Students in our high schools are challenged to think critically, creatively, and faithfully. We encourage independent thinking and deep respect for self and others. Our students gain confidence through a strong curriculum that includes advanced placement courses in science, math, English, foreign languages, and other subjects.
The program works. Our students score consistently higher on standardized tests, and 97% of our graduates go on to college.
Catholic faith teaches us that each student really matters. Our faculty and staff believe this, and it shows as they go about their work in the classroom, laboratory, or gym. Our faith is what gives us authentic concern for each individual — and makes us more effective as educators.
Every Catholic high school in the Archdiocese meets rigorous college-preparatory standards and is accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA) and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Almost all of our students complete the courses required by California state colleges and universities.
A Message From Our Superintendent of Secondary Schools
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The Catholic schools in the United States have a great legacy going back to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. John Neumann in the early 19th century. Often the question is asked why parents (Catholics and non-Catholics) choose Catholic schools. There are three usual answers: safety, academics, and Christian values.
Safety is not always an issue for government schools in affluent suburbs but in most of Los Angeles County safety is an issue. Transfer students from government schools talk about fights daily at break or lunch, having to “watch their back,” alcohol, drugs, and gangs on campus.
Academics is a reason for many parents because most of our Catholic high schools have a 98%-100% graduation and college attendance rate while several of the local public school districts have only a 50% or less graduation rate.
Christian values are a hallmark of our schools. This fact is recognized even by non-Catholic parents. More than a few minister’s sons and daughters are students in our Catholic schools.
Catholic schools infuse faith into every part of the school day not just religion class but also literature, history, math, discipline, and extracurriculars. Contrast that to a student who only attends CCD/religious education classes once a week for four school years – two years for First Communion and two years for Confirmation. In a Catholic school you will not find a teacher promoting atheism or ridiculing the faith of a student. You will not find a teacher ridiculing the Catholic Church or other churches. You will not find the promotion of premarital sex, abortion or other immoral issues.
But let’s go deeper than safety, academics, and values. Catholic schools engage students with the world and help them interpret and influence it. Three characteristics help students to do this:
(1) Our schools are Christ-centered, Eucharistic schools. Jesus is the heart of our faith and the Eucharist is where we meet him. All Christians are called to know Jesus, to grow in friendship with him. We do this through daily prayer, scripture, and through the Mass. Prayer takes place many times a day in a Catholic school – before class, practices, and athletic competitions. Mass usually is celebrated weekly for elementary school students and monthly for high school students. Daily prayer and frequent participation in the Mass can sanctify the lives of young people and help them to continue these practices into adulthood. Here is a beautiful thought – students spend most of their young lives on a school campus. How much better when daily, frequent prayer rings out through that campus.
(2) Our students learn to apply faith to the world in our Catholic schools. Students are taught with values that can guide them as they meet and dialogue with the larger culture.
When our students learn Catholic social teaching they receive core principles and a moral framework on a regular basis. These principles include the sanctity of marriage and family, the sacredness of all life, our responsibility toward the poor, and our duty to care for the earth.
(3) Our Catholic schools are places where faith and knowledge meet. The secular media gives us the impression that there is no connection between knowledge (especially the sciences) and faith instead that they are in opposition to each other. But we come from a long tradition that teaches us that faith and reason do not contradict each other but compliment each other. Put together growth in faith and growth in intellectual development and you have wholeness or well roundedness that is psychologically very healthy. Life is not just about facts or the accumulation of knowledge. Life is also about mystery, wonder, and faith. Catholic schools give our students the intellectual tools and faith to navigate a complex world.
As educators, parents, and parishioners we are called to see our local parish and archdiocesan schools as our schools. We are called to support and encourage our schools; financially, through volunteer work, helping with scholarships and tuition assistance and most importantly with choosing Catholic schools for our children and grandchildren. Please keep our students, parents, teachers, administrators, and staff in your prayers as they continue to live the Catholic school adventure.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Monsignor Sabato “Sal” Pilato
Superintendent of High Schools