All Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of San Antonio are fully accredited by the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops Education Department (TCCB ED), which is part of the Texas Private School Accreditation Commission (TEPSAC) and recognized by the state’s Texas Education Agency (TEA). As a TCCB ED accredited school, our schools meet a high standard for curriculum and assessment. Additionally, all our teachers meet the TCCB ED requirements for educators which include both content area knowledge and an expectation that teachers have been formally trained through education courses and/or teacher certification. You can learn more about the TCCB ED accreditation process here: https://txcatholic.org/accreditation/
Standards and Curriculum
Catholic Schools offer an academic experience based on the Archdiocesan Standards for PreK-8 schools. These standards include the TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge & Skills), but also integrate Catholic values and teachings across all subject areas. Catholic High Schools follow the TEKS for each subject area and the Bishops Curriculum Framework for Theology courses. While we have systemwide standards for our schools, each school has autonomy to determine the curriculum materials, resources and methods that will be used to meet and exceed those standards.
As part of the requirements for accreditation, all Catholic School students must take standardized tests in grades 1-12 and each school must administer a religion assessment for, at minimum, grades 5, 8 and 11.
For grades K-8, academic assessments in the Archdiocese are conducted through NWEA MAP Growth testing. By using NWEA, we have developed a growth mindset among our educators and students. Our philosophy is not that an assessment score is an “end all be all” for a student’s performance, but that these scores show us the needs of each individual student and help us to close the gaps in performance. For us, the critical purpose of standardized testing is to demonstrate growth and to help meet the individual needs of each student in our schools.
High schools in the Archdiocese use testing programs through College Board, including PSATs, SATs, ACTs, and AP (Advanced Placement) tests to track student achievement and college readiness. While these tests are only one measure of student achievement, they can be used to provide additional context to better understand other information (such as grades and courses taken) in a student’s transcript.
For all schools, religion assessments are provided once each year through the Assessment of Religious Knowledge (ARK). Like NWEA, ARK testing charts the growth of students from year to year and can help religion teachers identify strengths and areas of growth for each class and individual students.
Each of our schools has defined and put in place a multi-tiered system of support, which we call Building Strong Foundations (BSF), as a systematic data driven process of identifying and supporting students with academic, social-emotional, or behavior needs. The goal of Building Strong Foundations is to identify students who are at risk for not meeting grade-level standards and intervene early. Although the implementation of BSF may vary from school to school, each school’s program includes a way to identify at-risk students and work collaboratively to create a plan for success.
In addition to covering core classes such as ELA (English Language Arts), Math, Social Studies, Science, and Religion, our schools offer a variety of enrichment opportunities in arts, STEM, athletics, Campus Ministry, and more. We have developed partnerships with several organizations to help facilitate enrichment programs including a Pre-K swim program through the Miss Tristan Foundation, STEM with Starbase Kelly, student leadership through UT Teen Health, and arts with Alamo Arts Academy. Additionally, each year we celebrate cheer, music, literature, photography, and art through the Catholic Academic and Arts Competition (CAAC). Our CAAC programming includes a Cheer for Christ Competition, Sing at the Cross, and an arts and literature showcase.
In the Archdiocese of San Antonio, we believe our teachers and school leaders must be lifelong learners and value opportunities for professional growth and development. Throughout the year, teachers and administrators are provided with a variety of professional development opportunities through our PD & Resource Catalog. Additionally, we offer a Catholic Administrators Program (CAP) for current and aspiring administrators; we offer a First-Year Teacher Induction Program to help support and form our newest teachers; and we offer a Master Teacher Program to hone the skills of our veteran teachers and help them learn strategies to support and mentor our first-year teacher cohort.