Who can be admitted to the PAREF schools?
PAREF Schools are open to families who accept PAREF's philosophy of education and agree to make themselves available to the means of formation for parents. It is understood, however, that the heads of these families are validly married in their religion (Catholic or non-Catholic), or are guardians of good moral standing who have legally adopted children. The reasons for the admission criteria are that parents should have a family situation consistent with the school's parent-intensive philosophy and its moral formation based on the natural law and the Magisterium of the Church. Children who do not see their parents living in consonance with these teachings will be confused and find it extremely difficult to benefit from the PAREF educational system. In such cases it may be traumatic for the child and so other schools may best serve their specific needs. The Springdale family has its mission to continually help the parents strengthen their family and aid them to collaborate with the school. When the parents find themselves in a situation no in consonance with PAREF criteria or with the Statement of Principles they signed upon entry, the School has the right to deny readmission in the following school year.
How is Opus Dei related to Springdale? Opus Dei is a personal prelature of the Catholic Church whose mission is to spread the doctrine of the universal call to holiness. Its connection to the school is summed up as follows:
- The founding parents of the school were inspired by the teaching of St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. Thus, a lay spirituality is followed.
- The school has a Chaplain who comes from the prelature of Opus Dei and he provides spiritual formation and the sacraments. Opus Dei has no jurisdiction in the administration and operation of the school.
Is Springdale a Catholic School?
It isn't accurate to call Springdale a Catholic school. The founding parents are ordinary Catholics who wanted their children to grow up in the same faith. The term "Catholic School" is applied to schools officially and legally under the direction of a bishop or religious order. Springdale, however; is under the jurisdiction of the Parents for Education Foundation, Inc. (PAREF), an NGO with no official functions in the Catholic Church.
Many schools are co-educational. PAREF continues to maintain schools exclusive only to boys or girls. Why is this so?
PAREF believes that mixing boys and girls is better only at the preschool and university levels. Men and women are so different emotionally, intellectually, physically, and psychologically. They also develop at different paces. A fourteen-year-old boy and a fourteen-year-old girl do not have the same degree of maturity. They also differ in motivations. Those in favor of co-educational education cite some benifits, some of which PAREF believes can be better achieved by some other means, and in some other time and setting. An example is the socializing benefit. Other benefits are exaggerated, such as the claim that a co-ed setting fosters better mutual understanding of the sexes. The one who would know the psychology, mindset, emotional make-up, motivations of boys would be someone who would know it from within, another male. The same would be true for girls and women. Boys would learn from men what it means to be a man and gentlemen, girls would learn from women what it means to be a woman and a lady. Another advantage of all-male staff could be that they, albeit to a limited extent, fill in the gap that we would find in a number of families, where the father has limited presence. Boys need good male role models, who would normally be their father, an older brother, or a teacher, not entertainment or sports figures. Yet another advantage is for the tutorial relationship which sometimes calls for discussion of intimate matters, such as something on a person's conscience or something about relationships with the opposite gender. PAREF's experience is that this is best done with someone of the same gender.
Why does PARE Springdale require students to have regular haircuts? What's wrong with boys having long hair? Does this not curtail student's freedom of self expression?
Springdale does not make any judgment on boys with long hair. Neither does it stereotype persons or curtail the free expression of a person's individuality with its haircut policy. Rather, the policy of the school for students to keep their hair short is a choice the school took from a number of probable options based on socially accepted norms of propriety. The educational goal of PAREF Springdale affirms the human person as a social being and thus, in this context, the school takes a stand on amoral issues, like hairstyles, conforming to what is universally acceptable by other members of society as with any other social norms and etiquette. Definitely, social etiquette can vary among different cultures and yet they are demanded from any civilized person not for its own sake but for what it truly implies: a refined concern for the others which when lived in a Christian manner is actually charity. Simply put, propriety has a relative meaning because it is relative (or in relation) to the sensibilities and circumstances of people one deals with and not from the measure that one autonomously prefers. In considering the overall appearance of the students especially with their uniform, the haircut policy of the school belongs to the common ground among various hairstyles which does not distract from the learning experience, does not attract undue attention and is not offensive to others. Besides, freedom of self expression is maintained by keeping one's hair short in a number of different ways.