Our Catholic Identity
OLSS parents, students, and faculty provide a strong Christian community as the platform from which all learning takes place. This community recognizes the importance of all its members as teachers and models of Christian education and develops students to take their places in society with strong Christian values. Students pursue academic excellence within their individual potential and are guided to make decisions grounded in their Catholic Faith. OLSS supports and follows the Vatican Council's Declaration of Christian Education as stated in Section 8. This mission is evident in all curriculum areas and centered to all instructions and is the focus of our Religion curriculum. Current programs, initiatives and components of campus ministry that foster and promote our Catholic Identity are listed below:
Each year our 5th and 8th grade students take the ACRE (Assessment of Catechesis / Religious Education) test near the end of the school year. Based on the test findings, strengths and weaknesses in our religious education program are evaluated, and adjustments are made to the curriculum as needed.
Adoration of the Holy Eucharist is scheduled once a month for all staff and students (parents are also invited to participate).
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is scheduled for all 2nd -8th graders twice a year: once during Advent, and once during Lent. Students receive preparation for the sacrament in their religion class and before the actual celebration of the sacrament.
Every class has two opportunities per year to choose volunteers to assist at Mass in the following service roles: lectors, ushers and gift bearers. Students receive liturgical formation to fulfill these roles the week before they are to serve. The formation time is facilitated by the Campus Minister and 6th - 8th grade members of the Worship Committee. Students from 5th grade and up can also train to function as altar servers, both for the school and for the parish, whil students in 3rd grade and up can serve in the choir.
The Sacred Liturgy is celebrated every Friday and on Holy Days of Obligation. We also celebrate different liturgical feasts and celebrations, either with special school liturgies or with school gatherings in the gym (i.e., May Crowning, Catholic Schools Week, All Saints/All Souls, saint feast days, etc.). Special attention is given to feasts of Mary and to our liturgical seasons and feasts in our morning celebrations, and evening celebrations are also scheduled (i.e., posada celebrations, Christmas plays, etc.).
Every non-Mass day begins with Morning Prayer in the gymnasium. Each week a different class is assigned to lead morning prayer, and the teacher and students take a week to plan for their morning prayer time. The Campus Minister and the Worship Committee facilitate special prayers as well.
Each month the OLSS Newsletter contains articles dealing with faith issues, explanations of Catholic teachings, adolescent development, and other topics dealing with religion and children.
Adult faith formation sessions are scheduled on an as-needed basis, either for ongoing religious formation or for specific reasons (i.e.,gatherings for parents of children celebrating First Eucharist).
Every morning at Morning Assembly, students hear a monthly theme that reinforces our Catholic background by promoting character development. Stories, quotes and thought-provoking questions help each student reflect on what it means to be a follower of Jesus on a daily basis. Reflections are student-led and chosen by the school counselor.
Students in grades 2-8 are given at least one retreat opportunity per year, either on campus or off campus. Second Grade always receives a retreat before they celebrate First Penance, 3rd grade before celebrating First Eucharist, 5th grade always receives a vocation day at the Basilica, and 8th grade always receives a retreat at the end of the year.
Each day, every student receives a full class period in religious instruction. Kinder students participate in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (as part of their Montessori education). Elementary students use the Blest Are We series by Silver Burdett while Junior High students use the Faith and Witness program by Sadlier as their primary textbooks. All religion classes are taught according to diocesan guidelines for curriculum content in addition to their primary text. Students in grades 4-8 also in orporate God's Own Making, a sexuality catechesis program by Sadlier that focuses on the relational, moral and religious dimensions of human sexuality, as well as the physical and emotional changes occurring in the transition from childhood to adolescence. Traditional Catholic prayers and liturgical prayers are learned and re-taught every year, while orthodox Catholic doctrine is reinforced in age-appropriate ways each year at OLSS.
All religion teachersreceive guidelines on helping their students celebrate Mass, setting up a classroom altar, following the liturgical calendar, and prayer formation guidelines for their students. Religion teachers are certified through a diocesan-sponsored process, and must regularly attend enrichment courses according to diocesan policy.
Every classroom and hallway has some tangible sign of our Catholic faith (posters, crucifixes, prayer tables, altars, posters, etc.). This helps foster the Catholic identity of the school in a way that is accessible to the developmental stages of our students.
Second Grade students participate in sacramental preparation for the celebration of First Reconciliation; and 3rd grade students prepare for their First Eucharist. Older students who have not received these sacraments are guided through their preparation by the Campus Minister.
Our junior high school students are expected to complete a number of service hours in order to be promoted the following year. Every 6th -8th grade student will be required to complete a certain amount of age-appropriate hours in service work every academic quarter. For example, 7th grade spends part of the second semester focusing on issues of poverty and homelessness, individual classes take on peace and justice projects. Annually, the school participates in several parish and community service opportunities (i.e., collecting money for specific needs, collecting food, blankets, personal hygiene items and clothes for distribution through the parish, preparing care packages to our service men and women overseas.)
Students in grades 6-8 are encouraged to join this extracurricular committee. The students are responsible for setting up the prayer table for morning prayer each day, assisting at Mass as needed, helping younger students to prepare for service at Mass, and assisting the Campus Minister in helping form the Catholic identity of the campus.
Students in grades 6-8 are encouraged to join this extracurricular committee. The students gather under the supervision of Ms. De Los Reyes to pray, learn more about our Blessed Mother, and connect to the worlwide community of other youth and adults in Legion of Mary prayer groups.
Campus Minister: Mr. Hugo De La Rosa