School Choice: Why We Chose A Religious School

If you live in or around the Cedar Rapids area, there is no doubt that you chose an excellent place to lay down roots. Voted as 2019’s 22nd best place to raise a family in America, Cedar Rapids continues to be one of the best cities to help our children recognize and develop their amazing potential.

Quality education

Choices for quality education for our children here are numerous. Whether your choice is public, private, religious, or homeschool, each option has structures in place to ensure success. I have taught in both public and religious schools. I can attest that when making a choice in education in our area, you are choosing between great and great. It comes down to what best suits the needs and desires of your family. When considering our family’s needs, we chose Xavier Catholic Schools

School Choice Why We Chose a Religious School

Considerations

There are many things to consider when selecting a school for your child. We wanted our children to be challenged academically in classes that would push them beyond perceived capabilities.  They need teachers that not only demand respect but will love them in return. We desired a place where they were challenged physically if they chose to participate in athletics and a place where they felt confident and supported if they found a home in the fine arts. 

Though I am sure this can be found in any of our Cedar Rapids schools, we kept coming back to what would best develop their full potential, not just what activities often define them as people. 

The Catholic School difference

We wanted to not only nurture their mind and body but also their spirit, because that is the very essence of who they are (and will be) as people. We wanted a place where a faith community challenged them, with people who openly shared their faith so my children could decide for themselves if they wanted it to be their faith. Our children need a place where they could learn to challenge, question and defend their beliefs. Additionally, we hoped for a school with courses in comparative religions so they could understand and respect other faiths and those that follow them.

Now, with three children enrolled in Xavier Catholic Schools I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I love being a part of a community where I know people are praying for my children. Spiritual growth is celebrated as much as academic growth. My children are reminded that being a good person is more important than being a good student, athlete, or performer. Disciplinary action from the school is not a judgment of my parenting but is for creating a safe community where my children and I can all learn and grow together. 

Having taught in both public and religious schools I will say there is something amazing about being able to discuss faith with my students. Whether they label themselves Atheist, Agnostic, Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, or Undecided, I love watching their spiritual journey unfold.

Differences in Religious Schools

Uniforms

I.love.uniforms and I’ll scream it from the rooftops. They simplify the mornings. Are we wearing a red, blue or grey polo today? Blue pants or khaki pants? I don’t have to buy the newest trend for my kid to feel like she fits in. No one knows what is new or hand-me-downs. It is bliss. 

Tuition

Phew. This is a big one. According to EdWeek.org’s 2019 school finance report, the cost to educate a student in Iowa is $13,241. Without this state funding, a Catholic school is a definite investment. We worried about the tuition payments that come with religious education, but luckily we were only looking at a $3,000 – $6,000 investment for tuition–half of what it costs to educate a public school student thanks to church subsidies. Additionally, that was only about half of our daycare expenses each year, so it was an expense that was already planned into our family budget. Catholic school tuition seemed like peanuts after paying for full-time childcare. 

Prayer

If my students have rough days, I can let them know I am praying for them. When I went through a rough patch when we lost our son, it was comforting knowing that the Xavier Catholic School community was lifting us up in prayer. I love that we have the opportunity to slow down a few times a day and gain a little perspective. I know that my children and I start and end our days the same way…with school-wide prayer and quiet reflection. In our busy days, it is easy to forget to take a few minutes in quiet. I appreciate being in an environment that nurtures that each day. 

Wherever your school choice takes you, I truly believe that academically, physically and emotionally we have some of the most phenomenal schools in the nation. 

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Jaclyn is an Iowa native with roots in the Midwest, but a heart full of wanderlust. She loves to run, read and travel. She and her husband, Mark, have 3 daughters (13, 11, and 7) and an incredible baby boy in Heaven. She spends her days split quite evenly between teaching Spanish at Xavier High School and taxiing her girls around CR as they try to find their passions. She’s a firm believer that it’s not joy that makes us grateful, but rather gratitude that makes us joyful.