Frequently asked questions

Why Eastern Catholic?


We are Eastern Catholic and we love the rich, vibrant heritage of our Faith. The Eastern Catholic Church recognizes the importance of both the body and the soul and the relationship between them. It is a visceral, experiential way of life which emphasizes beauty, mystery, and a poetic knowledge of the Faith. This aligns beautifully with the educational philosophies of Maria Montessori and John Senior, who were both Catholic themselves.




Are we in communion with Rome?


"From the First Millennium, Christians of the Byzantine tradition have referred to themselves as "Orthodox Christians". Byzantine Catholics are Orthodox Christians who embrace full communion with the Church of Rome and its primate, Pope Francis, the successor of St. Peter, the first among the Apostles. Sadly, however, the break in communion between the Orthodox East and the Catholic West of 1054 still affects us today, as our communion with Rome means we are not in full communion with our mother Orthodox Church. We pray for the day when the Churches will again be one." - http://www.byzcath.org/index.php/about-us-mainmenu-60/about-byzantines-mainmenu-62




Who was John Senior?


John Senior was a scholar and professor at the University of Kansas. He, along with Franklin Nelick and Dennis Quinn, began the Integrated Humanities program there, which encouraged a poetic, experiential knowledge of the Good, the True, & the Beautiful and resulted in many converts to the Catholic Faith. Senior's books The Death of Christian Culture and The Restoration of Christian Culture are well loved; these and his lesser known and unpublished short work The Restoration of Innocence: the Idea for a School were guiding influences for Gregory the Great Academy, St. Martin's Academy, Wyoming Catholic College, and for St. Anthonys. As Patrick Martin, a former student of Senior's, says in his tribute to Senior, "He had the vision of an eagle looking down upon earth. He could see the beauty of life in all its detail. He could teach us to seek the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in a palpable way that made us long for it, as Odysseus longed for Ithaca. His teaching was, moreover, experiential, by example, living as best he could the love for tradition that he taught." He taught his students to embrace Beauty, to pursue Truth, and to act in accordance with the Good.




Who was Maria Montessori?


Maria Montessori was a doctor (the first woman to become a doctor in Italy), scientist, researcher, and a devout Catholic. She specialized in psychiatry and research in education, spending years observing how children learn best. Her philosophy of education is essentially Catholic; it elevates the dignity of the human person above the rigor of the curriculum, asks for each student to strive for virtue & exercise self-control, and emphasizes the importance of Beauty, Truth, and Goodness. Popes have condoned Montessori education as the most Catholic of all educational philosophies, and even suggested that all Catholic schools should be Montessori schools. “It is possible to see a clear analogy between the mission of the Shepherd of the Church and that of the prudent and generous Montessori directress - who with tenderness and love knows how to discover and bring to light the most hidden virtues and capacities of the child.” ~Pope Saint John the XXIII




Must our children be vaccinated to attend?


We believe that the decision to vaccinate lies is a personal family decision that lies with the parents. Children vaccinated and unvaccinated are welcome at St. Anthonys'.




What is your technology policy?


We hope to have famliies join SAA who are aligned with our mission & cheerfully embrace a severe limitation of technology in the lives of our students, families who are happy to put aside phones, tablets, computers, video games or any social media accounts for the good of the student. We ask that families encourage their students to spend their time engaging with people, nature, and in healthy activities and that any screen time be had on the weekend and as a family, such as a family movie night. "For desire of the real to rise up, there must be something real to arouse it, and gadgets, computers, and gimmicks used to hold attention, all taking place in the classroom environments technologically insulated from reality, are simply parts of the generally unlovable atmosphere of modern education - unlovable because they are all efficiency, utility, and no longer beautiful." - James S. Taylor, Poetic Knowledge - All families and students agree to abide by the no technology policy for the duration of the student's enrollment in St. Anthonys'. - We want our students to be actively engaged with the real world around them, speaking with their fellow students & teachers, & developing healthy brains. We also want to guard against the invasive onslaught of pornography. To this end, technology (screens of any type) in the classroom is limited to the occasional video demonstration (for example, a YouTube clip) shown by the teacher to the class. - Students are not allowed access to any phones, tablets, televisions, video games or computers at any time during school hours or functions, including when traveling in vehicles. - In situations where it is not a distraction from the class, and it may be pleasant to listen to music while working, music (classical or folk) may be played by the teacher over a radio or phone. Students are not allowed to touch the device or tamper with the music in any way. - when traveling in vehicles of teachers, classical or folk music or appropriate classics on audio book may be played. - If a student drives to school, she may have a dumb/wise/gabb phone, which must be turned in to the Directress during school or any school function, event, or trip.




What is your homework policy?


We want our students to have time to play, relax, and enjoy the beauty of the world around them after spending the day at school. We try to keep homework to a minimum for this reason. If a student is not getting her work done at school, however, she will need to complete it at home.




