08Nov

Restoring Interpersonal Communication

Dear Families, We had a solid turnout last evening at the first parent forum of the year. I also received several emails from parents indicating they regretted the inability to attend. We discussed the excerpts from Saint John Paul II shared in previous newsletters. Our context was setup by closely examining empirical data from Jean Twenge. Here are a few takeaways from our discussion: Technology - and not just the exploding use of personal mobile devices - has triggered a sustained pattern of increased levels of self-reported stress by adolescents. It may not be enough to merely remove te...

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31Oct

Meaningful Professional Development

Dear Families, A common practice in schools is to build professional development days into the calendar each year. Typically, it is a day to unveil the latest, new teaching technique; to hire the outside expert replete with buzzwords and catchphrases; or to simply catch up on grading and planning. While these are all valuable ways to spend time, and useful knowledge may be gained, they are disjointed and discrete activities. What is the purpose? What is the larger goal? Last Friday our Mount Royal staff was blessed with an opportunity to meet together and share a day of prayer and study. Plann...

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24Oct

Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence in Catholic Education

Dear Families, The most tried and true measure of success is time. This is perhaps the greatest testament to the mission of the Catholic Church. Thousands of organizations and regimes have come and gone since Christ founded his Church over 2,000 years ago. Jesus himself promised that he would be faithful to his mystical body until the end of time. Our historical moment in Catholic education is marked by decline and devastation. The statistical indicators are staggering: Catholic schools across the country are ceasing to exist, but Mount Royal Academy remains a beacon of hope for the future. 2...

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17Oct

Growing in Virtue Together

Dear Families, As we find ourselves with little more than two weeks left in the first quarter, it is amazing to see how quickly time is passing. The gorgeous fall leaves that fall upon our school campus are a reminder of God’s creation: always changing, always growing, and filled with stunning beauty. Another wonderful area of growth we have seen this fall has been the formation of our Households. Introduced in August, the initiative has a twofold goal: to promote growth in virtue and provide opportunities for fellowship. After having two official household activities so far, I can honestly s...

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10Oct

The Joy of Teaching Truth

Dear Families, I was back in the classroom on Thursday, substituting for Mr. McMenaman in our junior Morality course. We read through and discussed passages from Pope John Paul II's encyclical entitled Veritatis Splendor. My only thought after the class was, "Wow, do I miss discussing these texts with young people." I did own the fact that I came up with the idea of reading this text with this group of juniors, due in large part to their collective intellectual capacity. Tackling such a philosophical and ideologically charged text is not easy for anyone, lest an adolescent. Twenge, in her boo...

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08Oct

Creativity, Joy, & Originality

Dear Families, We have spent the past month discussing the dangers of excessive screen time, the importance of silence and reflection, and pondering the words of great men such as Saint John Paul II. Now we turn to the question: How does technology limit our creativity? How does it keep us from being the loving, innovative creatures made in His likeness and image? In their book, The App Generation (Gardner & Davis, 2013) pioneering psychologist Howard Gardner (Multiple Intelligences theory) notices that although, “Digital media open up new avenues for youth to express themselves creatively… an...

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26Sep

The Greatest Insight on Mass Media

Dear Families, Pope John Paul II was a phenomenal communicator; he maximized every tool and opportunity to impart truths about our faith, family, and society. Continuing our focus on the media and its effect on children, family life, education, and the culture, I wanted to share a couple excerpts from his annual addresses on World Communications Day.  This prophetic gem comes from the 19th address back in 1985: Young people, therefore, are the first and most immediate receivers of the mass media, but they are also the most exposed to the flood of information and of images which arrive in...

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19Sep

Recovering Silence

Dear Families, Welcome to (unbelievably) the third week of school. Many parents, teachers, and children have remarked to me recently that they cannot believe how quickly time is flying. It has been gratifying to see how quickly and smoothly the students and staff have settled into routines of hard work and play. Schoolwork procedures become ingrained, recess games begin swiftly, and everyone is happy to be together once again. Serendipitously, my husband and I undertook a silent retreat the weekend before school began. The Trappist Monastery was booked six months in advance; so, when we made...

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12Sep

Who is iGen?

Dear Families, I digress to a note about the tone of this message: I promise to be more upbeat in future messages. The school year is off to a fantastic start. A question that keeps nudging me I would imagine is nudging all of you: What kind of world will our children enter? What will it be like for our children when they mature into adulthood? The answer to that question starts with what is happening right now, and what is happening is right in our hands. Dr. Jean Twenge is a psychologist and secular observer of generational behaviors and attitudes. In her newest book entitled, ““iGen: Why T...

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07Aug

Affirmed in Purpose: Reflections on Classical Education

I had the privilege of attending the 6th Annual National Catholic Classical Schools Conference this summer, hosted at the Catholic University of America in Washington DC. After reflecting on the experience, I wanted to share my thoughts. It has been a long time since I was away from my family for several days. The only other time I was away for school-related purposes was a two-week marketing trip to China in 2012. My daughter Jubilee was barely six months old at the time. I vividly recall standing in my hotel room, longing to attend Mass, but quite uncertain as to how to find a legitimate Ma...

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