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New Partnership

University of Dallas Partners with Bishop Louis Reicher Catholic School to Build Traditional Catholic K-12 Curriculum

University Offers Classical Education Model to Top Private Catholic School in Diocese of Austin

 Date published: Jan. 28, 2020

Bishop Louis Reicher Catholic School

As the classical education movement continues to take shape in many parts of the United States, the University of Dallas is proud to announce the launch of a new long-term, wide-ranging partnership with Bishop Louis Reicher Catholic School in Waco, Texas, in which the university will provide a unified, dynamic and traditional Catholic K-12 curriculum. The partnership will give students open access to University of Dallas research tools and resources, such as summer academic, athletic and fine arts camps, and the university’s nationally ranked study abroad programs; under the partnership students will also receive preferred admission to the university.

“This beautiful one-of-a-kind partnership will benefit Bishop Louis Reicher and the broader Waco community in countless ways,” said Bishop Louis Reicher President Blake Evans in a news release. “The curriculum implemented within the school gradually over the next few years will offer students a world-class experience wherein they will grow in their natural sense of wonder and awe and will be developed in their ability to think critically, synthesize ideas, solve problems, and effectively process, organize and articulate their thoughts.” 

“As both the new president of the University of Dallas and someone who spent many years in Waco as a parishioner at St. Louis Catholic Church and as a parent of children who graduated from St. Louis Catholic school, I could not be more delighted about this new collaboration,” said University of Dallas President Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83. “This is a time of both great challenge and enormous opportunity for Catholic education at every level. All of our institutions need to work more closely. We need to build institutions that are focused on the formation of young persons in intellectual and moral virtue, in the understanding and practice of the faith, and in the skills they need to participate in the worlds of work and politics. It is my hope that this collaboration will be grounded in deep and abiding friendship between our institutions and will become a model for other Catholic schools.” 

“This partnership is the beginning of many significant next steps to inspire the next generation of students and educators in the Catholic intellectual tradition,” said Adrienne Freas, a classical education adviser in the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts. “As a Catholic university we expect not only to help students on our campus, but also to help the greater Catholic community with spiritual and intellectual formation. The University of Dallas’ mission is dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom, of truth, and of virtue as the proper and primary ends of education. We believe this begins at the K-12 level.” 

In addition to establishing the K-12 Catholic classical curriculum, Freas’ role includes formulating and directing a team of master teachers who in turn can offer further professional development to Bishop Louis Reicher's staff. She is presently writing a K-8 Trivium-based humanities curriculum with the assistance of Affiliate Assistant Professor of Modern Languages and Humanities Director Laura Eidt, Ph.D., who is also writing a K-2 Latin curriculum. 

"Bishop Louis Reicher Catholic School is blessed to have the visionary leadership of Father Ryan Higdon, and we are excited to join him in his efforts to advance Catholic education in Waco, Texas,” said University of Dallas Provost Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D.

According to one recent National Affairs article, “As the number of classical schools has grown, so has the demand for teachers and for teacher training.” The University of Dallas continues to work with a number of classical-school networks, offering summer and online courses through the year to classical educators.  

In 2016, the University of Dallas launched its Classical Education Graduate Program to help equip classical educators and administrators with additional resources and training. The program has more than doubled since its launch and had nearly 110 teachers enrolled in 2019.  

“Our K-8 humanities as well as our Latin curricula will pilot this fall not only at Bishop Louis Reicher, but also at three other schools within the dioceses of Austin, Dallas and Fort Worth,” said Freas.