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Mission and Educational Philosophy

Educational Philosophy

Introduction, Goals & Criteria (2020)

The Preamble of the original edition of the Goals and Criteria states that “values taken for granted or left unarticulated become inoperative.” This conviction resulted in capturing the essence of Sacred Heart education in the five goals and their criteria. The Goals and Criteria provide both the uniqueness of a Sacred Heart school and the strong bond of union among the Network of Sacred Heart schools.

Goals & Criteria

As one of 24 institutions comprising the Network of Sacred Heart Schools, U.S.-Canada Province, and among the nearly 150 Sacred Heart schools in 41 countries around the globe, SHS upholds and practices the values and principles articulated in our educational philosophy, the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Education. This unique document emerged from a "plan of studies" that guided the educational enterprise developed by our founder and entrusted to the Society of Sacred Heart more than 200 years ago. First published in 1975, the Goals and Criteria of Sacred Heart Education is a dynamic philosophy that is evaluated and periodically updated by the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.

A Commitment Designed

List of 1 items.

  • Foundational Principles

    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 is accountable to the Society of the Sacred Heart Commission on Goals for its 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.

Schools of the Sacred Heart commit themselves to educate to:

List of 5 items.

  • GOAL I: A personal and active faith in God

    1. The school identifies itself to the wider community as a Catholic-independent-Sacred Heart School and embodies the mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart.
    2. The school forms its student and adult members in attitudes of the heart of Jesus, such as gratitude, generosity, compassion, and forgiveness.
    3. The school community reflects an ethos of joy, hope and celebration and its programs assert that there is meaning and value in life.
    4. The school community welcomes and respects persons of all faiths and educates to an understanding of the religions and spiritual traditions of the world.
    5. School leadership prioritizes space and time for silence and contemplation for its members to deepen their interior life.
    6. Members of the school community, open to the transforming power of the Spirit of God, engage in personal and communal prayer, discernment and reflection which inform their actions.
    7.  The school community, rooted in the love of Jesus Christ, nurtures the spiritual lives of its members through the exploration of one’s relationship to God, to self, to others and to creation.
  • GOAL II: A deep respect for intellectual values

    1. Sacred Heart educators and students engage in challenging experiences that inspire intellectual curiosity, a global mindset and a life-long love of learning.
    2.  Sacred Heart educators develop and implement a dynamic curriculum, effective instructional methodology, current educational research and ongoing evaluation.
    3. Sacred Heart educators and students utilize a variety of teaching and learning strategies to support their growth and development.
    4. The school curricular and co-curricular programs integrate innovation and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, the exploration of emerging technologies and critical evaluation of information.  
    5. The school utilizes space and the physical environment in alignment with best pedagogical practices.
    6. The school program develops aesthetic values and the creative use of the imagination.
    7. Sacred Heart educators assume responsibility for their professional growth supported by resources and a culture that promotes life-long learning.
  • GOAL III: A social awareness which impels to action

    1. Sacred Heart educators prepare students to serve the common good in an interdependent world.
    2. Sacred Heart educators immerse students in diverse global perspectives, developing competencies such as critical consciousness, language facility and cultural literacy.
    3. The school, drawing from Catholic Social Teaching, educates students to analyze and work to eradicate social structures, practices, systems, and values that perpetuate racism and other injustices.
    4. All members of the school community accept accountability for the care of God’s creation, practice effective stewardship of the earth’s resources and work to alleviate the climate crisis.
    5.  School programs promote informed active citizenship and civic responsibility on the local, national and global level.
    6.  The school community engages in direct service, advocacy, outreach and partnerships to work for justice, peace and the integrity of creation.
    7. Sacred Heart educators work to develop in the students a life-long commitment to service.
  • GOAL IV: The building of community as a Christian value

    1. The school, affirming that all are created in the image and likeness of God, promotes the inherent dignity of the human person and strives for relationships characterized by inclusion and mutual respect.
    2. The school implements an ongoing plan for educating both adults and students in the heritage and mission of Sacred Heart education.
    3. The school engages with the Network of Sacred Heart Schools in the United States and Canada and Sacred Heart schools around the world.
    4. All members of the school community support a clean, healthy and safe environment.
    5. Members of the school community practice and teach with a spirit of peace and reconciliation the principles of non-violence and conflict management.
    6. School leadership demonstrates a conscious effort to recruit students and employ faculty and staff of diverse races, ethnicities and backgrounds.
    7. School leadership allocates financial resources to support socio-economic diversity both in the admissions process and in the daily life of the students.
  • GOAL V: Personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom

    1. Student and adult members of the school community grow in courage and confidence as they discover new abilities, cultivate strengths, learn from mistakes, develop empathy and exercise resilience in meeting challenges.
    2. All members of the school community take personal responsibility for health and balance in their lives supported by a school culture that promotes spiritual, intellectual, physical and social-emotional well-being.
    3. Members of the school community model and teach respectful dialogue in support of clear, direct and open communication.
    4. All members of the school community endeavor to practice informed, ethical decision-making and accountability.
    5. Student and adult members of the school community model, practice, and teach safe, ethical and responsible use of technology.
    6. Sacred Heart educators cultivate in the students life skills, such as initiative, creativity and agility.
    7. Sacred Heart Schools recognize and educate to motivational, inspirational and transformational leadership.


List of 1 members.

  • Photo of Kathryn Motroni-Fish

    Kathryn Motroni-Fish 

    Director of Mission & Ministry - SHS

Sacred Heart Schools Atherton

Sacred Heart Schools, Atherton

150 Valparaiso Ave
Atherton, CA 94027
650 322 1866
Founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart, SHS is a Catholic, independent, co-ed day school for students in preschool through grade 12