Notre Dame High School Mission Statement
Adopted in April, 2018
Notre Dame High School, in the heart of downtown San Jose since 1851, provides young women an exemplary Catholic, college-preparatory education to become lifelong learners, spiritual seekers, justice advocates and community leaders. We are inspired by Saint Julie Billiart and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. We empower young women and “teach them what they need to know for life.”
Developed in conjunction with the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan.
By 2025, Notre Dame High School will be the center for women’s leadership in Silicon Valley.
The school will be recognized as the model for:
- A robust culture of engagement that supports women’s leadership.
- Women's spiritual leadership in the 21st century.
- A professional learning community that influences women’s leadership.
A Notre Dame graduate is a lifelong learner who:
• Directs her own learning with choices that cultivate her intellectual curiosity.
• Integrates critical, creative and divergent thinking to construct knowledge.
• Utilizes a variety of resources and skills with digital fluency to locate, evaluate and synthesize information.
• Demonstrates collaboration, adaptability and resilience as she encounters real-world problems and generates solutions.
A Notre Dame graduate is a spiritual seeker who:
• Recognizes the goodness of God in herself, in others and in all of creation.
• Develops a worldview shaped by the spirituality of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and informed by scripture, Catholic theology and social teachings.
• Nurtures her spiritual growth and purpose with prayer, liturgy and personal reflection.
• Fosters human dignity and respect for religious diversity through interfaith dialogue, understanding and partnerships.
A Notre Dame graduate is a justice advocate who:
• Creates inclusive and meaningful relationships with others through empathy, compassion and solidarity.
• Engages in community service and stewardship to affect social change.
• Analyzes complex social justice issues in local, national and world contexts to build perspective and cultural competency.
• Responds to community needs with personal responsibility, initiative and advocacy.
A Notre Dame graduate is a community leader who:
• Honors the legacy of women’s leadership and explores her own path to impact.
• Discerns her passions, gifts and talents to inform her future career and life’s work.
• Acts ethically, communicates effectively and leads with integrity and confidence.
• Promotes the common good through service, philanthropy and global citizenship.
Hallmarks are the essential characteristics, values and activities of a Notre Dame learning community. The Hallmarks emerged in response to the question from both the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and their co-workers: "What makes a learning community a Notre Dame Learning Community?" The Sisters and the learning communities began to explore this question in 2003. The culmination of these discussions — seven Hallmarks that concisely and beautifully express the values of a Notre Dame Learning Community.
We proclaim by our lives even more than by our words that God is good.
- We believe, even in the midst of today’s reality, that God is good, and we stand firm in our commitment to honor that goodness in ourselves, in others and in our world.
- We value life as an on-going spiritual journey of deepening relationships with self, others and God.
- We make relevant to the life of our contemporary learning community the Sisters of Notre Deam de Namur history and the spirit of St. Julie Billiart. We seek to live this heritage by allowing it to influence our actions in today’s world.
- We create decisions and policies that reflect the mission and values of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and that are sensitive to the various stakeholders.
- We make decisions respecting, and informed by, the gospel values of our Catholic traditions and teachings.
We honor the dignity and sacredness of each person.
- We develop and appreciate relationships that respect individual differences.
- We create environments that encourage the development of the whole person.
- We dedicate time, space and personnel in support of the individual's spiritual/personal journey.
We educate for and act on behalf of justice and peace in the world.
- We educate on behalf of justice and are willing to take socially responsible actions against injustice (e.g., issues of discrimination against women and racial discrimination).
- We ground our action on behalf of justice in the spiritual practice of reflection-action-reflection.
- We infuse classroom experience with global perspectives and integrate classroom learning with civic and cultural interactions.
- We live and act with reverence for the earth and the environment.
- We commit ourselves to create just systems and relationships within our learning community.
- We make conscious the effect our decisions and actions will have on the lives of the poor by making choices which are rooted in the gospel.
- We foster responsible global citizenship and to that end we commit ourselves to the practice of dialogue, nonviolence and conflict resolution.
We commit ourselves to community service.
- We integrate service-learning (community-based learning) into the academic curriculum and co-curricular activities.
- We ground our service in the spiritual practice of reflection-action-reflection, and we incorporate this process into our service-learning commitments.
We embrace the gift of diversity.
- We welcome to our community people of diverse cultures, ethnicity, race, socio-economic circumstances, gender, age, sexual orientation and faith traditions.
- We develop educational programs which expand our knowledge and understanding of the diversity in our world community and which celebrate the richness of that heritage.
- We initiate strategies and support services which respect individual learning styles and which build the self-esteem of each student.
We create community among those with whom we work and with those we serve.
- We remember and honor the legacy of friendship between the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur co-foundresses Julie Billiart and Francoise Blin de Bourdon, and we foster a spirit of friendship as foundational to our learning community relationships.
- We value and implement community-building activities, both social and spiritual, between and among all members of our learning community.
- We design and foster collaborative processes wherever possible; we ground decision-making in active participation and the principle of subsidiarity.
- We create interactive and collaborative educational experiences.
- We create an atmosphere of open and direct communication.
We develop holistic learning communities which educate for life.
- We design and implement academically excellent educational experiences.
- We create curricular/co-curricular interactions that facilitate student-centered learning/teaching environments.
- We actively support the intellectual, emotional, spiritual, psychological and social growth of the members of our learning community.
- We provide an environment and appropriate training for leadership development.
- We foster educational activities that develop self-directed learners capable of self-evaluation, critical thinking and creative responses to life situations.
- We work with and within a risk-taking and flexible organization which exhibits compassionate and socially responsible actions in response to issues of justice, bases its curriculum on cross-cultural perspectives and understandings and respects and explores the unique and complementary roles and gifts of women and men in society.
Adopted by the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors, October 11, 2022
At Notre Dame High School, our Catholic identity is rooted in the charism and sponsorship of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. In the 21st century, this identity inspires us to be bold and joyful in proclaiming God’s goodness.
Because we are a Notre Dame Catholic learning community:
- We affirm that each person is created in the image of God and empowered to cultivate their authentic giftedness and leadership.
- We know Jesus, who through his life, death and resurrection, calls us to the Reign of God where all are known and loved.
- We foster inclusive, caring relationships among people of all faiths, cultures, generations and identities.
- We ground ourselves in the spiritual practices of prayer, discernment and dialogue.
- We promote justice, equity and Catholic social teachings through learning experiences of service and advocacy.
- We reflect upon our unique history, urbanism and diversity to inform our perspective and priorities.
- We interpret the vision of St. Julie Billiart and Francoise Blin de Bourdon to educate for life in our contemporary context.
With the Hallmarks of a Notre Dame de Namur Learning Community, we embody this Notre Dame Catholic charism and call in our worldview, commitments and programs.
Adopted by the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors, October 11, 2022
Educational equity means that each student receives what they need to develop to their full academic and social potential (adapted from National Equity Project).
At Notre Dame San Jose we commit to educational equity for and with students, employees, families, members of our extended community and the Notre Dame High School Board of Directors.
- We affirm that race, gender, class and identity matter in learning spaces.
- We recognize that social factors and structures may hinder the ability for community members to reach their potential.
- We center diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in our institutional decision-making.
- We amplify women’s voices and the voices of those who experience marginalization.
- We allocate resources to create access and opportunity.
The Hallmarks of a Notre Dame de Namur Learning Community, our Catholic identity
and our mission call us to this commitment. This commitment will evolve, as will we.
Read more about our commitment to equity.