Teaching and Learning with Verbum’s New High School Curriculum

This guest post is by Robert Klesko, Catholic Educational Resources Product Manager at Verbum.

“You are all missionary disciples of Christ. With your help, students will love and serve Jesus Christ in the world.”

Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan, Bishop of Camden

I heard the above words during an in-service for Theology teachers in the Diocese of Camden that I was blessed to attend earlier this month. While I was in New Jersey to present the new Verbum High School Curriculum to high school teachers, and the Bishop’s words resonated with my teacher’s heart. Indeed, his words provide a point of reflection for us all.

Anyone involved in teaching the faith is a missionary and our missionary work extends to classrooms, RCIA programs, Bible studies, weekend homilies, and prison ministry. Jesus commands us to “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Mt. 28:19). One of our special tasks, of course, is to pass on the faith to our young people, and we at Verbum take this divine duty very seriously. As a high school theology teacher, I used to strive every day spark my students’ interest and desire for meaning. There are so many competing voices in the world vying for our attention, and this is especially true for adolescents. My goal was to make the faith relevant, exciting, and engaging on a daily basis, and I did this by integrating technology into the classroom. Technology is the currency of the modern student. At Verbum, we have embraced the great gifts of technology and used it to form a compelling, dynamic, and Spirit-charged tool for the proclamation of the kerygma.

When I was invited to join Verbum and work on our digital high school theology curriculum, I was opened up to the great possibilities that this technology has in store with all levels of theological instruction. Verbum allows you to engage the vast Catholic tradition directly while simultaneously being part of a wider network of learners. As a teacher, I always wondered how to make complicated group work and collaboration more effective, and Verbum provides an excellent answer by gathering people of common interest and mission into a community. Perfect for face-to-face instruction with its various interactive tools, wonderful for facilitating learning beyond the borders of the traditional classroom, Verbum makes education possible where you are.

It was these capabilities that I was pleased to share with my fellow teachers in Camden and in my meetings with educators across the country. The response has been overwhelmingly positive:

  • Father Allain Caparas, Director of Catholic Identity at Gloucester Catholic, noted the “need to use technology to reach our students,” and concluded that Verbum would be a great benefit to help students become active learners, and defenders, of the faith. “[Verbum is] worth our time and worth our investment (Catholic Star Herald).[1]
  • “Every Catholic high school that is serious about providing a passionate, compelling evangelization and catechesis to students should investigate the Verbum curriculum” says Marie Pitt-Payne, Theology teacher at St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy, the first Verbum-equipped school.

Again and again, I have encountered administrators and educators who have had epiphanies about ways that Verbum can transform high school religious education. Part of this epiphany is Verbum’s ability to put the great sources of the faith at the fingertips of students in an accessible and searchable way:

“Students crave depth and answers; they need hard information,” said Janice Schumann, a Senior Religion teacher from Wildwood Catholic.

The knowledge that Verbum provides, with its “documents that demonstrate that scholars and saints have studied and researched the faith,” will inspire students to do the same, Schumann believes (Catholic Star Herald).

Combining the vast Catholic tradition and cutting-edge software tools in a compelling curriculum for high school students, Verbum is opening minds and hearts to the possibility of teaching the faith in a new and engaging way. Verbum is pushing the paradigm to new heights and changing the way teaching and learning are taking place. We do this because we believe that we are all missionaries—“laborers in the vineyard” (Mt. 20:8)— of the Lord, and our goal is to create inspired believers for the future.

If you’re reading this blog, please take some time to think about anyone you know who has an active role in ministry in the Church. Tell them about Verbum and invite them to invest in our powerful software. Consider adopting Verbum for your school, or visit Verbum.com to see how it can help you improve your own personal ministry.

For more information about the Verbum High School Curriculum—including a visit to your Catholic high school!— please contact Robert at Robert.Klesko@verbum.com.

[1] Original article can be found at: https://catholicstarherald.org/spiritual-instructional-and-communal-refreshment/

Written by
Kathryn Hogan
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Written by Kathryn Hogan