St. Elizabeth of Hungary School is a Catholic run academic institution established on September 12, 1958 in Texas. At its inception, the school had a population of 27 students. The teaching was done by Catholic nuns in portable buildings, with the use of traditional writing materials and implements. To transform an academic facility into a center of moral and educational excellence, this calls for skillful direction and management. Such management can only be realized through definite procedures and regulations that effectively steer conduct and safeguard the professional ethics. Subsequently, the school has a definite code of its practice; with clear guidelines on the modus operandi, and contingent plans on how the school will execute its management roles. This report will provide a concise analysis of the various policies and procedures, across some of the most pertinent school-running aspects, as stipulated in the School Handbook, with focus on their applicability, strengths, and limitations.
St. Elizabeth of Hungary School provides quality education infused with the Catholic philosophy and traditions, under research-based instructional methods. The school has a variety of extra-curricular activities and arrangements that instill high intellectual and personality attributes among the students. With high academic excellence and high discipline levels, the school has consistently been rated as pinnacle of knowledge and moral teachings. The facility has earned a favorable repute across the nation, as it fosters family values, and has continued to be a source of pride and admiration to the immediate community. Across the 55 years of operation, the school has experienced considerable transformations by creating a more conducive learning environment, with more than 300 students-an influx of a diverse students’ population, and with a competent team of academic lay professionals (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
Format and readability:
The school handbook has been presented in the school website in a PDF format, and this effectively enhances the dissemination of relevant information to the public. The information has been organized in a systematic mode, in sections and sub-sections that clearly outlines the various segments and their respective provisions. The information is organized in short paragraphs, with concise grammatically correct sentences. The document consistently provides a clear definition of the relevant clauses with emphasis on their weight and implications.
The school mission is entrenched in delivering academic excellence to the lives of the youth in a conducive environment that espouses the gospel philosophy as delivered by the Catholic tradition. According to the Catholic tradition, its teachings and doctrines embrace academic teachings together with lifelong commitment to Christian values and good citizenship. This philosophy is essential in molding a student body that has a full combination of spirituality and academic excellence, to a spiritual community that respects all human aspects (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
The academic center aspires to provide the fundamental aspects of education by integrating spiritual growth in the educational processes. Under this viewpoint, the center prepares the students to a Christian-way of living that is dedicated to serve humankind through their full academic potential, and understanding the continuity of education.
The school delivers its mandate under the values of a Christian-oriented curriculum, where the learners are motivated to live their faith alongside their academic pursuits. Provision of quality academic education that enhances the realization and tapping of every student’s potential embodies the prime objective. The center strives to provide the most conducive environment that enhances full development of individual talents and abilities, and achievement of personal goals (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
The facility is further entitled to the fulfilment of emotional and social needs of its students, an attribute that builds trust and rapport between the students and the teachers, with increased prospects for mentorship and parental advisory. Investments in the extra-curricular activities are among the tenets that have enhanced the nurturing of physically fit elites, with a lifelong physical fitness guarantee. Further to this, the institution has continuously promoted a diverse racial and cultural background, which has allowed the school to pride in its rich cultural heritage among its student body (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
The school has demonstrated transparency and impartiality in defining its admission criteria on a non-biased platform. The school openly receives any learner, from any racial background, color, gender, and national and ethnic origin on the ground that the learner will remain committed to the Catholic education tradition. In addition, none of the learners is discriminated from the school loans and scholarship programs, as long as the required qualifications are satisfactorily met (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
The school adheres to the prevalent Texas Education Code and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas Policy Handbook for schools. The code stands consistent with the operational policies across other academic center across the United States. For instance, according to this code, a new entrant into the Pre-Kindergarten must have attained three years, with five years as the main qualification to a Kindergarten admission (St. Elizabeth, 2015). According to St. Martin School, which is in California, the minimal age to the first grade has been set at six years, which is a basic requirement across other institutions across Texas and in other states. This requirement is consistent with St. Elizabeth Catholic school admission policy (Palau, 2010).
However, in St. Elizabeth Catholic School the student enrolment is subject to the ability of the parent/guardian to pay the tuition and fees, while the ability to provide the other required registration documents, including the parental consent and release forms have been ascertained (St. Elizabeth, 2015). Considering the consistency of this policy across other Federal-run institutions, this policy requires review. Factoring that under economic strains, some parents might be limited to remitting the full year’s tuition and fees charges, which would keep their children away from school.