If there are no numerical grades, how will I know how my student is doing?


A focus on exams and grades alters the way students learn, making learning a means to an end rather than a good in itself. This contributes to a view of school as a necessary chore on the road to commercial success rather than a joyful discovery that forms the soul. In addition, student anxiety over grades and exams is on the rise nationwide, contributing significantly to the teenage suicide epidemic. Emphasis is placed on honest, diligent work to the best of one's ability. Rather than grades & report cards, at SAA Parent-Student-Teacher conferences & progress reports are scheduled quarterly throughout the year. If a transcript for school transfer or college application is necessary, the Guides' firsthand knowledge of each student's abilities, successes, and struggles can be recorded as letter grades. Although we do not have exams throughout the year as a conventional school does, we are partnering with Classical Learning Test (CLT) to assess the students at the beginning of each year and to mark their progress at the end of each year. We will not be "teaching to the test". Through the CLT, parents can also see how their students are doing compared with other students across the nation. * The Classic Learning Test (CLT) is the new standard for college entrance assessments. It is designed for high school juniors and seniors. The CLT takes two hours, and tests for grammar, literary comprehension, and mathematical and logical reasoning; it also contains an optional, ungraded essay portion. The CLT10 is the official preparatory exam for the CLT. It is designed for high school freshmen and sophomores. The exam takes two hours and tests for the similar content as the CLT, at an age-appropriate level and with fewer questions of the highest difficulty.




What is your uniform/dress code policy?


What one wears influences how one thinks and feels. We dress in uniform and look sharp because we want to have sharp minds, and we want to show respect for the school, our work, one another, and ourselves. We also present as a unified, dignified, respectable group when in public. Specific uniform requirements will be posted on the website. Girls may wear lip gloss & nail polish, but no other make-up. If a student arrives at school out of uniform or in violation of the dress code, he or she will be given something to wear for the day and issued with a fine of $5.00 per dress code violation.




What are the major challenges & needs of the adolescent, according to Dr. Montessori?


"The period of adolescence has been compared by Dr. Maria Montessori to the first plane of development. She identified both as periods of great transformation, physically and mentally. Task commitment and concentration continue to be of great importance to the Montessori Adolescent. Her psychic development is to articulate a personal vision. The adolescent’s motto is “Help me to think for myself.” This requires time for solitude and personal reflection, as well as a time for dialogue with her teacher(s) and within a circle of peers. The major characteristics or “ages” of early adolescence are these: - Social The focus of the adolescent is on camaraderie, fellowship, companionship and teammates. Peer relationships are crucial and the peer group is the adolescent’s first priority. They need to identify. - Critical Thinking The adolescent mind turns from elementary thoughts of the universe toward themselves and their group. Adolescents need to know how they feel and what they want. They need to draw conclusions, listen and synthesize. They need adults to listen to their reasoning. They need to be empowered to seek solutions and to discuss their conclusions. - Boundless Energy The adolescent’s vital force has a special intensity. It can burn out of control – but if channeled, it can move mountains. The adolescent has an astonishing capacity to work and an unquenched thirst for adventure and self-discovery. - Sexual Maturation The adolescent feels challenged to understand what is expected of him or her as an adult. -Humanistic The adolescent confronts and deals with human nature in a very unique way, confronting powerful dilemmas, mysterious forces and contradictions of life. The major “needs” of the Montessori adolescent are these: They need to work. They need to be challenged. They need to be empowered. They need the earth (land). They need to build community. They need to develop a personal vision." - from http://www.mariamontessorischool.org/environments/middle-school/




Are you a full-day, 5 day a week school?


Yes. For the 2021-22 school year, we run from 8:30 am to 3:45 pm, Monday through Friday.




What is the tutorial system?


Students work on individual work plans. They meet individually or in small groups with tutors who assist and assess them, giving them instruction and correction as needed.




Is there a precedent for your program?


Not exactly, but our program is a merging of - John Senior's Idea for a School, which was also an inspiration for Gregory the Great Academy, St. Martin's Academy, and Wyoming Catholic College - Maria Montessori's adolescent philosophy, of which there are many examples in Montessori schools all over the world - Monastic education, of which there are many examples throughout history - the Oxford tutorial system, which has been used for centuries What is unprecedented to our knowledge is the combination of these various successful models, which is our hope.




Where is your school located?


We are located just 20 minutes from downtown Dallas and less than 10 minutes from the University of Dallas. Although Montessori and Senior both talk of farm programs in the countryside, we would like to adapt the ideas of these great educators for an urban environment, calling city-dwellers to connect to the earth, the seasons, beauty, and real life within the polis. At present we are renting space from a local church, but we hope to someday have our own property with several houses, including girls' boarding houses, and an urban farm.