The Angelway -Achieving Natural Goodness in Everyday Life
Angelway Virtue Program
St. Philip School School is committed to sharing with parents the responsibility of guiding the spiritual growth of their children, teaching them to live their faith, and ultimately bringing them to the threshold of a relationship with God. Our project, the Angelway,is designed to help the students on this journey by focusing on character development through the practice of virtue in their faith, virtue in their academic achievement, and virtue in their interaction with others.
The acronym, ANGEL meansAchievingNaturalGoodness inEverydayLife and is derived from the definition of Virtue. This project grew naturally out of our 85 year tradition which seeks to provide an atmosphere that continually encourages the development of strong moral character rooted in virtues as well as academic excellence. In seeking a symbol to focus attention upon this endeavor, we also turned to tradition. For more than 80 years, the image most closely identified with St. Philip School School has been our courtyard angel. This statue depicts a guardian angel guiding and protecting a small child. The angel's arm is extended and points directly to the tabernacle of the church. The angel is leading the child to God just as our efforts are aimed at bringing each child to the threshold of a personal relationship with God.
St. Philip School teachers felt there was a strong need to emphasize virtues in the lives of our children because many of today's students experience an unstable home life, are bombarded by media with negative messages, face tremendous peer pressure, and see a weakening of respect for authority and standards in our society. All of these factors have contributed to a lack of exemplary practice of virtue in our modern culture.
If we expect our students to practice virtues, they must be made aware of them. Further, children must be helped to see how virtues apply to everyday living. As schools are expected to assume more responsibility in the upbringing of our children, the teaching of virtues must be addressed.
The teachers and administration identified twelve specific virtues that we wish the students to develop. The virtues include: self- discipline, generosity, responsibility, friendship, stewardship, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty, holiness, work and respect. Four virtues will be explored each school year of the three year plan. All students at all grade levels will be working on each of the twelve virtues. However, the virtues were divided among grade teams for a presentation to the whole school at the end of each report period. Each grade team knows the duties and responsibilities associated with the virtue that they will be presenting.
Banners with a picture of our courtyard ANGEL and the words "Angelway" are displayed throughout the school. The students are reminded that the angels are there to guide and help them. When a student sees an angel, he or she is reminded of the ANGEL. Way and the current virtue on which we are focusing. Bulletin Boards depicting the quarter's virtue encourage the specific virtuous behavior that should be exhibited. Within each classroom, various activities and reminders integrate the Angelway into our academic curriculum and the students' everyday choices and behaviors. Each classroom keeps a log of Angelway happenings using photos, literature, writings, drawings and student comments.
It is our desire that the students of St. Philip School School be prepared to face their future with clear and defined guidelines for living a virtuous life. We are committed to sending responsible, honest, caring, generous, self-disciplined Christians into the 21st century.St. Philip School students will exhibit firm virtuous behavior in their interactions with faculty, staff, fellow students, parents, and members of our parish and community. It is our goal to see a noticeable improvement in attitude and ability to practice our targeted virtues in our academic endeavors, spiritual happiness, and family life. We have the support of our parents and parishioners which will help us achieve success. In addition, with home participation in virtue building, families can grow in love and understanding.
The students are encouraged to use the topic virtue not only in school, but also at home and in our community. The teachers, staff members and parishioners are asked to observe the students and record instances in which they have seen a student exhibiting the targeted virtue. These slips are turned into the office and each week, students who were observed practicing the virtue, are called to the office over the loud speaker and are acknowledged. Our principal announces that these students were"Caught being an ANGEL"and describes their virtuous act. A reward certificate is given to those students. Various poster, essay and poetry contests are held throughout the year, giving the students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and application of the current quarter's virtue.
Parent participation is vital to our project's success. Our parents share ideas through our PTG class meetings, help with classroom activities for the Angelway, choose and read stories to the various classrooms about the current virtues, encourage that the same good choices be made at home, and supply input as to how our project is affecting their child/children.
It is the goal of St. Philip School Angelway for every child to learn that happiness and spiritual fulfillment are achieved by leading a virtuous life. At the beginning of each school year, the students will gather for an A.N.G.E.L. assembly to reinforce last year's virtues and introduce the new year's virtues.
St. Philip School, 52 West Crafton Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15205. 412-928-2742