Intentional Catholic Education at St. Sebastian School in Santa Paula, CA

Intentional Catholic Education

Learning For Life Through Faith

Seeking of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Intentional Catholic education is a long tradition of education that emphasizes the seeking of truth, goodness, and beauty. This intentionally catholic approach teaches students how to learn and how to think.
What makes this education so effective? It is largely because of its approach to how and when students are taught.

Regardless of their learning style, children learn in phases or stages.

K-6th Grade Stage

Here children soak up knowledge. They memorize, absorb facts, learn the rules of phonics and spelling, recite poetry, and study plants, animals, basic math, and other topics. Moral lessons are included.

7th-8th Grade Stage

Students are naturally more argumentative and begin to question authority and facts. They want to know the “why” of something—the logic behind it. During this stage, students learn reasoning, informal and formal logic, and how to argue with wisdom and eloquence.

9th-12th Grade Stage (continued elsewhere)

10–12 is naturally when students become independent thinkers and communicators.Intentional Catholic education aims to include instruction on the virtues and a love of truth, goodness and beauty in ordinary lesson plans.

Intentional Catholic education aims to include instruction on the virtues and a love of truth, goodness and beauty in ordinary lesson plans. Students learn the arts, sciences and literature starting with classical Greek and Roman sources and Wisdom and input from ancient church fathers, Renaissance theologians and even Mozart.

Contrary to Public School

The structure of public school lends itself to questions, set up to say, “This is what you need to know, and here are the facts.

Not just a method but an incorporation into the whole treasure of Christian wisdom, which includes that of Christian cultures. Our students would get a coherent understanding of history, literature, art, philosophy —the traditions to what Catholics in the West are heirs.
Intentional Catholic Education, with its focus on philosophy and inquiry, can offer students the opportunity to gain knowledge and develop innovative thought, while examining issues through a moral lens.

How does a philosophy that has been taught for centuries stay relevant in an education age immersed with iPads and apps, and careers driven by the digital economy, automation and personalization? Today, students are charged with shaping policy and fighting injustice, and have endless information, and misinformation, pushed to them. An Intentionally Catholic education provides the academic excellence and moral framework to fight this injustice and encourages students to pursue the why, how and who of ideas and decisions in addition to the what, and helps develop young people who own their power to enrich their lives and the lives of others.

Directly and indirectly, an Intentionally Catholic Education offers a deeper, lasting preparation for college, careers and living a meaningful life by encouraging its two guiding principles—wisdom and virtue.

Essential Marks of a Catholic School

Please click the dots on the Logo to know what it means/symbolizes.


(Symbolized by the Alpha & Omega)

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
Catholic educators should address the requirements of both the natural and the supernatural perfection of the children entrusted to their care.

The Catholic school must be founded on Jesus Christ, who, through his Incarnation, is united with each student. Christ is not an afterthought or an add-on to Catholic educational philosophy; he is the center and fulcrum of the entire enterprise, the light enlightening every boy and girl who comes into a Catholic school.

In the book of Revelations, Christ refers to himself as the alpha and the omega. That is, the first and the last. These two letters symbolize the fact that Christ is the beginning and the end of all creation, and we hold him as the beginning and end of our school's being. Thus we hold the Alpha & the Omega as a part of our Identity, Christ with us and of us always.



The Good, The True, & The Beautiful:
The “spirit of Catholicism" should permeate the entire curriculum. Catholic education is "intentionally directed to the growth of the whole person." An integral education aims to develop gradually every capability of every student: his or her intellectual, physical, psychological, moral, and religious capacities. If a Catholic school is to deliver on its promise to provide students with an integral education, it must foster love for wisdom and truth, and must integrate faith, culture, and life.

Symbolized with a quill and book, St. Sebastian School, strives for an Intentional Catholic Education focusing on educating the whole student, mind, body, and soul in the ways of the good, the true, and the beautiful.


(Papal Keys)

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel -Socrates

A mark of a school’s catholicity is the emphasis on the school as a community but even more so as a "a genuine community of faith."

School is a community in four areas:

TEAMWORK among all those involved

COOPERATION between educators and bishops

INTERACTIONS of students with teachers

ENVIRONMENT provided by the school's
physical plant

Symbol Our Communion and Community as a part of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.



“You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

As an authentic catholic school St. Sebastian School demonstrates the vital witness of its teachers and administrator. Serving as "Lights of Christ," we uphold the primary responsibility for creating a Christian school climate through our vocation as teachers and participation in the Church's evangelizing mission. We hold Christ as our example and guiding light, as the Teacher of all teachers, and we reveal the Christian message not only by word but also by every gesture of our behavior.

More than a master who teaches, a Catholic educator is a person who gives testimony by his or her life, and we choose to live our lives as a lights of Christ.


St. Sebastian was an exemplary Roman soldier, a part of the Praetorian Guard (hence our Mascot SPSAINT PRAETORIANS).

However, this was during a time of Christian persecution, and he was discovered to be a Christian and condemned to death. He was shot with many arrows and left for dead. Th brave soldier survived the first attempt to execute him, and went back to those who had ordered his death and preached against their attacks on Christians. Sebastian was again condemned and this time martyred.

The Arrows as a symbol of St. Sebastian exemplify to us his virtues and gifts of strength, stamina, perseverance, courage and justice in the face of adversity. St. Sebastian is the patron saint of soldiers, athletes, and those who desire a saintly death.

We use these arrows in our School Logo to remind us of our own call to be like this brave saint and have strength, stamina, perseverance, courage, and justice as we travel our own path through life.


(Hands of God & Adam by Michelangelo)

"A good school provides a rounded education for the whole person. And a good Catholic school, over and above this, should help all its students to become saints." (Pope Benedict XVI)

Education is a process that forms the whole child and seeks to fix his or her eyes on heaven. The specific purpose of a Catholic education is the formation of boys and girls who will be good citizens of this world, loving God and neighbor and enriching society with the leaven of the gospel, and who will also be citizens of the world to come, thus fulfilling their destiny to TAKE GOD'S HAND and become saints.


Santa Clara River Valley: Nestled in the heart of the beautiful city of Santa Paula, our school serves students from many different parts of the Santa Clara River Valley. The beautiful South Mountain hills provide a gorgeous daily view for our students.

Saint Sebastian School - Intentional Catholic Education for the whole student

It is precisely because of its Catholic identity that a school derives the originality that enables it to be a genuine instrument of the Church's evangelizing mission. The first and most important task for Catholic schools is to maintain and continually strengthen their Catholic identity. Like the marks of the Church proclaimed in the Creed – one, holy, catholic, and apostolic – so, too, does the Holy See identify the principal features of a school as Catholic: a Catholic school should be inspired by a supernatural vision, founded on Christian anthropology, animated by communion and community, imbued with a Catholic worldview throughout its curriculum, and sustained by gospel witness. These five elements that necessarily belong to a school's Catholic identity are the principles proposed by the Holy See as measurable benchmarks, forming the backbone and inspiring the mission of every Catholic school.
(Five Essential Marks of Catholic Schools by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, C.S.B)