The Standards

The National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS) is intended to describe how the most mission-driven, program effective, well managed, and responsibly governed Catholic schools operate. They are offered as school effectiveness standards rather than curriculum content standards, although they support curriculum development consistent with national curriculum standards.

The NSBECS contains three types of statements grounded in Church teachings, best practice, and proven success of those committed to the future of Catholic elementary and secondary education in the United States. The nine Defining Characteristics define the deep Catholic identity of Catholic schools and serve as the platform on which the standards and benchmarks rest. The thirteen Standards describe policies, programs, structures, and processes that should be present in Catholic schools in four Domains: Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Operational Vitality. The seventy Benchmarks provide observable, measurable descriptors for each standard.

Defining Characteristics

Nine Defining Characteristics, grounding the standards and benchmarks, summarize Church teaching regarding the deep Catholic identity of Catholic schools.

Standard Domains and Benchmarks

Mission and Catholic Identity

Catholic schools invite young people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, insert them into the life of the Church, and help them see the role of faith in life.

Governance and Leadership

Catholic school governance and leadership based on the principles and practices of excellence are essential to insuring the Catholic identity, academic excellence, and operational vitality of the school.

Academic Excellence

Catholic schools provide curricular and co-curricular experiences which are academically rigorous, relevant, research-based, and infused with Catholic faith and traditions.

Operational Vitality

To support and ensure viability and sustainability, Catholic schools must adopt standards for operational vitality in four key areas: finances, human resources/personnel, facilities, and institutional advancement.

The Standards Background

Catholic Schools in collaboration with parents and guardians as the primary educators, seek to educate the whole child by providing an excellent education rooted in Gospel values.