The program has been well received by faculty, who recently requested to have weekly faculty meetings. Administrative meetings alternate with two-hour, Socratic discussions of key texts in theology, philosophy, and education. Over the last few years, the Holy Family Academy faculty has worked through Pius XI’s encyclical On Christian education (Divini illius magistri), Fides et Ratio, and Veritatis Splendor.
“Our faculty discussions benefit from the wide backgrounds of our teachers, who bring different insights from their specialty areas,” says Mrs. Mosher. “Our math and science teachers are among our most excited participants. They consider themselves blessed to be able to study and discuss theology and philosophy with their fellow faculty members.”
Weekly faculty meetings are only one aspect of Holy Family efforts to build a faculty community. This school year began with five days of faculty preparation, up from three days. This included time for study and discussion, as well as a retreat day based on The Holy See’s Teachings on Catholic Schools. “That document is so lucid and clear. It will really help our faculty be on the same page,” said Mrs. Mosher. Another faculty retreat is scheduled for February. Faculty also enjoy periodic half days during the school year. After the students are dismissed, faculty share a meal provided by parents, and look forward to an afternoon of study and discussion.
Common prayer is also part of the community Holy Family has built. The whole school engages in 20 minutes of prayer daily, including the Liturgy of the Hours and the readings for the day. Mass is celebrated once a week. Faculty meetings begin and end in prayer; faculty pray for one another and with other.
The Holy See’s Teachings highlights the importance of making the school a living community. “The declaration Gravissimum Educationis notes an important advance in the way a Catholic school is thought of: the transition from the school as an institution to the school as a community. This community dimension is, perhaps, one result of the new awareness of the church’s nature that is developed by the council.” Mrs. Mosher believes that it is the administrators’ special responsibility to make this transition happen for faculty members. “I’ve seen the fruit of it. Teachers who leave here say, ‘I grew so much being here.’ Many teachers come here because they want to be a part of the community we’ve developed.”
For more information on Holy Family Academy, visit their website: http://www.holyfamilyacademy.org/