’s headmaster and teachers, and to enable parents considering the school to understand our convictions, our curriculum, our culture, and the capabilities that we seek to foster in our students.

St. Monica Academy is an Elementary and college preparatory High School with a classical pedagogy and a classical liberal arts curriculum. St. Monica Academy seeks to form students in faith, reason and virtue by imparting authentic Catholic principles and by introducing young minds to classical literature and the other liberal arts. Teaching methods are directed toward developing memory, sound reasoning, and communication skills in keeping with the natural stages of childhood intellectual development.

The aim of this curriculum and pedagogy is to instill in students a lifelong love of learning. Our students will become scholars of history, lovers of culture, knowledgeable and curious about the sciences. They will be observant, discerning, and independent thinkers. They will be prepared to excel in college, to become their generation’s rare masters of the vanishing crafts of fine writing and speaking. They will be creative problem-solvers. They will be leaders.

MORE ON OUR PHILOSOPHY

God created man in His image, endowed with powers of intellect and free will. These gifts set us above all worldly creatures, giving us the ability to know, love and serve God. God creates us having the seeds of knowledge and moral virtue together with the natural wonder required to grow. If great care is taken, if wonder is maintained, and if we cooperate with God’s grace, we will grow in the virtues of intellect and develop the will necessary to achieve eternal happiness.

Our growth in virtue is affected by our actions. Through prayer and participation in the sacraments, we grow in the theological virtues. Through a humble pursuit of the truth, we grow in the intellectual virtues. Through repeated actions in accordance with prudence, we grow in the moral virtues and the arts. Our task in this life is to do the things that aim at virtue out of the sincere love of God.

The purpose of education is to lead the young soul through activities which cause growth in the theological, intellectual and moral virtues. God ordained that this task fall primarily in the hands of parents. The importance and difficulty of these parental duties is great. As man is a social being, it is appropriate that parents look to other institutions to assist them in their noble undertaking. First among these institutions is the Church, established by Our Lord Jesus Christ to lead, teach and sanctify its members as they sojourn through time towards eternity. The laity participate in the Church’s work through particular apostolates. The work done at St. Monica Academy is one such lay apostolate.

St. Monica Academy exists to assist and complement the teaching office of parents. Parents of St. Monica Academy students retain the primary duty of the moral development of their children, while the Academy accepts the greater responsibility for the intellectual formation requisite for that growth in virtue. In choosing the Academy, parents make a commitment to support and cooperate with the Academy in order that it may carry out its mission.  The academic disciplines at St. Monica Academy are organized primarily to facilitate growth in the intellectual virtues of understanding, scientific knowledge and, according to their years, wisdom. Students appropriate the Church’s perennial teachings on faith and morality in the great tradition of faith seeking understanding. Within a vibrant academic culture—consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and faithful to the Church’s magisterium—students are given frequent opportunities to share in Her Sacraments and traditions. Their study and practice of the faith together facilitate growth in the theological and moral virtues, and this growth is solidified through exercise in spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

St. Monica Academy students study religion taught in complete faithfulness to the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Because we are a classical academy our students also study Latin. Like students at most college preparatory schools, St. Monica Academy students study the subjects of reading, writing, mathematics, history, science, and so on. St. Monica Academy is different, however, in that we approach all the subjects through the framework of the classical trivium. The trivium consists of the liberal arts of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. We focus on the trivium both as modes of learning and as developmental stages of learning.

As Dorothy Sayers points out in The Lost Tools of Learning, grammar, logic and rhetoric are the fundamental modes of learning. By grammar we mean the facts, information and knowledge that form the basis of any subject of study. Examples of grammatical activities are the memorization of catechism questions, the correct spelling of words, the multiplication  tables, states and capitals, and poems. Logic means being able to think and reason correctly, so as to arrive at the truth. Discovering an idea in a short story, analyzing an argument, diagramming a sentence, proving the Pythagorean theory, and formulating and supporting a thesis in a composition are examples of logical activities. Rhetoric means effective communication. Speech and debate, writing a persuasive essay, and organizing the elements of a short story to build conflict are examples of rhetorical skills.

Very importantly, the trivium also corresponds to the three basic natural developmental stages in the education of youth: imitative (grades K-5), analytical (grades 6-9), and rhetorical (grades 10-12). Young children have a facility for and take delight in absorbing new information. Adolescents discover in themselves the ability to reason and enjoy arguing for their point of view. Mature students are able to attend to communicating what they know and think in a way that can bring the truth to others.

Attention to these modes of learning and stages of development determine our specific goals, methods, materials and means of assessment for each subject at each grade level. These can be viewed in detail in the St. Monica Academy Curriculum Handbook published at the beginning of each school year.

FAITH
St. Monica Academy students will be faithful Catholics who:
Know the content of the Catholic faith and are able to defend it;
Glorify God in appearance, manners, and speech; and
Are familiar with the lives, wisdom, and virtues of the saints, especially the Blessed Virgin Mary.

REASON
St. Monica Academy students will be academic achievers who:
Retain acquired knowledge through the exercise of memory;
Think critically, solve problems independently, and express arguments logically; and
Read, listen, write, and speak competently.

And who, throughout their lives:
Are capable of self-directed and post-secondary education; and
Seek wisdom and understanding rather than mere information.

Virtue
St. Monica Academy students will be citizen leaders who:
Work with honesty, excellence, and perseverance;
Treat people with charity, justice, and respect; and
Demonstrate leadership in a variety of school settings.