February 7, 2024 // Diocese

Diocesan Catholic Schools Partner with Lumen Accreditation

On Monday, January 29, officials with the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend Catholic Schools Office announced a new partnership with the Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education (ITCE) at The Catholic University of America. The Catholic Schools Office and the diocesan Catholic schools will be joining the St. Thomas Aquinas cohort for Lumen Accreditation beginning with the 2024-25 school year. Lumen Accreditation advances and promotes the distinctive excellence of K-12 Catholic school education.

“The Catholic Schools Office, with approval from Bishop Rhoades, is pleased to announce that our new school accreditation will be imbued with our core values: mission and Catholic identity, academic excellence, and Gospel values, which confirms the work we continue to do with curriculum frameworks embedding truth, beauty, and goodness in all content areas,” said David Maugel, Superintendent of Catholic Schools.

Lumen Accreditation will replace the Catholic Schools Office’s current partnership with Cognia Accreditation at the end of this school year.

The transition to Lumen Accreditation will align mission, strategic planning, continuous improvement, and accreditation, according to officials with the Catholic Schools Office.

“Lumen, a distinctly Catholic accreditation program that is centered on Gospel values with fidelity to the Church, will encourage authentic conversations and dialogue regarding Catholic identity and enable our Catholic schools to place the proper emphasis on the human person,” said Peter Kilpatrick, President of The Catholic University of America.

The aim of the Lumen Accreditation is to ignite renewal, illuminate pathways, and transform hearts to foster the full flourishing and distinctive excellence of our nation’s K-12 Catholic schools.

According to officials in the Catholic Schools Office, Catholic schools have a unique culture that is rooted in the Gospel message, which permeates the life of the school. Gravissimum Educationis, the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Christian Education, states that “[The Catholic school’s] proper function is to create for the school community a special atmosphere animated by the Gospel spirit of freedom and charity, to help youth grow according to the new creatures they were made through baptism” (No. 35).

The foundation of Lumen Accreditation is the Catholic Church’s rich educational heritage, which will renew Catholic schools in the search for truth, beauty, and goodness. The Lumen Accreditation program was developed to unify the renewal of Catholic schools nationally. As a service to Jesus Christ and His Church, Lumen integrates foundational elements of the Church’s teachings on Catholic education and seeks to meet the needs of the individual charisms of dioceses and Catholic schools.

The Institute for the Transformation of Catholic Education at the Catholic University of America partnered with the bishops of the United States and other educational leaders to create a framework of communication resources guiding principles for K-12 Catholic schools. Schools will align their goals for improvement with the Church’s vision for Catholic school mission and identity.

ITCE at The Catholic University of America advances the distinctive excellence of Catholic education as a gift for each person and for society. “We foster a vision of education and formation that is rooted in Christ, draws from the great treasury of the Church’s tradition, and aims at the full flourishing of the human person in wisdom, virtue, and holiness,” according to the mission statement of the ITCE. “We inspire and promote the spiritual, intellectual, cultural, and operational renewal and transformation of our nation’s PK-12 Catholic schools through teacher and leader degree and professional development programs, school accreditation, and research.”

Accreditation is an important quality assurance process in which a school or diocese voluntarily seeks an external body to help it measure its effectiveness in fulfilling its mission and setting a course for continuous improvement. In this process, an accrediting body and a school mutually agree on a framework and standards of excellence and work together to support the school community in its striving for greater attainment of those standards.

While the above statement is true for any accreditation process, a Catholic accreditation calls schools to something greater. In a Catholic accreditation, school communities are called to be more than successful, they are called to be faithful; faith and reason are authentic pathways to knowledge and wisdom. As such, culture is an essential element to a Catholic accreditation process which leads to the continuous improvement of a Catholic school community and is best conveyed in Pope Pius XI’s 1929 encyclical on Catholic education, Divini Illius Magistri.

“Christian education takes in the whole aggregate of human life, physical and spiritual, intellectual and moral, individual, domestic, and social, not with a view of reducing it in any way, but in order to elevate, regulate, and perfect it, in accordance with the example and teaching of Christ. Hence the true Christian, product of Christian education, is the supernatural man who thinks, judges, and acts constantly and consistently in accordance with the right reason illumined by the supernatural light of the example and teaching of Christ.”

With an aim towards true Christian education, Lumen Accreditation assists schools to align their community more fully to the example and teaching of Christ.

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