Dixon-Based independent Catholic School Makes Major Progress

April 6, 2018
Dream Becoming Reality
For over five years, a group of families have worked to provide a unique educational program for their children – based in Dixon. In 2013, the “Valley of the Sacred Heart Academy” (VHS) began with four volunteers serving 16 children using two classrooms at St. Peter’s church one day per week.
Taking inspiration from the Seton College, they decided to expand! Today there are 80 students participating, both from local families and others as far away as Sacramento and the East Bay area. The staff has grown to 24.
After 5 years of growth, the Academy has made major strides towards the goal of their own permanent school location in Dixon. They purchased the large long-vacant lot across from St. Peter’s on the northeast corner of East A Street and North Second Street where they will build an educational center.
An annual Wine Tasting event helps raise some funds. The event this year will be on April 14 at St. Mary’s Parish Hall in Vacaville. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Guest speaker will be Fr. Sean Sheridan, President of Franciscan University of Steubenville. Besides the wine tasting, there will be appetizers and a silent auction. Tickets are available for a $40 donation by calling (530) 574-0804.
Preliminary architectural drawings for the building showed a “California Mission” style structure – which will blend well with the commercial/apartment building across the street. An updated design is in progress.
They are now in a fund-raising phase to build that “Atrium” education center with classrooms to teach students from pre-school through high school with a hybrid program using homeschooling with regular classroom instructions several days per week.
In 2014 VHS received approval from Bishop Soto of the Diocese of Sacramento to start the hybrid program. The program uses classical and Montessori methods.
The curriculum is rich in Latin, Spanish, Science, Geography, Writing, Music, and Art. For children in younger grades, learning takes place through a hands-on approach using Montessori materials, singing, and movement. Institute of Excellence in Writing courses enable the children to become effective communicators. The Academy uses a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program with spiritual formation to children ages 3-12.
In September 2017, VSH officially became a new Independent Catholic School in the Diocese of Sacramento. Bishop Soto gave permission for Valley of the Sacred Heart Academy to expand to a fulltime Montessori Elementary School as well as Chesterton Academy for high school. Chesterton Academy is a network of classical high schools in Minnesota and on the East Coast. VSH will be the first to offer Chesterton Academy west of the Mississippi. Valley.
According to Chris Simpson, Director of the Academy (VSH) “is a response to the needs of families and children in today’s society. VSH offers a community environment that infuses learning with faith, truth, and beauty. Children work and play together, putting virtues, morals, and faith into action.”
According to Simpson, “Valley of the Sacred Heart Academy is a new model of Catholic Education. Using the time-honored approaches of classical and Montessori pedagogy, VSH educates children ages 3-18. We envision the expansion of this new model of Catholic education throughout Northern California and beyond.”
She further said, “Once the educational center is established in Dixon, VSH will seek to establish small education communities of 100 to 150 children that serve the student and the family through outreach ministries. VSH Dixon will become the heart of the program as it expands, training staff, catechists, and administrators to found and operate sister schools throughout California.”
VSH is an apostolate of Pro Ecclesia Sancta (P.E.S), an ecclesial family where lay and religious members come together to serve in order to contribute to the renewal, strengthening, and expansion of the Catholic Church.
P.E.S. has a formation house in Solano County. Father Carlos Farfan is a member of P.E.S. who served as Pastro of St. Peter’s parish in Dixon for six years.
As an independent Catholic school, VHS is financially self-supporting, but receives cooperation from the Diocese of Sacramento. Other similar schools exist in the Diocese, including Jesuit and Christian Brothers high schools in Sacramento and a grade school in South Lake Tahoe.
Valley of the Sacred Heart Academy may be contacted by phoning (530) 574.0804 by email to:
or on their website at:

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