Four years ago, this month, our school’s Sustainability Team decided to reverse the bad news that Saint Charles Borromeo Catholic Grade School would close after nearly seventy years of operations. In spite of a negative financial trajectory and downward enrollment trend of the prior decade, the team saw a great opportunity to introduce here to the Kansas City area the Catholic classical liberal arts model of learning. Our Saint Charles parish community rallied around the effort to reinvent ourselves, reinstitute our school, and recalibrate our mission in honor of our namesake, the great reformer of the sixteenth century, Charles Borromeo, and for the common good of our diocese, northland area, parish families, and children. In shifting focus, we decided to rise above the status quo by diving into a philosophy that is cutting edge and, at the same time, tried and true.
As 2016 drew to a close, we planned to unveil the re-energized educational model and implement it in the next academic year (August of ’17), evaluating it every three years during the first decade. This spring, three years later, we engaged Strategic Visioning LLC to guide us in our self-assessment and planning process. We gave initial and primary attention to Mission because our mission defines who we are and what we believe. Secondly, we focused upon Vision because our vision determines where we’re headed and what we’ll become. With this foundation, our school and parish leaders discussed, debated, discerned, and defined our Core Values. These value statements proclaim basic principles that distinguish us. For example, our academy teachers support parents in their role as first teachers of their children and team up with them to help our young scholars think critically and interdependently with God, who is revealed in truth, beauty, and goodness. We believe that our Christ-centered environment will produce and inspire servant leaders who embrace Catholic Social Teachings and who are always oriented toward God. And we value the incredible impact that our surrounding community—especially fellow parishioners—makes as, together with students, we act with honesty, integrity, and charity. What our children learn is a little different than at other schools; how they learn it is much different.
Our intent is to inculcate these core values as guides for our more practical Academy Pillars. The pillars provide direction for continuous improvements, illustrating our expectations. They revolve around four major themes: academic excellence, facilities to accommodate them, financial sustainability with stable enrollment and strong endowment, and the strength of family and community engagement. This is packaged in our Motto, celebrated in our Tagline, and cheered through our Mascot. Borromeo Academy’s motto is Latin: Eruditi-Sapientes-Sancti. In English, these terms (knowledge, wisdom, and holiness) remind us that through the accumulation of information we gain a knowledge and understanding that lead to wisdom. Wisdom is far more than brain power; it involves compassion and empathy; it is a biblical term that touches divine mystery. This kind of wisdom elevates us to holiness, the place where we encounter God in the same beauty, truth, and goodness that we are always pursuing further.
With our tagline, Charging Forward-Charging Heavenward, our Saint Charles Chargers keep us moving onward in this life and upward toward eternal life. A lightning bolt is our mascot (like the San Diego Chargers); but with our kid-scholars, we will see Little Lightning Blue and Little Lightning Gold bearing our school colors with small shocks of energy and great pride. I am grateful to Dr. Karen Hopson who, as principal, has built upon the good work begun by her predecessor, Mrs. Ann Lachowitzer. Our initial efforts with the Sustainability Team are being advanced in this Strategic Visioning process. It is an exciting time for us as we recommit to our mission, vision, core values, pillars, motto, tagline, and mascot; in all of this we are recommitting to God, one another, and the future. I hope that you can be part of our visioning process and our upcoming Prayer Luncheon on December 4. Please continue to pray for us as we charge forward and heavenward!