Kolbe Academy Online Conceptual Framework

Kolbe Academy Online is “dedicated to forming the whole individual – mind, body and soul – to renew the world with children and young adults with high educational, moral, civic, and spiritual values centered on the principle of Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam – doing all things for the greater glory of God fully” (Kolbe Academy, 2015b). Four key characteristics define, enlighten, and guide Kolbe Academy Online: Catholic identity, the principle of subsidiarity, Ignatian method, and classically-based.

  1. Catholic identity: Christ commanded Christians to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt 28:19, RSV-CE). Thus, Catholic schools must maintain a strong, orthodox Catholic identity in faithful obedience to the Magisterium of the Church. Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone (2015) summarized the importance of this Catholic identity, saying, “The core mission of the Catholic Church is to provide an integrated education to young men and women, that is, knowledge and virtue combined…We believe this is the formula for forming outstanding disciples of Jesus Christ.” With this, Catholic education must remain faithful to the Magisterium of the Church since it is the teaching authority of the Church charged with preserving and passing on unchanged the Word of God (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2000, §85).

  1. Principle of Subsidiarity. Key to Catholic social thought is the principle of subsidiarity, which holds that, in general, smaller and simpler organization structure is better than larger and more complex organizational structure; decentralized control tends to perform activities far more effectively and efficiently than centralized control (Bosnich, 1996). In Catholic education, the principle of subsidiarity finds expression in the fact that parents have a duty under God to serve as the primary educators of their children – a right which no human institution may usurp (John Paul II, 1981, §36, 40). Therefore, other educators serve at the behest of parents and parents must maintain an active role in the education of their children.

  1. Ignatian in Method. Based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, the Ignatian method in education strives for formation, rather than simply information; its ultimate goal is to lead the student towards love and knowledge of God (Kolbe, 2015a). This is accomplished through three tools: self-activity, which develops the habit of independent study and a love of learning; mastery, by introducing the student to progressively more challenging material, serving to build confidence and motivation; and formation of the whole person – mind, body, and soul – to help the student live in accordance with the will of God.

  1. Classically-based. Traditionally, Western education focused on guiding a student on a quest for wisdom and truth, instead of limiting itself to merely the pragmatic. Clark and Jain (2015) write of classical education, “Education was enculturation in piety, virtue, wisdom, and grace, and the curriculum served the culture” (p. 4). Every human person is a being created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:27); a being created by God and intended to return to God. Classical education recognizes this reality with its ultimate goal being “to enable the student (disciple) to better know, glorify, and enjoy God” (CIRCE, 2015).


Bosnich, D. A. (1996, July/August). The principle of subsidiarity. Religion and liberty, 6(4). Retrieved from http://www.acton.org/pub/religion-liberty.

Catechism of the Catholic Church. 2nd ed. (2000). Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference.

CIRCE Institute. (2015). Principles of classical education. Retrieved from https://www.circeinstitute.org/principles-classical-education.

Clark, K. & Jain R. (2015). The liberal arts tradition: A philosophy of Christian classical education. Camp Hill, PA: Classical Academic Press.

Cordileone, S. (2015, February 6). Address to Catholic high school teachers. In Church vision for Catholic education. Manassas, VA: Cardinal Newman Society. Retrieved from http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/K-12EDPrograms/ChurchVisionforCatholicEducation.aspx.

Kolbe Academy. (2015a). Ignatian method. Retrieved from http://www.kolbe.org/about-us/kolbe-philosophy/ignatian-method/.

Kolbe Academy. (2015b). Philosophy. Retrieved from http://www.kolbe.org/about-us/kolbe-philosophy/.

John Paul II. (1981, November 22). Apostolic Exhortation on the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern Word Familiaris consortio. Retrieved from http://w2.vactican.va.

Steve Schultz is a former active duty Air Force officer and pilot. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Portland, a master’s degree in military history from the American Military University, a master’s degree in theology with a concentration in dogmatic theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary, is currently writing his thesis for a master’s degree in philosophy also from Holy Apostles College and Seminary, and is pursuing a PhD in education with a concentration in distance learning. Additionally, Mr. Schultz is a freelance author writing on a variety of topics with an emphasis on theology, history, and current events. His work on theology has been published in various academic and popular venues including Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Lay Witness, Latin Mass, New Oxford Review, and Social Justice Review; and his work on history has been published in Armchair General online and Patriots of the American Revolution. In addition to teaching at Kolbe, he is also an Adjunct Professor of History, Philosophy, and Theology with Holy Apostles College and Seminary. Mr. Schultz also enjoys opportunities volunteering in the community, including service as a volunteer firefighter, adult leader with the Boy Scouts, and currently an adult leader in the Civil Air Patrol cadet program where he holds the grade of Lieutenant Colonel with over 30 years of service. He lives in central Florida with his wife, two children, and three dogs.

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Steve Schultz

Steve Schultz