2021 Celebrate National Catholic Schools Week Themes
Celebrate the following daily themes in your arch/diocese during Catholic Schools Week 2021.(adapted from NCEA for Archdiocesan schools)
Please tag NCEA and AOPS on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, plus use the hashtags #CSW21 and #equippingsaints, so we can share your information! Take advantage of all of the devices you and your colleagues have on hand to continue to get out the word on why Catholic schools are great places of academic excellence and faith-filled mission.
- NCEA Marketing Kit
- CSW Calendar of Events Template
- CSW Liturgy Planning Guide
- Sample News Release
- Sample Media Advisory
Sunday: Celebrating Your Parish
Catholic schools benefit all year long from the religious guidance, prayers and support parishes provide. Many parishes join in the National Catholic Schools Week celebration by devoting a Mass to Catholic education. Schools start the week by inviting parishioners and community members to parish-centered events and school virtual open houses that feature their outstanding academic programs, religious education and service opportunities.
TIP: Even if you are not a parish school, reach out to local parishes early in the year to see if you can be part of a Mass during CSW. This is a great way to reinforce the shared commitment of faith and academics forming the whole child. A sample letter is available in the Tools and Templates section of the NCEA.
Ideas for Celebrating Your Parish
- Sample letter from students to parishioners.
- Whether in-person or live-streamed Masses, ask the parish priests to announce it is Celebrate Catholic Schools Week (January 31 – February 6) at each Mass.
- In the bulletin, online or printed, invite parishes to pray for Catholic schools, yours especially.
- Don’t forget to invite parishioners to be sure to visit when it’s safe to do so again.
- Tag your parish on social media with a Canva-inspired post and use hashtag #CSW21.
- Download the “Snaps” from the Catholic Schools Week Kit at NCEA and post them on your website and social media, in addition to including them in a bulletin or school e-newsletter.
- Share a parish’s Mass that is utilizing livestreaming or Facebook Live.
MONDAY: Celebrating Your Community
A central aspect of Catholic education is learning the importance of service to others. When students take part in service activities – both local and beyond – they demonstrate the values and faith they gain through their Catholic education and learn how to make the world a better place. When they observe how others serve the community, they gain an appreciation for how they can continue to serve others their entire lives.
TIP: Many schools have service hours and service projects already planned for the year. Don’t have time to plan something else? Find a way to incorporate what you already do into your CSW celebration, such as a Zoom assembly that shares total service hours or other real-time updates, or recognizes those who have gone above and beyond the minimum requirement. Here you can find sample Certificates of Achievement and Certificates of Appreciation.
Ideas for Celebrating Your Community
- Host a virtual Zoom awards assembly recognizing students and teachers who have demonstrated outstanding community service.
- Have students put together care packages to send to active duty military. If students or families in the school have active duty family members, create a package for them with personalized notes or other items.
- Write notes, make posters or decorate treat baskets to send to police, firefighters, emergency responders.
- Write notes, make posters or decorate treat baskets to send to neighbors and local businesses around the school. Thank them for being great neighbors!
- Host a dress-down day fundraiser, asking students to donate $1 toward a Catholic charity or service organization to earn an out-of-uniform pass.
- Identify local faith-based communities and have students write notes of greetings.
- Invite families of other faith-based communities to visit your school virtually using a short open house style video.
- Organize a Zoom meeting with local pastors and priests to pray and share ideas of how your school can support these faith-based communities through service work.
TUESDAY: Celebrating Your Students
Schools celebrate students during National Catholic Schools Week by planning enjoyable and meaningful activities for them and recognizing their accomplishments. They encourage students to reflect on the benefits of Catholic education and how the grounding in faith, knowledge and service it provides will help them throughout their lives.
TIP: All students contribute to your school in ways big and small. Share stories on your school’s social media and/or website or create a special newsletter that recognizes current student accomplishments as well as alumni accomplishments.
Ideas for Celebrating Your Students
- Line school halls with student work emphasizing the themes of CSW.
- Have outside the classroom decorating contest in the hallways between classrooms. Set a theme for the friendly competition, and let students invoke their creativity and work with their teachers and each other to design and create the best classroom decorations.
Note: For safety reasons, you should not cover doors.
- Start a pen pal program with another Catholic school.
- Let your students show off their technology skills by creating videos to help promote the school.
- Share a list of high schools, colleges and universities at which your graduates matriculate. Invite former students to be “guest speakers” on a Zoom session telling all about their high school or college.
- If school is in-person, take pics or short videos of students in their favorite places around the school and ask them to say why they enjoy those places. Share the pics and narratives on the school’s website and on social media, using hashtags #CSW21 and #equippingsaints
- Teachers can post student shout-outs on Zoom and on social media using create templates or animation. Visit Canva’s offerings for ideas and easy to use templates.
- If teaching remotely, hang a creative school spirit sign behind you and see if any of the students notice.
WEDNESDAY: Celebrating the Nation
On National Appreciation Day for Catholic schools, students, families, educators and other Catholic school supporters communicate the value of Catholic education to government leaders. They share information with leaders on the significant contributions Catholic schools make to the nation and their role in preparing students to be good citizens. They pray for the nation and recognize all those who serve.
