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a unique environment for middle and high school students of all religions to thrive in body, mind, and spirit.

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Key Benefits of a Catholic Education

At Saint John’s Prep, our mission is to educate our students for a lifetime of learning, leadership and service in a global society. As a Catholic institution that leans deeply into its Benedictine tradition, we provide a unique environment for middle and high school students of all religions to thrive in body, mind, and spirit.

Here are three key ways our Catholic education empowers students to become their best selves.

1. A Catholic education teaches strong moral values.

As parents, we want our children to grow up in an environment of respect and empathy. From their first play date, we begin teaching our children how to interact with others with compassion and fairness. When our children go off to school, we hope the foundation we built will keep them grounded in strong moral values.

A Catholic education provides a critical extension of these values outside of the home. In fact, The CARA Institute at Georgetown University found that “strong moral values” is the top reason parents choose to send their children to a Catholic school.

Catholic schools teach students of all ages moral conduct rooted in biblical principles. With Christ as a model, a Catholic education moves students to mature into Christ-like adults. Students are expected to take responsibility for their actions, to respect those around them, and to make good decisions. A Catholic education emphasizes compassion, acceptance and service in and out of the classroom.

While not all students who attend Catholic school practice Catholicism, a scripturally-based program provides students of all spiritual paths with an ideal framework as they continue to explore and develop their moral ideals.

2. Academic rigor prepares students for college and beyond.

According to the Catholic News Agency, Catholic schools historically outperform public schools in a host of academic subjects. The latest report by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) supports that trend. The NAEP, also known as The Nation’s Report Card, assesses academic achievement in grades 4, 8, and 12.

“Every year for the last 20 years, Catholic schools have outperformed public schools on NAEP tests—reading, math, science, computer literacy, geography, history,” said Sister Dale McDonald, PBVM, director of Public Policy and Educational Research for the National Catholic Education Association.

The ACT composite test scores for Saint John’s Prep students fall firmly in line with this precedence. The scores of the class of 2020 exceeded the state and national averages by five points.

These impressive numbers are the culmination of many factors, including highly engaged faculty and a curriculum designed to challenge and empower students to reach their fullest potential. The goal isn’t just to prepare students to get accepted into the college of their choice, it’s to arm them with the right tools to succeed when they get there.

As an example, Saint John’s Prep offers a rigorous academic program based on an international curriculum that teaches depth of knowledge, research and writing, and critical thinking and values. The International Baccalaureate (IB) Program has emerged as a strong indicator of success in college, due in part to its heavy emphasis on writing and oral presentation.

Catholic schools also boast smaller class sizes. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average public-school class size is 25 kids. Our average class size is 18. Our student-to-teacher ratio is 11.1 compared to the average public-school ratio of 16.1 students per class.

Smaller student-to-teacher ratios foster more one-on-one time. Instructors are able to take a hands-on approach to teaching and can individualize lesson plans based on the specific needs of their students. Students are less likely to fall between the cracks because learning problems are identified early on. At Saint John’s Prep, teachers don’t just know students by name, they become active mentors inside and outside the classroom.

It’s no wonder that Catholic schools have a much higher graduation rate than public schools, according to the Council for American Private Education (CAPE). While the national public high school graduation rate is about 84 percent, the high school graduation rate at Saint John’s Prep is 100 percent.

3. Catholic education promotes a culture of service.

Community service is a tenet of Catholicism, and that tends to spill over into Catholic schools. Though not universal, many Catholic schools include service as part of their curriculum.

Since our founding in 1857, Saint John’s Prep has created our educational mission in the Catholic Benedictine tradition. To that end, the school seeks to prepare our students for lives of purpose, service and achievement. We strive to “listen with the ear of the heart,” as Saint Benedict directs us in the Rule, to the needs of all members of our school community.

We prioritize community at Saint John’s Prep because we believe that together we’re part of God’s entire creation. Community formation provides opportunities to embrace differences and provide mutual support. Shaped by our Benedictine values, the educational experience at Saint John’s Prep sets its sights on the transformation of mind and heart. We encourage an active sense of belonging in our school and empathic engagement with the world around us.

Community is also at the center of the school’s core values.

“Our school is a community, providing hospitality and demonstrating citizenship. Life together in this place is built on trust, love, respect and a genuine interest and concern for one another, which includes welcoming, helping, listening, caring and being present to others. Learning is a communal activity of students, teachers, parents, alumni/ae, friends, and the board. We embrace the opportunity to work for the common good of the larger community, one that reflects the broad diversity of the real world. Faithful citizenship in this community includes not only rights and privileges—it also includes obligations to the individual citizens, to the Prep School community, and to society.”

A supportive community gives students the confidence to try new things, the freedom to be themselves and the encouragement to relate to and reach out to others with respect and dignity, despite their differences. This creates independent, engaged and empathetic citizens who recognize the value of all members of the community.

By emphasizing strong moral values, academic excellence and a culture of service, Saint John’s Prep—like so many Catholic schools—provides a lively, rigorous, engaging experience rooted in timeless values.

Contact us today to learn about the ways our Catholic school—rated the #1 Catholic High School in Minnesota by Niche—will prepare your child to thrive in a 21st-century world.

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