Religion Curriculum Standards

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The work in developing the Archdiocesan Religion Curriculum Standards (ARCS) that embodies both parish catechetical programs and Catholic schools, is the work of great commitment and dedication to the mission of the Catholic Church of the Archdioceses of Hartford to witness and teach the Good News of Jesus Christ as articulated in the Scriptures and in the teachings of the Church. More than any other subject in the curriculum, Catholic religious teaching defines the nature of the Catholic school and parish catechetical programs. Through the study of religion, the students will progress beyond knowledge of precepts of the Faith to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Spirit of the Living God dwelling in each and every person. From that awareness comes a deep respect for the dignity integral to every human being and an acceptance of the Christian’s role as disciple in the building of the Kingdom.

The information in this document is based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997), the National Directory for Catechesis (2005), and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) publication, Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age (2008). References throughout the document are made from To Teach as Jesus Did (1973) as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s address, “Christ Our Hope” from his Apostolic Journey to the United States in April 2008. It is a working document that evolved from the Archdiocese of Hartford Religion Guidelines, designed to be annotated by the teachers who use it.

At every grade level, the religion curriculum standards are structured in strands that represent the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church: The Profession of Faith (Creed), Celebration of the Christian Mystery (Sacraments and the Mass), Life in Christ (The Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes), and Christian Prayer (The Prayer of the Believer). All of these strands should be integrated with one another to maximize learning, and the study of religion should be an integral part of all content areas.

Achievement Standards are the primary instructional targets that outline essential topics and skills in the religion curriculum that students should know, be able to do, and fully comprehend by the end of high school. Daily standards-based lesson planning enables educators to align curriculum and instruction with standards, as they have been adapted by this Archdiocese, thereby keeping the goals of our students in mind. The purpose of standards-based curriculum is to empower all students to meet new, challenging standards of religious education.

Student Objectives are the primary tasks students should be able to achieve as a result of successful instruction of the suggested numbered activities in the sub-skills listed under enabling outcomes. Student objectives must be continually assessed to assure a progression toward mastery is achieved by all students.

ARCS is designed to meet the learning needs of all students in a Catholic school program and a parish catechetical program. The full curriculum is a requirement for Catholic school programs where religion classes meet every day and is assessed as graduation criteria.

Enabling outcomes are skills taught that will result in mastery of the student objective. Teachers are encouraged to check outcomes as they are taught or assessed, as this will drive instruction. Enabling outcomes are suggested skills. It is at the discretion of each teacher to determine the needs of the students in a class to determine which or all outcomes should be taught. Indeed, teachers may design their own outcomes based on their mastery of the content and experience in the classroom. Therefore, it is suggested that teachers list text correlations, resources, and assessments that work best for the outcomes listed and outcomes originally designed.

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