A Hybrid Catholic School in Boston Archdiocese is offering a perfect blend of the old and new
Lumen Verum Academy, a hybrid Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Boston, is a purposeful blending of the old and the new.
The school, which opened in fall 2021, follows a challenging classical curriculum that “seeks to hand on the best of what human beings have thought, written, and created throughout the ages.” History and literature are linked chronologically, so students are reading literature from the same time period they’re studying in history. Science and math are taught in a way designed to help students appreciate the beauty and complexity of the world and to think about eternal truths. Not surprisingly, given a name that means “True Light” in Latin, students study Latin each year.
But while much of Lumen Verum is rooted in the past, the school takes full advantage of the technology of today. Lumen Verum follows a hybrid approach with virtual lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays and in person on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Friday schedule alternates, with students either attending field trips or having the day to do school work and meet with teachers.
The delivery model gives students and families some of the flexibility of online education along with the support and social aspect of in‐person schooling. Plus, it allows the school to provide a more customized learning plan for each student.
Lumen Verum takes the use of technology a step further through its Distinguished Guest Lecturer program. By inviting guest lecturers to participate virtually and offering flexible scheduling, Lumen Verum is able to connect students with speakers from around the world who are experts in their fields. Students have the opportunity to deepen the conversation through question‐and‐answer sessions.
Harry Scherer, one of Lumen Verum’s guest lecturers, is very impressed with the school and the success they’re already seeing. He teaches a weekly course for 8th and 9th graders called “Profiles in Virtue” that he designed to have both a theoretical and a practical aspect. The students have short readings on the virtues of temperance, justice, prudence, and fortitude, and then they read about Catholic men and women who exemplified those virtues. Harry says the readings can be difficult—the primary book is often used in college—but the students are really engaged and are rising to the challenge.
Like many new private schools, Lumen Verum intentionally started small—with around 20 students in grades 6–8. Most of the students returned this fall. The school plans to add a grade each year until it eventually serves grades 6–12.
Lumen Verum is the first Catholic school of its type in the U.S. according toThomas Carroll, who is superintendent of schools for the Archdiocese of Boston and founded the school. He says the school incorporates lessons learned through the challenges of COVID-19 about the best use of technology in education and the importance of social interaction among students. He expects the unique model will provide important lessons for other Catholic schools.
By pairing a classical Catholic education with modern technology in a blend of at‐home and in‐person learning, Lumen Verum provides an exciting option for Catholic families in Boston.