Student Learning Expectations
St. Theresa School’s Student Learning Expectations (SLEs) are based on the Principals of Catholic Social Teachings. The themes of these principles are interwoven in the mission and philosophy of the school. In the Mission Statement, “Faith, Ohana, and Quality Education are the Pillars upon which we build tomorrow’s leaders.” St. Theresa’s Philosophy states that “the teachings of Jesus provide direction for the school through enriching Social Catholic Teaching and performing acts of community service.” Through the SLEs, St. Theresa School Students will increase their self-esteem and self-awareness which impacts learning across the curriculum. Furthermore, this translates to higher student achievement in academic disciplines as students become successful independent life-long learners who are significant.
The Principles of Catholic Social Teachings:
The Dignity of the Human Person
We are made in God’s image, so each of us has dignity. The world’s standards for measuring a person’s worth do not come into play here. All people have dignity. There are no standards set by racial, gender, ethnic, religious, cultural, intellectual or physical boundaries.
God made us. What an extraordinary work of art that makes each of us! No matter who we are, what we own, what we look like, or who our friends are, we are incredible. And we must treat all others with respect and fairness, giving them great dignity, for God made them too.
We are Called to Live as Family and Community
Humans are social beings. It is only through community experiences that we come to know ourselves. It is through the community that we understand our dignity and exercise our rights. For most people, community begins with family. Gradually, we move further into the greater community. Within these levels of community, we have both rights and responsibilities regarding the community, just as the community has rights and responsibilities regarding individuals.
Jesus knew that people need other people. None of us will ever live in complete isolation. We all need our families, friends, and neighbors. He tells us that it is our right that in our lives we have these important people who help us. And Jesus says we must help them too. Through this, we create a loving community.
Rights and Responsibilities
Every person has rights and responsibilities. We are entitled to food, education, work, clothing, shelter, and health care. We also have freedom of conscience, religious liberty, and the right to raise a family and to be free of unfair discrimination. With rights, of course, come responsibilities, and we are responsible to see that others always receive these same rights. This is working for the common good.
All of God’s people must have food, water, work, clothes, a home, school and medical care. These are basic ‘rights’ and all people must have them if they are to survive and live with dignity. But many do not. Jesus wants those who do have these rights to help others get their rights. It is a ‘responsibility’ to see that others get their rights. God gave us the earth and all life as our gift, and calls upon us to care for them. Because the earth supports us, a troubled environment will lead to issues of injustice.
The earth and all life on it is God’s Creation. God calls us to be ‘stewards’ of this great gift. A steward is a manager, not an owner. Each of us has an obligation to manage the earth and its resources in a morally responsible way, because mismanagement leads to great suffering. This means using wise ecology practices and also making certain others are not hurt by wasteful or dangerous practices. It also means taking care of our own health and using our personal property carefully.
An Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
As Catholics, we are called to give preferential treat to those who are poor and vulnerable. This is not referring to acts of mercy, valuable as they are, but beyond mercy to acts of justice. Those of us who are wealthy (that is, those who have more than what is needed) owe a share of our wealth to those of us who are poor (that is, those who do not have their needs met). The sharing is a requirement that is made clear in the Gospel.
All people must have food, water, work, housing, school, and medical care. Those who do not are ‘poor’. People who are more likely than others to be abused, neglected, or cheated, are ‘vulnerable’. Our Church teaches that poor and vulnerable people must be treated with extra respect and care and given what they need. Those people who are not poor must share what they have with those who are poor. Those who are strong and safe must work to make others less vulnerable.
The Dignity and Rights of Workers
Catholic social teaching views work as an expression of our dignity and our work in God’s ongoing creation. It proclaims that people have a right to do safe and productive work for fair wages.
Through our work, we earn what we need to live. It can also be a chance to use the talents God gives us. In fact, it is our way of working with God to create our world. As work is so important on many levels, it is very important that in every job, each worker has safe conditions, reasonable hours and fair wages.
The previous principles of Catholic social teaching culminate, in a sense, in this one. Jesus calls us to love one another. And because our Earth is limited, we all are interconnected. When one group of people suffers, all the world’s people are hurt in some way. We must work for justice on a global dimension.
The world’s people are interdependent. That means we rely on each other for almost all of our bodily and social needs. Our languages, medical knowledge, food production and art are just a few examples of how humans have always worked together. Even though there are huge differences amongst us, we are still one family – the family of God. This means we should view family not just as our immediate relatives, nor just our neighborhood, or even just our country. Our family is all the people in the world. As a family, we must not only tolerate differences, but appreciate them. As a family, we must care about the well being of each other, making sure other family members have what they need and are being treated fairly.