In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, many questions continue to be raised about the way forward for education. While kids are caught between being in school and in virtual classrooms, some are using the pandemic to suggest we “re-think” education and consider new models that make more use of technology. Some even suggest we reconsider the what, how, and where of learning, and that it might be better to “negotiate” with students over what they learn.
Many parents have questions or concerns about what’s happened to their children’s education over the last several months. Now is a good time to re-think the possibilities and consider a change to something better.
Experiments with education, including the present emphasis on Common Core, has never returned positive results. These innovations always fail, giving way to the next great idea. In the end, children are always the subject of these experiments, and consequently the victims as well.
Catholic classical education is already well-proven as they best way to educate children. We go beyond vague talking points about how education prepares kids for college and career, and emphasize the critical importance of a Catholic education on the intellectual AND religious formation of children. We prepare them to think critically and with faith so that they can successfully meet the challenges of this life while they look forward to life in heaven.
What makes the Regina Academies different?
The Regina Academies are independent Catholic schools, founded to provide a classical model of education that forms students in wisdom and virtue through a proven successful pedagogical method referred to as the trivium. No innovation, no fads, no Common Core… just a solid Catholic education based upon the natural developmental stages of childhood using a time-tested method that has proven successful over many centuries.
The Regina Academies’ mission statement makes our overall objective clear:
Founded in faith, inspired by hope, and lived in love, the Regina Academies challenge students and their families in a communal and academic setting to be joyful saints through Catholic faith formation, classical wisdom, and virtue in action.
What follows below are a few examples of what we consider to be the key differentiators of a Regina education. Click on the bullet to go to each section:
- We honor childhood
- We are technology and stress free
- We provide proven superior academic formation
- We form children in wisdom and virtue with the goal of heaven
- We teach real history and our responsibility to improve society for all.
For parents looking for a school for their children, here are some brief insights into what makes the Regina Academies a unique educational offering for families to consider.
First of all, every educational system begins with assumptions about who children are. Secular public and private education denies, or at least neglects, fundamental christian anthropology, namely that we are far more than a brain and a body. We are, in fact, fundamentally spiritual beings created in the image of God and deeply loved by him. Nurturing the soul and honoring the whole child is the starting point for everything at the Regina Academies.
The impact of Covid-19 on children’s welfare and educational progress is well documented. So was the evidence available during the summer indicating that schools were safe places for children to be in the midst of the pandemic, and yet many remained closed. Based upon this evidence, all four Regina Academies opened in the fall of 2020 with our students in class meeting their teachers face-to-face. We were confident, based upon all available evidence and a good share of trust in God, that we could do so safely, and we did!
Classical schools are communities of learning built on relationships, and as we have all come to understand, Zoom, FaceTime, Google Classroom, and other virtual options have been a poor substitute for the human interaction that happens in a classroom.
Childhood is an important formative time, both academically and spiritually. Young minds are sponges that readily memorize and absorb things like math facts, spelling, and grammar. Regarding religious formation, studies have shown that what children believe by the time they are 13, they will believe for the rest of their lives. In both academic and religions formation, love is the most important ingredient, and the most important aspect of love for children to know is Divine Love. The Regina Academies always emphasize to our students that God loves them, and that they are created in his image for a purpose.
As spiritual beings, we acknowledge the importance of community. In the midst of this pandemic, our schools have made it a priority to allow children to carry on with their normal routines and to not be conditioned to live fearfully, but to trust joyfully in God, a well-formed conscience, and common sense – or as we would say – Faith and Reason.
The Regina Academies are Technology and Stress Free
Many Silicon Valley tech executives are putting their children into exclusive private schools that are technology free. Why? As insiders, they know the goal of their industry is to develop products that are irresistible to kids. They also know the dangers of technology on developing young brains.
Tech-free classrooms are an oasis for children who live in a world dominated by technology. Smart phones, tablets, and computers are deeply addictive. These devices can rob children of interests in other activities and their ability to communicate with other human beings, and they can lead to problems with attention span, self-image, depression, sleep, and moods, and can create stress in peer and family relationships. If you haven’t yet seen it, watch The Social Dilemma, a documentary made by former tech executives that points out the dangers our children face.
A classical education takes place in the context of conversations in the classroom – what we call the Socratic method. Teachers know what students know because they interact with them on a personal level. Some testing is still necessary, but not as excessively and with the stress to perform as is common in many schools. Research has shown that technology actually lowers educational performance.
We don’t deny that technology is an important part of life, but at the Regina Academies we consider it secondary to learning critical academic and human skills that can keep technology is its proper place – as a tool and not a master.
If, as research claims and tech executive know, technology is leading to compulsive use, compromised neurological development, behavioral problems, poor communication, poor social skills, loss of interest in other activities, stress, depression, and poorer academic performance, why do schools continue to provide electronic devices to their students?
We can’t answer that question, but we do provide a wholesome, tech-free environment that nurtures wonder, helps children develop confidence, superior verbal and written communication skills, excellent computational skills, and an appreciation for productive leisure and play in nature that inspires the imagination.
