What is a parochial school? Oftentimes, people use the terms “parochial school” and “Catholic school” interchangeably. In some cases, schools fit both terms. However, this is not always the case. 

For instance, Saint Nicholas School is an independent Anglican school that fits under the umbrella of a “parochial school.” Below, we look more closely at the term. 

what is a parochial school

What Is a Parochial School Today?

So, what does parochial school mean? Simply put, it is a type of private school. To be more specific, it is a private school that has some affiliation with a religious entity. Oftentimes, that entity is a church. 

In many cases, that church is a Catholic church. 

As we mentioned above, though, that’s not always the case. For example, some parents refer to other religious schools as parochial when it shares a connection with a place of worship. A Jewish private school, for instance, may be affiliated with a synagogue. 

However, the term “parochial” shares its roots with the word “parish.” As such, people often use it to refer to a Christian organization. 

What Kind of Education Do Private Parochial Schools Offer?

As with other private schools, a parochial school is subject to state guidelines for education. That means that the curriculum covers standard subjects, including math, reading, and science. However, the school also administers a religious education alongside these subjects. 

For some families, private schools represent a stronger education in comparison to public schools. In part, this is due to the level of personalization that comes from smaller classes and more intimate communities. Conversely, public schools tend to operate at a higher capacity with larger classes. 

With fewer students per teacher, the teachers have more one-on-one time with each student. Additionally, the atmosphere of parochial schools differs from public schools. This is due to the inclusion of religious studies in the curriculum, which is not included at public schools. 

Similar to other Christian schools, some of these classical schools also offer students the ability to go through certain sacraments. For example, a student may undergo their First Communion or their Confirmation. 

private parochial school

What Is a Parochial School? A Community

As parents wonder, “what is a parochial school,” the answer they find is that it is a like-minded community. Oftentimes, they find that the social experience of the school to be a deciding factor for them. 

When a school feels unsafe, it makes for a difficult atmosphere. Often, parents worry over the facilities and student body of a public school and how it impacts their child’s ability to learn. Generally speaking, these problems develop more in public schools than in private schools. 

Who Can Attend Parochial Schools?

Because parochial schools are private, they have the ability to determine who they admit as a student. In some cases, they require that a member of the family be a member of their church. However, others have little or no limits. 

Additionally, certain schools show preference in admissions to those who identify with the associated religion. Still, others do not so long as the family understands the role of the associated religion in their curriculum. 

Moreover, it’s interesting to note that the National Association of Episcopal Schools uses the phrase “parish school.” Seemingly, this is an attempt to avoid the perception that someone’s religion takes precedence. As such, they wish to meet the needs of their community, not solely those of their church members. 

Similarly, there are schools that identify as parochial while making an effort to remain inclusive of all faiths and backgrounds. 

Catholic Schools Vs Parochial Schools

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 60% of Catholic schools are parochial schools, which means they have an affiliation with a specific church. But, what does that mean for the other 40%?

A Catholic school in your area may offer a religious education, but if there’s no affiliation with a church, it. is not a parochial school.

parochial school vs catholic school

What Is a Parochial School in Houston? 

So, what is a parochial school in this sense? 

Truly, it varies from school to school. For parents, this means it is essential to research the educational options available for their children. Moreover, it is crucial to identify the philosophy and values of each school. 

When you provide your child with an education that matches your values, you help them grow as an individual. Additionally, you provide them with a social foundation in their community. This offers them a valuable resource as they develop. 

For a parochial classical school Houston parents trust, learn more about Saint Nicholas School. With our robust education and development-focused curriculum, we strive to help students thrive as they grow.