Our religion program is evaluated by the National Catholic Education Association’s ACRE (Assessment of Catechesis/Religious Education). This assessment is designed to assist in the evaluation of catechetical/ religious education programs in Catholic schools and parishes nationally. The assessment is administered to students in the fifth and eighth grades. The ACRE assesses students in the areas of knowledge of faith, liturgical life, moral formation, prayer, communal life and missionary spirit. The graph below illustrates how St. Louis students perform above the average scores of students in Catholic schools across the nation.
Our religion curriculum follows the Diocese of Austin Religious Education Guideline, which specifically states the grade level expectations. A Diocesan approved Called to Protect curriculum is integrated in kindergarten through sixth grade, and the Theology of the Body/Chaste Living curriculum is integrated in the upper grades.
As Catholics, we believe that every human being is created in the image and likeness of God. Each of us is sacred and our lives – body, mind and soul – should be treated with respect. Called to Protect for Young Children is the safety education piece of our diocesan Ethics and Integrity in Ministry program designed specifically for elementary grade students K-5. CTPC focuses on understanding rules, appropriate touch, boundaries, how to respond to uncomfortable situations and introduces technology safety.
Called to Protect for Children is the program used in the Diocese of Austin to provide abuse prevention training to the children of the diocese as required by the Charter for the Protection of Youth and Young People (Article 12), and the diocese is audited on this requirement annually by agents of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In the Diocese of Austin, parishes and Catholic schools are required to present CTPC to students in Kindergarten through fifth grade every school year, building sequentially on developmentally appropriate topics each year. It has been approved by the Catholic Church and promotes our teachings regarding respect for all human life. Religious education and Catholic school teachers facilitate these simple lesson plans with their students.
Called to Protect for Children is not human sexuality education. CTPC is best described as safety education and should be considered another age-appropriate education component of their development such as how to safely cross the street and safe use of the Internet for children.
Eight grade students are offered a nine session course on Theology of the Body (with parent permission).
The “Theology of the Body” is St. John Paul II’s integrated vision of the human person. The human body has a specific meaning, making visible and invisible reality, and is capable of revealing answers regarding fundamental questions about us and our lives:
All of these questions, and many more, are answered in the “Theology of Body,” delivered by St. John Paul II (1979-1984).
His reflections are based on Scripture and contain a vision of the human person truly worthy of man. Emphasizing the theme of love as self-gift, they counteract societal trends.
John Paul II encourages a true reverence for the gift of our sexuality and challenges us to live it in a way worthy of our great dignity as human persons. His theology is not only for young adults or married couples, but for all ages and vocations, since it sums up the true meaning of being a person of God.
Students begin each week with a Devotional on Monday mornings led by our associate pastor, Fr. Alberto, and students end their week with Mass on Friday mornings. Students engage in daily prayer and are given opportunities to go to Confession at certain times during the school year. In second grade, students are prepared for the sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist. Our parish priests and seminarians, led by our Pastor, Fr. James, are highly visible on campus and engage with students on a daily basis. The grounds of our school reflect our Catholic Identity. Our students are organized into multi-aged Faith Families, each named after a patron saint, which serve as a reinforcement of theological and Cardinal virtues.
Eighth graders attend an overnight retreat in the spring, and seventh graders attend a day trip to the Missions in San Antonio. Parish priests are involved in both situations, along with the school catechist.