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From the Interim Superintendent

Catholic schools prepare for the coming of Christ in many special ways throughout the year.  During this Advent Season, each of our schools has their own unique and special traditions as they prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ our Savior.  I hope that you will have an opportunity to visit your child’s school to celebrate a special occasion and participate with us in this joyous time of year.

Featured in this edition of The Messenger, you will find a guest column from the Archdiocese of Washington Principal of the Year, Sister Kathleen Lannak, principal of St. John the Evangelist in Silver Spring, Maryland.  Sister Kathleen has dedicated more than 35 years of her distinguished career to teaching and leading Catholic schools in the archdiocese.  Please read on to learn more about Sister Kathleen, her leadership style, and the important role of Catholic education in the lives of the faithful.

Christmas is truly the “most wonderful time of the year”.  To help individuals and families celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, the Archdiocese of Washington implemented a campaign several years ago to make it easier for each of us to find Christ in Christmas.  Perhaps you have seen a yard sign, or read about it in your parish bulletin?  Find the Perfect Gift offers several easy ways for you to make your family’s Christmas a little more peaceful, meaningful and spiritual this year? Read on to learn more how to Find the Perfect Gift.

May God continue to bless you and your family during this Advent Season,

Sincerely in Christ Jesus,

December 2014 Vol. 3 No. 5

How Catholic Identity is Infused into the Curriculum
Sister Kathleen Lannak
Principal, St. John the Evangelist School, Silver Spring, Maryland
Archdiocese of Washington – 2014 Principal of the Year

The History of the Catholic school system in the United States is unprecedented in the world.  Early on in our history when the Bishops of the Church challenged every parish to have a Catholic school that would pass on our beliefs and morals, priests and religious men and women responded. From small beginnings, the Catholic school system grew and became well respected by all educators not only for continuing the educational mission of the Church but also for its academic excellence. Any number of studies have been done on academic excellence, graduation rates and continuation onto higher fields of learning that have demonstrated the positive impact our schools have had on our Church and country at large. 

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Finding Christ in Christmas
By Susan Timoney
Assistant Secretary, Pastoral Ministries and Social Concerns

Are you looking for ways to make you and your family’s Christmas a little more peaceful, meaningful and spiritual this year? In the busyness of preparing for the celebration of Christmas, we can easily lose the joy that makes the Advent and Christmas season so special.  The ultimate gift of Christmas is the gift of Jesus-- God’s love made concrete in his Son, born to show us the way to eternal life. 

The Christmas season is truly “the most wonderful time of the year” when it helps us to be more like Jesus and share what we most desire at Christmas; family, joy, peace, warmth, meaning, hope—all of which find their source in Our Lord.

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Hallmarks of Quality Catholic Schools
By: Cathy Spencer, Assistant Superintendent for School Improvement and Accreditation, Archdiocese of Washington

Ensuring Archdiocese of Washington Catholic schools are rooted in the Gospel and academically excellent is a top priority for school leaders throughout the archdiocese.  The process of ensuring excellence in a Catholic school is multi-faceted.  As one example, in the past two years, all archdiocesan schools hosted accreditation quality review (IQAR) teams for full day visits.  During the IQAR visits, team members observed commendable best practices and hallmarks of excellence.  Having just completed the first round of accreditation visits, I would like to share some of the common hallmarks of quality we observed.  I organized these hallmarks into four pillars based on Cardinal Wuerl’s pastoral on Catholic education. These pillars are Catholic identity, academic excellence, affordability/accessibility and governance.

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