The school is open to learners from all backgrounds and social settings. Nonetheless, the school accords priority to the Catholics. A higher preference is first accorded to the siblings of the St. Elizabeth School students, next on list comes to the children borne of the Hungary Catholic Church parishioners; then to children of the Catholic non-parishioners, and lastly to the non-Catholic students (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
According to the Federal policy that directs the running of academic institutions, equal consideration must be accorded to learners from all socio-economic backgrounds, irrespective of their national, ethnic, racial or religious background (Texas education Agency, 2004). Therefore, this policy of preferring Catholics to other religious affiliations is inconsistent with the national policy that advocates for an impartial admission.
As the policy stipulates, all tuition fees will be dispatched at the beginning of the year, that is, September. Any needy student will be invited to apply for the tuition rates, but a parent must demonstrate verifiable commitment to his/her tithing abilities and frequencies, and must have significantly contributed to the church contribution fee as prescribed. Further to this, the school provides a tuition rate to non-Catholics, a package that significantly motivates other religious affiliations to enroll in the school’s programs (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
In terms of any refund, the policy is consistent with St. Martin reimbursement policy, where the school principal shall determine the commensurate amount owed after a student withdraws from the school before the first day of any month. An administrative fee is always surcharged from any refund for the withdrawal decision. This policy is inconsistent with the publicly run institutions, factoring that an individual has the right to enroll into a facility and leave as desired, depending on the compelling reasons (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
The school has designed and implemented its academic curriculum under the auspices of the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools and the Texas Education Agency. The curriculum comprises of instructions in Religious and Spiritual knowledge, Reading and Language, Arts, Literature, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, Technology, Music, Library and Physical Education (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
Far beyond the Federal and No Child Left Behind laws, the school engages the learners to early literary assessments, endeavoring to refine the reading, writing and creativity skills among the learners. The school has also adopted the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) model, an education initiative that enhances the learners’ problem-solving, innovative thinking, communication, multiple-idea generation abilities, and productive teamwork (St. Elizabeth, 2015).
According to the Federal laws on learners’ discipline, it is upon the instructors/teachers, alongside with the parents or guardians to ensure that the learner attains the highest or possible level of discipline. The school propagates this provision by ensuring high levels of discipline in addressing class, duty, and extra-curricular activities attendance and appointment (Texas education Agency, 2004).
Any absence from class, truancy, and tardiness is always accorded a thorough investigation, and the appropriate remedies executed. According to the Texas Education Code, parents must always furnish ample details appertaining to any absence or medical/emergency appointment cases with the principal office, early enough, otherwise remedial actions will be applicable thereof (Texas education Agency, 2004). Any cases of child abuse, drugs, and alcohol use must be relayed to the office, where the principal will seek cooperation between the learner, parent, and the relevant state authorities in subsequent investigations.
Comparative to St. Martin School, the application of the discipline policies lies in the principal’s office, where the principal is entitled to all investigative cases, and the issue of the verdict upon full facts that the learner requires some disciplinary action. Depending on the weight of the situation, a learner will either be suspended, expelled or reprimanded as the principal may deem right.
The school has a number of extra-curricular activities that are not limited to athletics and ballgames, Technology Club, National Junior Honor society, choir, cheerleading, drama, speech, and church-sponsored Scouting Programs (Girl Guides, Cub Scouts, Brownies, and Boy Scouts). The learners are encouraged to join at least one or two of these activities, and participate openly with positive emotions that will make a good sportsman (St. Elizabeth, 2015). According to the Texas Education Agency, a learner must carefully choose the school and outside extra-curricular activities, while contemplating on the academic obligations towards excellence must be accorded precedence.
Arrival and departure:
The school is always open to learners by quarter past seven, when the students move in and embark on their day’s task. The school curriculum lessons end at three in the afternoon, but with the after-care program, the school ends its operations at six in the evening (St. Elizabeth, 2015). Consistent with the Federal Child Dropping and Pick-up laws, the school reserves the right to decline a learner’s release into the custodian of any parent or any other designated guardian, in the discretion of any school personnel, that the driver is under the influence of alcohol or any other drugs. Another designated adult shall then be required to pick up the learner (Texas education Agency, 2004).
Palau. (2010). School handbook. Koror, Palau: Ministry of Education. Koror, Palau: Ministry of Education
St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic School. (2015). “Parent-Student Handbook 2015-2016”. Dallas, Texas.
Texas Education Agency. (2004). Texas public schools sesquicentennial handbook. Austin, Tex.: Texas Education Agency.