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 life-long 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 2015-2020 Strategic Plan.
Notre Dame San Jose, a Catholic college-preparatory high school for young women since 1851, will be known as the women's high school in Silicon Valley that educates for career success, global leadership and socially-responsible entrepreneurship.
A Notre Dame graduate is a life-long 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.
Notre Dame High School in San Jose, California, is a Catholic learning community with more than 165 years of teaching ministry in the Santa Clara Valley. This educational legacy is dedicated to gospel values, sacramental worship, service learning, and compassionate community, in accord with the vision of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.1 A Notre Dame, Catholic education begins with the tradition and spiritual gifts of St. Julie Billiart and the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur. Their charism, articulated in the Hallmarks of a Notre Dame de Namur Learning Community, provides the spiritual lens that shapes our Catholic perspective and program.
Because we are a Notre Dame, Catholic learning community, we promote:
- The Church in the Modern World: We realize our educational ministry participates in the development of the Catholic Church and its members both now and for years to come, and we seek to translate the living tradition of the Church for the modern adolescent experience.
- Community: We welcome all people to our community—students, families, employees, friends and guests—with a spirit of joy and hospitality, and forge meaningful relationships for the good of the learning community.
- Liturgy and Prayer: We celebrate God’s presence among us with Eucharistic liturgy and various forms of prayer and sacramental worship.
- Spiritual Growth: We endeavor to provide space for reflective, honest and maturing faith formation.
- Education of the Whole Person: We recognize the growth of the human person—spiritually, intellectually, emotionally, and physically—in our pedagogy and services, and aid each student as she explores choices, passions, and opportunities to further that growth.
- Integrated Learning: We create educational programs that serve the twenty-first century needs of our students with integrated curricula, critical inquiry and global perspectives.
- Gospel Values and Social Justice: We engage contemporary issues of morality and justice in light of Sacred Scripture, Catholic theology and social teachings.
- A Call to Serve: We respond to Jesus Christ’s call to discipleship with service learning and look to Mary, St. Julie Billiart, and all holy women and men in our human history as models of a faith that does justice.
- Transformative Leadership: We ground the formation of leadership, service and advocacy in spirituality and the expression of faith.
- Solidarity: We foster inclusivity, ecumenism, and open dialogue among people of different faiths, cultures, and experiences, to honor all that uniquely shapes our diverse human family.