Our Approach to Education
The educational outgrowth of our Catholic identity is recognition and love for each child, made in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1: 26), as an individual and as a learner. We embrace our unique opportunity as a Catholic school to nurture the whole child and we strive to enrich all aspects of the child’s life through faith formation, strong academics, support for social and emotional growth, and a variety of high-quality opportunities. Following the clear teaching of the Church, we recognize parents as the primary and principal educators of their children and value our partnership with them. Read our principal’s philosophy of education here.
As a staff, we embrace professional development as part of the school’s commitment to continual improvement and we work hard to develop expertise in pedagogy; we are a learning institution as well as a teaching institution. Our teachers are state-certified, qualified, passionate and faith-driven professionals who are giving of their time and of themselves to our school’s mission and to God’s work. (See the infographic below for more information.) Relying on the expertise and interests of our faculty, we are innovative as a school. Engagement and healthy relationships are key concepts we value and often discuss. We meet students’ individual academic needs in a supportive, Christian environment that also provides an appropriate level of challenge.
Our academic program includes four overnight, curricular, experiential trips from grades 3-8 that allow students to form closer bonds as a class and to grow in confidence and independence as individuals. Educational technology (2:1 student:device ratio in K-5 and 1:1 Chromebooks in 6-8) is readily available, and students learn basic coding and robotics as part of the curriculum. SHCS uses STAR testing from Renaissance and the IOWA tests for outside validation of our academic progress. Our STREAM program is intentionally interdisciplinary, and students learn STEM in a way that is also beautiful (arts) and infused with faith (religion).
Our teachers collaborate with two learning specialists, two librarians/educational technology experts, our school counselor, two deans of students, a STREAM coordinator, the director of student support and six qualified instructional assistants to deliver our curriculum.
The left chart below illustrates the national percentile rank of each grade at SHCS on the IOWA standardized test in 2018 out of the more than 200,000 participant schools. The composite score consists of tests in math, reading, science and social studies.
The right chart below shows the long-term success of SHCS students, according to data provided by Knoxville Catholic High School. Our students consistently out-perform their peers at the local, state, and national levels on the ACT. Our alums’ average ACT of 26 in 2018 is five points higher than the national average of 21. In 2017, SHCS alums graduating from KCHS earned $6.3 million in scholarship money, and in 2018, they earned $4.7 million.
Our students experience a curriculum that is intentionally infused with Catholic identity, so that they grow in faith as well as wisdom. Sacred Heart students receive evangelization and catechesis through our religion curriculum, but also through the example of clergy and faculty, attendance and participation at Mass, daily prayer, devotionals, retreats, regular opportunities for confession, and through the example of the saints and the language of virtue. Our students prepare during the school day for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Communion in second grade and for Confirmation in Middle School. As the Cathedral school of the Diocese, we are forming Christian leaders to impact society, and we find every opportunity to give children leadership opportunities during their journey at Sacred Heart Cathedral School.