The Catholic Diocese of Venice in Florida is proud to be an active participant in Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 29 through Feb. 5), an annual national week of recognition of the important educational and moral contributions Catholic Schools continue to make in this country. Sponsored by the National Catholic Educational Association, the theme for the week is â€śCatholic Schools: Faith. Academics. Service.â€ť Diocesan schools typically celebrate Catholic Schools Week with Masses, open houses and activities for students, families, parishioners and the community at large.
â€śIf parents are looking for the best investment in their childrenâ€™s future, they would be wise to give them a Catholic education right from the start,â€ť said Dr. Kathleen Schwartz, Director of Education for the Diocese of Venice. Scholarship assistance is available. â€śOur schools not only educate the mind and the body, but also the soul of the child.â€ť
Most Rev. Frank J. Dewane, Bishop of the Diocese of Venice in Florida, said Catholic schools are a beacon in the community. â€śWe are proud to say that schools in the Diocese of Venice are among the best at providing a core academic foundation. More importantly, they prepare young women and men to live their faith as Catholics in service to God.â€ť
The Diocese of Venice has 15 Catholic schools, which include 10 elementary schools (PreK-8), three high schools (9-12), and two schools for children with learning disabilities (ungraded), with a combined enrollment of approximately 4,000. The schools are located throughout the Diocese, extending from Bradenton in the north, Naples in the south and Sebring in the east.
The theme for the week focuses on three priorities that Catholic schools establish which make them stand out from other educational institutions. Children are taught faith â€“ not just the basics of Christianity, but how to have a relationship with God. Academics, which in Catholic schools are held to very high standards, help each child reach his or her potential. Service, the giving of oneâ€™s time and effort to help others, is taught both as an expression of faith and good citizenship.
During Catholic Schools Week, each day is devoted to a specific cause and means of celebration. For example, all schools celebrate those who make Catholic education possible, with special events for teachers, parents, grandparents, prospective parents and donors. In response to their Catholic identity, a special service project to the community is usually planned for Catholic Schools Week, although service projects in Catholic schools abound as a faith response all year long.Â A favorite day for students is Spirit Day, also know as Student Appreciation Day, when special treats (principal for the day, teacher/faculty athletic competitions, and ice cream treats, for instance) end the day on a high.
Catholic schools in the Diocese of Venice significantly outscore even other Catholic schools throughout Florida and the country on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, a nationally normed test given yearly. As important as academic achievement is, the philosophy of educating the whole person is a hallmark of Catholic schools.
â€śWe believe that the arts, foreign language, athletics and, of course, spiritual formation contribute to the full development of a truly educated person, and would not sacrifice such programs in our schools,â€ť Dr. Schwartz said.
For more information about Catholic Schools Week activities, please contact each school individually for their schedule of public events.