St. Mary Magdalen School

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Gospel Values

SMMS embodies Gospel values in the teaching processes in myriad ways. As a mission-driven school whose mission is rooted in Gospel values, our teachers, students and others embody Gospel values in the teaching and learning processes.

Our schedule includes Religion as a core class for each of the grades. A curriculum consistent with the Archdiocese of San Antonio Religion standards is the guide for each Religion teacher. Further, our Catholic faith is explicitly integrated throughout each teacher’s pedagogy. Regardless of the grade level or the subject matter, each teacher frequently and overtly references Jesus and Gospel values. For example, each of our Maverick Values is woven into lessons beyond Religion class. These Values are based on Catholic Social Teaching.

Perhaps most importantly, our teachers most effectively embody Gospel values by being witnesses. As stated in the Holy See’s Five Essential Marks of Catholic Schools: “Catholic teachers are expected to be models and serve as witness to Christ and the gospel. This Christian example of teachers and others responsible for their education and formation is essential. What we do and say will define if we are a witness to the gospel.” Our teaching processes hinge on this primacy of witness. We strive to personify the saying, often attributed to St. Francis of Assisi: “Preach the gospel. Use words if necessary.” Therefore, teachers actively pray with students, participate in sacraments with students, abide by the Golden Rule, and engage in service.

Similarly, our learning processes also embody Gospel Values. Thomas Merton said, “For me to be a saint means to be myself.” We recognize and celebrate that each child learns uniquely; consequently, we emphasize and execute differentiation in instruction and assessment. Just as fervently, we recognize and celebrate that each child has the ability to improve as a learner, and that this improvement most effectively emanates from the educational synthesis of faith, academics and service. Specifically, we work with each of our students to develop a Growth Mindset in all things.

This also involves the value of community in that we understand that students do not simply learn from individual engagement with a text or listening to lengthy lectures, but they also learn from working with each other. Therefore, collaboration and project-based learning are consistent features of Maverick learning. Those students who are able to witness not simply an individual Growth Mindset, but also a communal one where they enhance the learning experience of their classmates (and even their teachers!) are praised personally, and sometimes publicly, for their witness of the Gospel.

Lastly, we stress the formation of a relationship with each student. This relationship can strengthen the love that exists between the two, and reverberate throughout the classroom, the school and beyond. It also enables the teacher to understand the learner on a much more profound and expansive level, thereby