Regina Coeli promotes an attitude of learning among the faculty. “Teachers need to model learning. If I stop learning, I stop being a teacher,” Michelle says. Monthly faculty development sessions center around a common reading. Sometimes individual teachers will lead sessions in their subject areas. Teachers are encouraged to pursue Master’s degrees.
Developing teachers is crucial to meeting the high expectations set for the students. For example, Regina Coeli requires Algebra I of its students. “We can do this because of our dedicated teachers and small class sizes that allow for one-on-one attention as needed.”
Another key to success for Regina Coeli is the use of literature throughout the curriculum. “We believe in reading to learn,” Michelle says, “and focus on language excellence. We see history as a story, so we use literature to bring it to life. In our religion program, besides the Baltimore catechism and the Faith and Life series, we use saint stories and Bible history. These build a firm foundation for religious knowledge.”
Regina Coeli has had to adjust to help students. Michelle explains, “We noticed from our experience and from reading comprehension scores that students were struggling with the literature, so we put more time into developing those skills with our students. This has paid off in every area of the curriculum.”
The dedication of Michelle and the Regina Coeli faculty has also paid off, as Mike Van Hecke, president of the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, and I found during our workshop visit to the school. The unity of the faculty, their commitment to the Catholic faith, and their dedication to Catholic classical education is admirable.