Foundational Principles

In 2004-2005, the constituencies of the Network Schools and the Religious of the Sacred Heart engaged in a spirited consultation that defined non-negotiable “foundational principles” for being a Sacred Heart school. These foundational principles are part of our school’s reflection on what it means to be a member of the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. Each foundational principle is very important to us.

  1. In the Goals and Criteria, the Society of the Sacred Heart defines the mission of the school as part of the Society’s educational mission in the Catholic Church.
  2. Each school is accountable to the Society through the Sacred Heart Commission on Goals for adherence to the Goals and Criteria.
  3. Each school’s Board of Trustees and Administration establish and uphold policies that are consistent with the Goals and Criteria.
  4. The school allocates its resources to support each Goal and its Criteria.
  5. The school is in compliance with professional standards as stated by accrediting agencies.

The Goals and Criteria are the sine qua non for every school that belongs to the Sacred Heart Network. In the late 1960s and in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, Sacred Heart schools faced a number of serious challenges: a declining number of religious available for work in the schools, a diminishing number of Sacred Heart schools open and operating, and the development of independent Boards of Trustees in the remaining institutions. Lay and religious Sacred Heart educators began to meet to find a way to safeguard the legacy and vision of a Sacred Heart education in the United States.

Eventually, five goals true to the inspiration of St. Madeleine Sophie Barat were articulated that helped define what a Sacred Heart institution strives to do. Specific criteria were drawn up by which to judge whether an institution was indeed pursuing each of the five goals and thereby merited membership in the Network of Sacred Heart Schools. The Goals and Criteria published in 1975 were adapted and redefined in 1990 to reflect more accurately the challenges facing the schools as they neared the end of the twentieth century.