The Regina Academies Provide Superior Academic Formation
The latest National Report Card, a biennial progress report on the state of American education, was released in 2020 and showed that 4th and 8th grade students scored lower in reading than the last time they were tested in 2017. In math, 4th graders scored one point higher than 2017, but 8th graders scored one point lower.
Pointing to the superiority of classical education, The Association of Christian Classical Schools keeps very good statistics that compare a Christian classical education to various other educational options. You will notice that typical Catholic schools are barely more successful than public schools in forming students to make good life choices, preparing them for life, and forming positive attitudes, values, opinions and practices. You can also see that Classical schools exceed the performance of other schools in preparation for future study and career success.
The success of a classical education in forming the whole person is undeniable. Our students come from the same cross-section of society as any other school. However, consistent with the statistics provided by the ACCS, Regina Academy students continue to score in the 85th to 99th percentile year after year on standardized tests.
The Catholic classical education provided by the Regina Academies results in stellar academic success and also formation that leads to virtue and the knowledge of God and his will.
The Regina Academies Form Children in Wisdom and Virtue
One of the goals of Catholic classical education is to form students in wisdom and virtue through formation in the Catholic faith. Knowing a lot of facts is quite different from knowing we have an obligation in justice to use knowledge for good. As we have already stated, classical schools are unequaled in academic success, but that success would be empty if students did not, at the same time, develop strength to character to always act with virtue and in charity.
Character is formed in the Regina Academies by entering into a conversation with the greatest minds that have ever lived. These authors teach students that actions have consequences and deepen our students’ understanding of the challenges and obligations of being human. Through our virtues curriculum, and through disciplinary programs that hold children accountable for their actions in love children learn to be successful and respectful in community, to listen respectfully to various points of view to form their own beliefs in truth.
One cannot be wise or virtuous without acknowledging that truth can be known, and that it is an objective reality that exists outside of us. The Regina Academies are faithfully Catholic schools that form students in faith and reason so that they can be truly free, not enslaved to contemporary addictions like technology, radical individualism, materialism, or scientism that fail at every level to bring true freedom and happiness.
Honoring History and Loving our Neighbor
We are raising our children in a very challenging and divided time in the United States. The Regina Academies do not take a political stand on national issues, and we certainly don’t promote any political party. We do teach and form the moral conscience of children by challenging them to think critically, guided by the principles of Catholic doctrine.
Some have explained our current national conflicts by noting that we have two competing narratives that define America right now. The traditional story of America, most beautifully expressed in the first paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, is that we are a country founded on the ideal that all are created equal and that by virtue of our humanity, we have certain rights that are not given to us by a government, but by God, our Creator. The role of government, then, is to ensure that those rights are protected.
The competing story of America that has gained prominence since 2019 and especially in 2020 is embodied in the New York Times 1619 Project. It is a revision of history that claims America’s true story begins in 1619 when the first African slaves were brought to the colonies. This re-writing of history is deeply flawed on too many levels to enumerate here (see here for opposition to its historical claims). It is based on a narrative of power and oppression, and not a narrative of hope and promise inspired by Christian belief in the Incarnation and the promise of redemption. Unfortunately, this new narrative has found its way into at least hundreds of K – 12 schools across the United States.
The Regina Academies teach the traditional story of America. We teach students that the Declaration of Independence writes only the first chapter in the evolving story of our country – a story that continues to be tested and realized over time. We acknowledge the tragic sin of slavery in our past along with its lingering legacy, and we honor those who continue to sacrifice so much for freedom and equality for all people, regardless of race or religion. Our students are encouraged to question, to celebrate virtues and victories, and learn from failings and mistakes.
We teach our students to value the rights enumerated in the Declaration, namely the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and to acknowledge them with gratitude. We teach them that God has bestowed these rights on all people by virtue of our creation in God’s image and our redemption in Christ. We teach that no individual or government has the authority to deny us of them. We value the right to life as the first of these rights, and most importantly, we instill in our students an understanding that every human person is a unique and unrepeatable gift of a loving Creator and born with a purpose.
Choosing a School – Finding One’s True Purpose
A Regina education prepares children to discover their purpose both academically and spiritually. As followers of Christ, we teach that love of God must be put into action by serving others, especially those in need and most especially the poor and the oppressed. As followers of Christ, we are called to live justly with respect for all persons.
Choosing a school is one of the most important decisions parents ever make. The Regina Academies believe, with the Church, that parents are the first educators of children, so school must be seen as an extension of the home and not its replacement. School should not only provide outstanding academic formation, but also support and reinforce the parent’s faith and values. Parents must know with reasonable certainty that a school will fulfill its promises, and if a Catholic school, that the school will educate children in the Faith so that they truly come to know, love, and serve God. The Regina Academies are that school.
The Regina Academies were founded in 2003 for families by families. Our schools are joyful, faith-filled, academically rich communities of support for children and parents. We welcome new families seeking academic excellence and a loving and supportive community whose promise is to form the whole child and serve the whole family as we journey together toward heaven.
If you’re not sure, read what our parents and students say and schedule a visit to one of our schools.