My Dear Friends,
This month we highlight another one of the outstanding educational institutions of the diocese.
St. Michael School at West Broad, in Pawcatuck, has been a vibrant part of the community for more than 145 years. The school is summed up in our mission to engage students in a program of Christian formation characterized by a challenging and enriching Catholic Classical curriculum, in a nurturing environment.
So, what is a Catholic Classical curriculum? Students study the great ideas of Western civilization. Democracy, science, art, and literature provide understanding of how the past influences and unifies our culture. Great classical literature and primary sources are utilized. Students use memorization and recitation not just to acquire knowledge, but train their minds to learn and remember. Reading, writing, phonics and vocabulary are emphasized. The study of Latin begins in the early grades and continues through grade eight. As the basis of all the Romance Languages, Latin is beneficial not just to the acquisition of these languages but also to the teaching of logic, grammar and vocabulary.
What does this look like? If you walked through our school you would meet students learning the history of Western civilization and Christianity. You would hear students parsing sentences by chanting and identifying each part of speech; and you would meet teachers thrilled at how this has benefited the students’ writing skills. You would find students reciting poetry and preparing for our annual Recitation night. In the older grades students will be conjugating Latin verbs, declining Latin nouns and adjectives and achieving success on the National Latin exam, all while learning to think logically and prepare themselves to tackle other languages. You would hear even our younger students reciting their prayers in Latin. You would observe students reading good classical literature, and discussing and recommending books to their classmates; students learning to discuss and debate logically and clearly with evidence using Socratic discussions. You would also meet students learning about and growing in virtue.
Add to all this the fact that last year we moved from the building across from the church to a larger building a block away. Our new building, the former West Broad Street School, affords us more space, larger classrooms and plenty of room to grow. And we are growing. Our enrollment is up by 21% since our move and we are excited to welcome new families to our school community.
If you are interested in learning more about Classical education and St. Michael School, we welcome you to visit to see what we have to offer. We’d love to show you!
May God bless and keep you safe.
Dr. Gail Kingston
Superintendent of Schools