What’s an Episcopal School?
Courtesy of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, www.naes.org.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Episcopal schools are early childhood education (ECE) programs and elementary,middle, secondary, and comprehensive (P-12) schools; parish, cathedral, diocesan, religious-order, seminary, and independent schools; urban, suburban, and rural schools; coeducational and single-sex schools; day-only, boarding-only, and day and boarding schools; military and Montessori schools.
- There are over 1,200 Episcopal schools and ECE programs throughout the Episcopal Church, which includes dioceses in the states, territories, and commonwealths of the United States and in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the British Virgin Islands, Honduras, Columbia, Ecuador,Venezuela,Taiwan, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland.
- Of these schools, over 600 are ECE programs serving our youngest students.
- Over 1,000 parishes and cathedrals in the Episcopal Church have a school or ECE program as part of their ministry.
- Episcopal schools and ECE programs serve an inclusive population of over 160,000 children, with significant socio-economic, racial, cultural, and religious diversity and are expanding into areas historically under served.
- On average, about 25% of the students in Episcopal schools and ECE programs are Episcopalians, meaning our schools serve a large number of students from other Christian denominations, non-Christian traditions, or no formal faith background.
- According to statistics published in 2001 by the National Center for Education Statistics, enrollment in Episcopal schools has increased 29% since 1990, one of the most significant increases in any sphere of American independent education.
- Episcopal schools and ECE programs employ over 15,000 administrators, faculty, and staff members.
- Trinity School, NewYork City, founded in 1709, is the oldest, continually operating Episcopal school.
What are the principal qualities that distinguish a school as Episcopal?
This question, more than any other, is asked of NAES by Episcopal school and Church leaders, parents and the general public. The answer is that they are Christian communities whose missions integrate spiritual formation into all aspects of the educational experience. Episcopal schools are most distinctive when they are true to this mission and when they do so in the graceful and inclusive manner which is the hallmark of the Anglican approach to education over the centuries.
All Christian communities, even the most ecumenical and diverse of Episcopal schools, are upheld by the basic principles of the Baptismal Covenant. As expressed in The Book of Common Prayer, this Covenant maintains that individuals and institutions are called by God to adopt certain fundamental disciplines and dispositions in order to embrace fully their basic identities. As embodiments of the Christian faith, Episcopal schools are created to be communities that honor, celebrate and worship God as the center of life. They are created to be models of God’s love and grace. They are created to serve God in Christ in all persons, regardless of origin, background, ability, or religion. They are created to “strive for justice and peace among all people and [to] respect the dignity of every human being.” These principles are the basis on which identity and vocation are to be defined in Episcopal schools.
Episcopal schools have been established, however, not solely as communities for Christians, like a parish church, but as ecumenical and diverse ministries of educational and human formation for people of all faiths and backgrounds. Episcopal schools are populated by a rich variety of human beings, from increasingly diverse religious, cultural and economic backgrounds. In fact, the intentional pluralism of most Episcopal schools is a hallmark of their missions. It is also a distinguishing characteristic of these schools that they seek to integrate religious and spiritual formation into the overall curriculum and life of each school community. Episcopal schools are clear, yet graceful, about how they articulate and express their basic identities, especially in their religious curricula and traditions. They invite all who attend and work in them – Episcopalians and non-Episcopalians, Christians and non-Christians, people of no faith tradition – both to seek clarity about their own beliefs and religions and to honor those traditions more fully and faithfully in their own lives. Above all, Episcopal schools exist not merely to educate, but to demonstrate and proclaim the unique worth and beauty of all human beings as creations of a loving, empowering God.
By weaving these principles into the very fabric of the school’s overall life, Episcopal schools ensure that their missions are built on the sure foundation of a Christian love that guides and challenges all who attend our schools to build lives of genuine meaning, purpose and service in the world they will inherit.
Child Abuse Reporting Obligations
As educational professionals, we have a responsibility to provide the children we teach with the opportunity to obtain the best education possible. However, our responsibility does not end there. We have a legal responsibility to protect the children we educate from child abuse, neglect, and abandonment.
Florida Statutes require that all school personnel report situations involving potential child abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
If employees have any belief, concern, or thought they have witnessed, heard, or heard about a situation possibly involving abuse, neglect, or abandonment, they must contact the Head of School or Assistant Head of School. The appropriate person will then discuss the situation to ensure the appropriate reports are completed.