I am seeking stories of “how” schools communities and school leadership teams collaborate to make and keep a school being a Jesuit school. Might you have a story to share with our community?
In this short article I use Mission-Vision and Why-What-How to explain my quest – so apologies in advance to those who use these same words in different ways!
The “Mission” or the “Why” of Jesuit Education is well understood and documented. My own personal favourite is Pedro de Ribadeneira SJ, 1556, writing to Philip II, King of Spain on behalf of St. Ignatius of Loyola, “all the well-being of Christianity and of the whole world depends on the proper education of youth”. For some it is still the inspiring words of Fr. Pedro Arrupe S.J. from 1973 in his now famous discourse, Men and Women for Others. Other are still inspired by A Faith that does Justice from GC 32 in 1975. More recently from 2016 we have GC36 Decree 1 asking us to be Companions in a mission of Reconciliation and Justice. No question as to the Why. Very clear.
Similarly the “Vision” or the “What” of Jesuit Education is also well documented and understood. We have 28 Characteristics of Jesuit Education in nine sections from 1986. We have the inspiration of Fr. Adolfo Nicolas’ understanding of Human Excellence that inspired the document: Jesuit Education Aims to Human Excellence in 2015, after the wonderful inputs of the SIPEI Seminar in Manresa in 2014. The most recent expression of Vision or the What of Jesuit Education is from the newest document launched by Fr. José Mesa (Secretary for Education) and Father General Sosa in 2019, Jesuit Schools: A Living Tradition in the 21st Century – An Ongoing Exercise of Discernment. Lots of materials for the What.
There is also well documented guidance on “How” to bring this to the classroom, from 1993 in the form of the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm, a style of teaching and learning cut f rom the fabric of the Spiritual Exercises, with the five interrelated dimensions: Context, Experience, Reflection, Action and Evaluation.
So to my question! How does a school community, who is inspired by the “Mission – Why” of Jesuit Education and who understands and likes the “Vision-What”, then approach the evolution of a school community to these states? I do not believe we have documented guidance on this question, and as such I am not seeking formal guidance, but I am sure we have evidence of how this is done in practice. And we have all heard variants of the adage, “Success is 10% Strategy and 90% Execution”.
With all of this in mind, I am interested to hear stories or read materials or read case studies on “How” some Jesuit schools have already or are executing or delivering on the “Vision-What” of Jesuit Education, in service of the “Mission-Why”. Can someone tell the story or point me to documents or case studies or articles or processes or approaches that describe “how” schools are in practice proceeding in this important regard.
I hope my “How” question and request for stories make sense?!