Dissertation: Catholic School's Are Ministries

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[. . .] Catholicism's commitment to people's personhood: to who they become and their personal ethic systems.

2. Catholicism's commitment to basic justice.

3. Catholicism's commitment to catholicity or being catholic.

Groome's original core values have been cited and reworked often adding new values to the original and as we will see are still seen in stated core values for many catholic schools. O' Keefe (1999) responding to a plea by Rabbi Paley for Jews to expand and carry on the Jewish tradition in Jewish schools envisioned the core values of the catholic schools church in a different manner than Groome. O' Keefe challenged Catholics to take up the core values and expand and carry on the tradition of Catholicism. He visualized seven core values (values stated in Latin are translated to English):

1. The law of prayer is the law of belief.

For O' Keefe one's beliefs should be shaped by communal prayer; this prayer and the Catholic tradition form the backbone of the values as opposed to faith and rationality. The culture of the Catholic school should touch all areas of the students' lives and provide a basic structure.

2. The Catholic school is the community of memory.

Catholicism honors centuries old set of traditions; education in the Catholic tradition involves the retelling of sacred stories. In a current world ridden with anomie, students must learn these stories told in a way that is compelling for the present. Students should be exposed to the rich history of the Church, read developmentally appropriate original sources in theology and philosophy, and learn about the controversies that journal the reforms of the church. .

3. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

At the heart of a Catholic sensibility is the mystery of the incarnation: The word was made flesh. The incarnation demonstrates the nearness of God and the possibilities of authentic existence. Christ points the way followed by a multitude of saints that demonstrate that holiness is neither abstract nor unattainable, but incarnated in the real world. Catholic educators must immerse students in the world of these saints. According to O'Keefe this is character education at its finest.

4. The best decisions are made on the local level.

Human dignity is served better by families, neighborhoods, and local communities than by large, impersonal, bureaucratic structures. O'Keefe is aware of the dangers of government, especially socialism, to the church and to the family. For him bureaucracy and centralization are at odds with a Catholic sensibility.

5. Everyone is my brother or sister.

In the true spirit of Christ the values of the Catholic schools should not be designed to alienate or disparage anyone. Solidarity teaches one to look past their own self-centered views and see the world in a different light. O'Keefe believes that Catholic school values should ready a person to sacrifice themselves for another.

6. The Catholic Church is Catholic.

Basically here O'Keefe believes that tolerance and acceptance for others (especially for those of different ethnic backgrounds). A core value of Catholic schools is that all students define themselves as Catholic and there are no other significant defining differences of the school body to be considered.

7. Always keep in mind the end for which something is created.

According to O'Keefe all things must be judged according to the criteria for which they were created, which is the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Things that foster the end for which they were created, they are to be embraced otherwise they must be modified or abandoned. Through lived example, students should be invited to this spirit of keen discernment and courageous freedom.

So while Groome recognized that rationality and academics can bolster core values of Catholic schools as long as the schools stick to core catholic values, whereas O'Keefe basically wanted to eschew the adjustments of Catholic schools to embracing some of the outside values of a pluralistic society such as less focus on Catholic traditions and a greater focus on academics as detrimental to the core values of Catholic schools and believed that these core values remain firmly grounded in Catholic tradition.

It is obvious then that the core values of the Catholic schools are what makes these schools Catholic. Parents enroll their children in these programs for this very reason. However, there has been a recent shift in many Catholic schools to the use of lay teachers and staff (e.g., Buchanan, 2005). This has led to some concern that the core values described by writers like Groome and O'Keefe are not being emphasized. However, it is well-known that all successful secular organizations possess a well-defined and shared set of core values. Catholic schools have not abandoned their values either. Cook (2001, 2004) has stated that school charisms are their spiritually-inspired core values. Cook believes that understanding core values as charisms adds the religious dimension to a secular idea. So, for example visualizing a core school value such as knowledge as a God-given gift to be used for the good of others in addition to being used for one's own personal fulfillment restructures this core value into a charism. Divine inspiration and outward orientation transform secular core values into charisms. Thus, from a lay standpoint Catholic school core values become more recognizable and as it turns out one can peruse the websites of many Catholic schools and find almost identical core values. This seems to be the route that many Catholic organizations have taken. For instance, the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) is a private educational accrediting agency established under the patronage of the Bishops of the Catholic (Arch) Dioceses of California. WCEA (2009) lists its core values as:

1. Faith to God and the Catholic Church.

2. Service to all people.

3. Excellence in all areas of endeavor.

4. Justice for all people.

5. Integrity in all affairs and interactions.

6. Dignity in all actions.

7. Lifelong Learning.

Compare these core values to the core values of another school, St. Marks Catholic School (2007):

1. Prayer. Daily prayer and various liturgical experiences allows students to develop a personal relationship with God. This leads to a powerful sense of faith and Catholic / Christian values.

2. Responsibility. Accepting responsibility for one's actions and efforts is the foundation for the development of a strong work ethic and results in the ability to make moral decisions.

3. Respect for others. Respect for all people as we are all created in God's image and likeness.

4. Stewardship. Putting the gifts and talents that we possess to work for the greater good and for the benefit of others. Giving back to the community.

5. Dignity of Work. Each day we do our best work and value the work of others.

6. Learning Environment. The school is a learning community where everyone is an essential part of the learning process. Each person helps to maximize learning for themselves and others. 7..Community. The school is a family centered organizations sharing a common purpose: to provide the best spiritual, physical, and academic development of young people.

The similarity to Groome's core values is apparent in both of these instances. A Catholic school's core values originate from gospel values, define what the Catholic school community holds as important, and shape the policies and practices that direct and influence everything that occurs within the Catholic school (Flynn & Mok, 2002). Thus, Groome's or O'Keefe's core value designation could be considered key determinants in the application of effective leadership in the school. School leaders often rely on core values to guide them in their decisions, especially in times of ambiguity or emergency. School leaders often use a value process guideline that may incorporate both personal and collective values in the decision making process. This means that the closer the collective core values are to the values of the leader the more likely the leader will act in accordance with the collective core values (Flynn & Mok, 2002). Development and acceptance of such values comes early.

Greenleaf (1977) introduced the notion servant leadership as a budding approach leadership and to meeting the challenges of the school, organization, or society. This model of servant leadership is based upon the notion of leaders placing the needs of others above their own. So a servant leader makes a mindful choice to serve others by putting service to others before leadership. Within the Gospels the most distinguishing aspect of Jesus' instruction on leadership is His emphasis that the leader is essentially a servant. All four Gospels visibly demonstrate Jesus' understanding of his leadership as one of service.

Barbuto & Wheeler (2006) noted the lack of a solid set of principles that constituted the qualities of servant-leadership. By an extensive research review, exploratory factor analysis and then confirmatory factor analysis on they were able to identify 11 core features of servant-leadership and develop a questionnaire to measure these qualities:

1. Calling. The motivation of servant-leaders must begin with a conscious choice… [END OF PREVIEW]

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