TIP: As Catholics, we believe that parents have the right to choose the appropriate education for their children, and that they should not be limited in exercising this right due to cost of education.
Ideas for Celebrating the Nation
- Share school news and events on social media platforms.
- Submit an article to diocesan and other local newspapers highlighting CSW events.
- Use Catholic school infographics to share information about Catholic education. See below for samples:
- Invite local leaders who are former Catholic School graduates to a virtual assembly to share how their Catholic education prepared them for life.
- Host a flag raising ceremony. Invite members of the community, veteran parishioners and members of your local VFW post. Include both students and community members in the flag raising and the singing of the national anthem. Consider inviting members of the media to cover the ceremony for your local news program or newspaper.
- Write letters to local government officials to encourage them to issue proclamations in honor of CSW.
- Ask your students to write letters to your state and federal representatives and let them know how important a Catholic education is to them and their families.
- Encourage students and parents to write letters to state officials and lawmakers asking them to consider enacting school choice options. students can write letters stating how Catholic education benefits their lives.
- Have students create videos to share with local lawmakers that take them on a tour of your school.
THURSDAY: Celebrating Vocations
By focusing on faith, knowledge and service, Catholic schools prepare children to use their God-given talents to the fullest later in life. National Catholic Schools Week offers an opportunity for students to explore the many life paths that enable them to use their talents well in the service of God and others.
TIP: Teach students what a vocation is and how it relates to your school. This is a great opportunity to publicly educate others on and reaffirm your school’s founding charism or tradition by sharing a brief history at a virtual assembly or special event.
Ideas for Celebrating Vocations
- Vocation Prayer Card
- Show the video What is a vocation?
- Host a virtual “career day” where local professionals – both religious and non-religious – can share how their faith guides them in their work.
- Saint-Inspired Vocation Awareness Lessons by Grade from the Office for Catechetical Formation
- Play Vocations Jeopardy. Questions can be found here.
- Incorporate a research lesson where students can explore and present on the different religious orders.
- Recite the Diocesan prayer for vocations as part of the day’s prayer.
- Encourage interviews of pastors, priests, sisters, brothers and deacons for the school newspaper or parish bulletin – focusing particularly on the topic of “discerning the call.”
- Write letters of thanks to the priests, deacons, sisters and brothers who are or were involved in your local parishes.
- Incorporate a lesson on committing to lifelong service in religion classes this week.
FRIDAY: Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers
Teachers are the backbone of Catholic schools. On this day, schools honor teachers, as well as administrators and staff who support teachers in their important work, and thank the parents, grandparents, alumni, parishioners and school board members who provide volunteer service.
TIP: Recognize an outstanding teacher by awarding him or her with something special.
Ideas for Celebrating Faculty, Staff and Volunteers
- Hang a sign on each classroom door to recognize each teacher personally.
- Host a breakfast or offer a travelling “coffee cart” for teachers and administrators.
- Hold a virtual assembly to recognize teachers and volunteers for their dedication and hard work.
- Invite parents and community members to teach students to teach a virtual lesson on practical life skills.
- Host a fun teacher versus student trivia contest.
- Set up a “thank-you” page on your website and say “thanks” to all those who work at the school and who volunteer.
- Send a list of faculty, staff and volunteers to the parish bulletin editors with a note of thanks and inviting anyone who would like to be a part of the school family to contact the school.
- Create a social media post thanking your school’s faculty, staff and volunteers and use #CSW21.
SATURDAY: Celebrating Families
Parents, guardians and other family members play a vital role in Catholic education. Not only do they volunteer at the school, they instill values and expectations for academic excellence in their children at home. We acknowledge the role of families in Catholic education and celebrate their contributions to the success of our schools on the last day of National Catholic Schools Week, and all year long.
TIP: Many schools often seek tips on how to get parents involved in their school life. Families often want to be more involved, they just don’t know how. The answer is simple: schools should provide clearly articulated, meaningful and impactful tasks. Be specific and share the results of their efforts. Let the success of your Catholic school be owned and shared amongst everyone!
Ideas for Celebrating Families
- Celebrate academic excellence by hosting a virtual “Open House” for families and friends.
- Create a large-scale family tree celebrating all the families in the school. Make a spiritual tree of baptisms, marriages and ordinations – including the name of the parishes where family members took these sacraments.
- Create a bulletin board or other display that highlights each family in the school. Include pictures, quotes or testimonies from each family or student.
- Host a virtual family welcome night for families new to the parish to meet members of the school community.
- Students can find out how many family members attended Catholic schools and in particular their own school. It can be a friendly class competition and the results of all can be posted on the school website and on social media using #CSW21.and #equippingsaints
- Suggest that students share with family members the areas of the school that are favorite places. Then ask the rest of the family to share some places that they find special to them at the school or church. Take videos of each one talking about their favorite places and share with the class and perhaps on the school website.
- As a family, attend Mass on this day either in person or livestreamed and take some video of it to post on the school website and on social media using #CSW21. and #equippingsaints