‘Global’ curriculum planned for new NW Side Catholic school


The Pope Francis Global Academy which will open on the Northwest Side next August will focus on teaching students to be problem solvers so they gain a greater appreciation of the world’s diverse cultures.

“Students attending the Pope Francis Global Academy will learn in an environment rich in strong Catholic identity, incorporating a curriculum aligned to rigorous math, science, humanities and world language standards and delivered through the lens of global studies,” a brochure on the “Global Studies” curriculum states.

The brochure was distributed before the start of a curriculum presentation that about 50 people attended on Dec. 10 at Saint Cornelius School, 5252 N. Long Ave. An official from the Archdiocese of Chicago Office of Catholic Schools requested that members of the media leave the meeting because it was intended for parents.

The academy represents the merger of four area parochial schools, Saint Cornelius, Saint Pascal, 6143 W. Irving Park Road, Our Lady of Victory, 4434 N. Laramie Ave., and Saint Tarcissus, 6040 W. Ardmore Ave. The academy will have campuses at Saint Tarcissus and Saint Pascal, with pre-kindergarten through eighth grade classes at each campus.

The parishes for each of the four schools will participate in the governance of the academy and will be expected to support it financially. The pastors of the four parishes will rotate celebrating weekly mass at the academy and hearing the students’ confessions, and sacraments will be administered in home parishes for the first 2 years of the academy.

Saint Constance and Saint Thecla parishes opted not to join the merger plan. An archdiocese official said at a meeting at Saint Thecla that schools that do not consolidate could be closed if they run a deficit and that the archdiocese would not offer those schools financial assistance, even in cases of emergencies.

Teachers at the schools that are consolidating will have to reapply for their jobs if they want to work at the academy. Teachers have been asked to provide letters of recommendation.

The school’s curriculum will include art, music, physical education, integrated technology, social studies, world languages, common-core state standards for literacy and mathematics, and  “next generation” science standards, which were developed by the National Research Council. The council uses a framework that is designed to prepare students for their future academic life and also for a career, and its assessments are based on international benchmarks. Critical thinking will be incorporated throughout the curriculum, according to the brochure.

Service projects also are part of the curriculum. “Service projects, established to reinforce the path Pope Francis has called us to follow, will nurture our students sense of respect and responsibility,” the brochure states. “This helps to shape the atmosphere of our school, our values and our actions.”

The school also will offer extended day care, and financial assistance will be available through the Caritas Scholar Program. The program’s grants are based on financial need and do not have to be paid back.