What is a Catholic School?

Catholic School Definition and Information

mary statue catholic schoolA Catholic school is an institution of learning that is associated with the Catholic Church. There are Catholic schools at all levels, from pre-school to universities. However, when most people use the term Catholic school, they are likely referring to an elementary, junior high, or high school.

Since ancient times, Christians have educated their children in a Christian way. Catholic schools were founded in various countries so that Catholics would have a way to give their kids the best education possible, an education with both an academic and spiritual component. Today, because of their reputation for safety and academic excellence, many non-Catholic parents send their children to a Catholic school.

Many Catholic schools are associated with Catholic parishes, and these are called parochial schools. A parochial school is pretty much run by the local church, priest, and school administrators. Some Catholic schools are diocesan, which means the local diocese, run by a bishop or other local ordinary, controls them. Even though a local priest might help run them, the diocese and bishop determine the direction that a school will take. Others are run by religious orders, such as the Jesuits or the Sisters of Notre Dame. In these schools, brothers and sisters (nuns) often are teachers and administrators, although many laypersons may also work there.

A Catholic school is typically recognized as providing an excellent education. Even though many schools charge tuition for a student to attend, Catholic school students tend to have greater success in college and other areas of life. Additionally, a Catholic school is supposed to form the moral and spiritual character of a student. This means that in addition to math, science, and English (all important), a Catholic school will train a student in prayer, morality, social conscience, and virtuous living.