Catholic Boarding Schools

Written by Shirley Parker
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Catholic boarding schools have long held a reputation for excellence, along with strict discipline, and adherence to Catholic religious faith. In fact, the primary purpose of most such boarding schools is, not surprisingly, to teach the Catholic faith. Non-Catholic parents of students need to keep this in mind when considering a Catholic school education for their child.

As with other religious schools, the principles of that specific faith will be observed and taught, and students must agree to adhere to those standards. This requirement is not subject to negotiation. Although other religious beliefs are not normally attacked, at least not by open-minded employees, a Baptist or Presbyterian child, for example, may not feel comfortable in the Catholic environment, or vice versa, personal friendships notwithstanding.

Some 30 or so boarding schools in the United States belong to an affiliation known as the Catholic Boarding School Association (CBSA), which first met in 1971 with hopes of decreasing competitiveness and encouraging cooperation between them. Some member schools are all-boys or all-girls, while still others are co-educational. All share a reputation for being safe schools for a child to attend while gaining an excellent education. As might be expected, dress codes are modest, and uniforms may be required.

Many Other Private Catholic Schools

A great number of Catholic schools exist in North America. Perhaps 80 or 90 either belong to or have applied for membership in the National Association of Private Catholic Independent Schools (NAPCIS). State and provincial associations also exist to support their member schools and to exchange ways of doing things that work well for them and their students. In Canada, some provinces completely fund their Catholic schools from public money. Other Catholic schools in other provinces do their own fundraising, right down to parent donations, car washes and bake sales. Disparity in teacher salaries is obvious. However, teachers love what they are doing in either case.


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