Department of Education Awards Us an A

School continues streak of earning highest grade

Anna Pohl, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Last month, 18 representatives from the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS) toured the school in preparation for a full report. 

The information from their assessment will be offered to the school early second semester and will include both highlights and recommendations, Principal Mr. Dave Worland said. “(The report) will be huge because it’ll have so many things on it,” Worland said. 

ISACS provides a full report to all its member schools including this one, every seven years. The recommendations, Worland said, will then be applied over the next seven years to improve the school for the next generation of learning, the continuous mission of the institution. 

This is not the only review the school receives this year. For the past eight years, the Department of Education has graded schools across Indiana. This year marks the eighth year in a row the school has been awarded with an A rating, meaning it has received the highest marks each year the review has been released. 

“Cathedral has been very fortunate that we were an A school this year,” Worland said. The school has high achieving and hard working students, excellent teachers, an impressive curriculum available, and a strong mission statement embodied in the students and staff, he said. “I think that’s good and I’m proud of it, but I hope no one would accept any less than that,” Worland said. 

President Mr. Rob Bridges said the school strives to be excellent in all areas, especially its academic programs. 

“It’s validation that we’re doing something really right in that area,” Bridges said. 

“We don’t necessarily want to win awards, we want to be excellent in what we do. And if we get an award for that, that’s pretty cool too,” Bridges said.

When gathering information to evaluate a school, the Department of Education reviews a number of factors. Of these, data points include student attendance rates, performance on various standardized tests and overall participation and grades. 

“If a school has all students who all have high academic achievements, that doesn’t mean you automatically get an A. You have to have a higher percentage,” Worland said. 

The state grading system look not only at the comparison among schools, but also within a school itself. This allows the grade to take into account available resources that may be out of a specific school’s control. 

The evaluation of the school will continue to be utilized by the school’s marketing department said Director of Marketing said Mrs. Grace Trahan-Rodecap. “(The Department of Education’s grading) means that when a prospective parent is looking at a school they have the knowledge that an outside agency came in and looked at what we are doing and basically confirmed what we already know, that Cathedral is doing wonderful things,” Rodecap said. 

Although academic rankings do not necessarily appeal to the younger demographic, which Rodecap said is increasingly involved in selecting their own high school, the statistic aids student testimonials. The input of peers is an especially important tool for the marketing department, Rodecap said. 

The A grade has been broadcasted through the school’s website as well. “We have it on all of our social media, and it’s also on our website because our website is our primary marketing tool,” Rodecap said. “It’s such a joy to tell the story when the story is so good,” she said. 

“As the marketing department, we have so much respect for the teachers because they are the ones driving the ship, and we are so proud of our students because our students are phenomenal,” Rodecap said. 

The high academic achievement reflected in in the  A rating can be attributed to the hard work of everyone involved in the school. 

Not only does the grade reflect this dedication and work, but it is also an important tool in advertising the school. The grade reflects more than academic achievements, however. 

Another factor considered by the Department of Education includes college preparedness. “They look at information that is statistical that will see if our students are ready for college, and not just academically,” Worland said. 

For example, examiners will evaluate how involved students are outside their academic life, Worland said. 

To gather this information, the Department of Education uses data available from the school and counseling office. Unlike the ISACS representatives who observed the school over the course of four days, the Department of Education uses available data points collected by the school.

Once again, however, the examiners also take into account any factors out of the school’s control, such as problems obtaining transportation for extracurricular activities. “We don’t really have that trouble here,” Worland said. 

There has been a rise in the overall grades awarded to schools in the eight years the Department of Education has evaluated Indiana schools, Worland said. “If the Department of Education continues this, we will continue to see a rise,” he said. 

The grading also stresses an important point to students, Bridges said. “For us we want all students to strive for A’s in all aspects of their life, their spiritual life, what kind of person they are,” Bridges said.“We want to keep getting A’s in everything we do,” Bridges said, “most importantly in being faith filled people who know God and love God and want to serve Him.”