Catholic Education Honor Roll Program Overview
Purpose of the Catholic Education Honor Roll
The Catholic Education Honor Roll (CEHR) is a national program recognizing schools committed to strong Catholic identity. Recognized schools commit to and model the Principles of Catholic Identity in Education.
Principles of Catholic Identity in Education
The Honor Roll criteria conform (since 2017) to the Principles of Catholic Identity in Education, which The Cardinal Newman Society has derived from Church teaching and guidance on elementary and secondary education. They are: Inspired by Divine Mission; Models Christian Communion; Encounters Christ in Prayer, Scripture, and Sacrament; Integrally Forms the Human Person; and Imparts a Christian Understanding of the World.
The Honor Roll is currently open for elementary and secondary schools teaching the Catholic faith that have been in existence for at least three years. The Honor Roll does not currently accommodate homeschool programs, or online schools.
Usually a team of school administrators completes the application. The process will involve consultation with academic department chairs (if any), as well as discussion with the faculty, to ensure awareness of the process and expectations related to the Principles of Catholic Identity in Education. Application completion time will vary, but between 20-40 hours over a period of two to three months is not uncommon.
Applications can be submitted at any time. A $140 application fee is due when the school submits its full application. There is no fee for the pre-application process.
Honor Roll Recognition
Once approved as an Honor Roll school, a school receives a certificate of recognition good for five years. The school also receives a media resource packet to highlight recognition. Recognized schools find the positive publicity associated with the award a powerful way to increase reputation, enrollment, and donations. This nationally recognized status enables schools to tell not just their local populations but also colleges, universities, and a broad national audience that they excel as outstanding Catholic schools.
The Honor Roll does not publicize which schools are in the application process or which schools have been denied recognition.
The Catholic Education Honor Roll may revoke recognition status at its sole discretion.
Absence of Honor Roll Recognition
The Honor Roll process depends on a school’s voluntary application for recognition. The absence of a school from the Honor Roll list should not be construed to mean disapproval. It could mean the school did not apply, failed to provide adequate information, did not fully complete the application, was ineligible, or had some other obstacle to recognition.
The Cardinal Newman Society has resources available to assist schools with enhancing Catholic identity. Among them are:
– Principles of Catholic Identity in Education: Questions for Reflection and Assessment. A summary of the Church teachings on Catholic education with further questions for self-assessment to strengthen Catholic identity.
– Principles of Catholic Identity in Education: Faculty In-Service. A series of formative in-services and reflections for Catholic teachers based on five principles of Catholic identity.
– Principles of Catholic Identity in Education: Board Reflection. A series of formative in-services and reflections for board members based on five principles of Catholic identity.
– Catholic Curriculum Standards. A resource for educators to ensure that a Catholic worldview is appropriately integrated into all areas of academic instruction.
– The Call to Teach: Expectations for the Catholic Educator in Magisterial Teaching. A booklet presenting Church teachings describing how educators fulfill their essential role as witnesses to the faith in word in deed.
– Faith and Morals Language in Catholic School Teacher Employment Documents: Best Practices Brief. A compilation of best practices in Catholic school employment agreements articulating the expectations of teachers in the areas of faith and morals.
– Human Sexuality Policies for Catholic Schools. A resource guide responding to the need for faithfulness, clarity, charity, and integrity in policy issues related to human sexuality in Catholic schools.
Honor Roll Ambassador Schools
Several Honor Roll schools will be invited to serve as Honor Roll Ambassador Schools. These schools agree to work closely with the Honor Roll program, assisting other schools in best practices for Catholic education. Additional evaluation requirements exist for Honor Roll Ambassador Schools.
The Cardinal Newman Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and defending faithful Catholic education, manages the Honor Roll. In 2012, the Society inherited the program from the Acton Institute, which founded the program in 2004.
Concerns About Recognized Schools
Accepting recognized status as an Honor Roll school commits the entire school community to upholding the Principles of Catholic Identity in Education. Concerns about failure to do this should be addressed directly to the school administration or the school board as appropriate. If concerns are conveyed to The Cardinal Newman Society, copies (with any identifying information included) will be forwarded to the school administration for their follow-up.
Honor Roll School Obligations
Each Honor Roll school must post the Honor Roll certificate and Principles of Catholic Identity in Education poster in a public place.
The school must annually update demographic and contact information.
The school must display the five Principles of Catholic Identity in Education on its website along with the most recent Honor Roll application (only those questions designated as public). If access to portions of the website are restricted, the school must ensure that these are available to at least all parents, students, faculty, and leaders of the school.
School administrators are responsible for informing the Honor Roll if the school is no longer able to demonstrate full compliance with the Principles of Catholic Identity in Education.