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Catholic High School Teaching & Ministry Initiative


The GPPM, founded at Santa Clara University in 1983, has throughout its history focused primarily on the theological and pastoral training of lay ministers in Catholic parishes, with emphases in catechetics, liturgy, liturgical music and spirituality. Historically, it has also trained many teachers and campus ministers in local Catholic high schools. For the past six years, we have begun to work closely with the Dioceses of Monterey, Sacramento, San Bernardino, and now Los Angeles, to train deacons and lay ministers there as well.

As we expand in the state, and as we seek new ways to serve, we believe that we can more intentionally put the university, through our program, at the service of Catholic high school religion teachers and campus ministers. We have begun to build out some resources that we anticipate might be helpful, such as a Google map of Catholic high schools in California, a chart comparing curricula and service requirements at the schools of the northern eight dioceses (of 12), and a very initial bibliography of resources on high school teaching (see below). We are currently holding focus groups with teachers and campus ministers in the San Francisco Bay Area to learn how they would identify the concerns, strengths, needs and areas of potential support.


Catholic California

We've mapped Catholic dioceses, parishes, high schools, colleges and Newman centers, graduate theology programs and seminaries, and retreat centers across the state. You can filter the map using the key to the left, then click on any icon to pull up the address, link, and demographic information.


High School Curricula

We've gathered information about the religious studies curricula and service requirements at the fifty Catholic high schools in the northern eight (of 12) California Catholic dioceses.



Buchanan, Michael T. and Adrian-Mario Gellel.  Global Perspectives on Catholic Religious Education in Schools.  Basel: Springer, 2015.

Congregation for Catholic Education.  "Educating to Fraternal Humanism: Building a ‘Civilization of Love’ 50 Years after Populorum progressio."  Vatican (16 April 2017).

Schroeder, Carrie J.  "The USCCB Curriculum Framework: Origins, Questions, and a Call for Research."  Journal of Catholic Education 19:1 (2015) 5-26.
The author graduated from the Jesuit School of Theology at SCU, taught at St. Joseph Notre Dame High School and Mercy San Francisco, and now works for St. Mary's Press.

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Doctrinal Elements of a Curriculum Framework for the Development of Catechetical Materials for Young People of High School Age.  Washington, D.C.: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2008.

Western Catholic Educational Association.  "Ensuring Educational Excellence."  September 2013.

Western Catholic Educational Association.  "Standards for The Catholic Identity of the School."


Content Resources

High school religion/theology teachers at our focus groups mentioned the following resources to help them with class prep and class activities.

  The Bible Project website and YouTube channel, podcasts teaching the Bible from the standpoint that it’s "a unified story that leads to Jesus." Animations and videos are useful for prep and teaching.
  Understanding Catholicism an Interactive Introduction to the Catholic Faith (St. Mary’s Press, $24.95/student) – an eLearning platform that can be customized for your school, with pictures of your students and modules about your school’s charism or tradition, all added for free
  Facing History and Ourselves great case studies to use in class, such as The Bad Samaritan, with a Bay Area office in Oakland
  Crash Course short videos on a whole lot of subjects, including the Ancient Egypt, Floods in the Ancient Near East, Rome, Christianity, The Apocalypse, the Crusades, Reformation, Israel and Palestine, Peace, Capitalism, etc.
  Resources on Judaism

Aleph Beta

MyJewishLearning - YouTube channel

• myJLI (for middle school and high school educators)

• Bimbam (children’s but also adult lessons)

  Literature Greg Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart


Pedagogical Resources

High school religion/theology teachers at our focus groups mentioned the following resources to help them engaging students in the classroom.

  Hyperdocs resources for using Google Apps to do digital lesson design (see also Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton and Sarah Landis, The HyperDoc Handbook: Digital Lesson Design Using Google Apps (EdTech Team, 2016)
  Summative assessments projects can be designed to allow students a variety of modes and means to display their learning, e.g., on a topic like "conscience" (though oriented to middle school teachers, this resource at the AMLE website offers a simple summary of summative and formative assessment). You can give them class time to prepare their work.
  Structured Reflection Papers communicates clear expectations for student analysis/presentation, but allows room for opinion and reflection; can be therapeutic in the best sense in classes like moral theology (Jim Keenan’s book Moral Wisdom is useful)
  Accountability tools importance of clear learning objectives, even rubrics:

Rubric Maker


Quick Rubric

  Graphic Organizers pick one, blow it up, put it on the wall, have students create inputs and stick them up on the chart
  The Elements of Thought website on critical thinking with teaching resources by Gary Meegan, department chair at Serra High School in San Mateo; he has a YouTube channel as well. Resources include the "3 types of question" (you ask students to read something short and bring a couple questions of each type to start class discussion):
  Type 1 quiz or reporter questions: who what when where how
  Type 2 preference (no right or wrong answer)
  Type 3 existential questions


Focus Group Notes