Cistercian Preparatory School


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A Private College Preparatory School Grades 5-12


Ardere et Lucere – To Enkindle and Enlighten 

Cistercian Preparatory School was founded with the aim of preparing talented boys for the colleges of their choice by challenging their minds with excellent academic programs, molding their characters through the values of Catholic education, and offering them guidance with both understanding and discipline.


The Cistercians came to Texas with a vision: to build a secondary school that would combine academic excellence with Christian faith, morality, and spirituality.

The Cistercians’ outlook on life serves as the basis for their educational philosophy. Foremost in their minds was the conviction that the search for God was the purpose of every human life. They also sought to promote true human values and integrate every variety of learning into the journey toward God.

The Cistercians’ philosophy accounts for a number of innovative practices. They committed themselves to a rigorous, integrated 8-year curriculum for grades 5-12 in theology, language arts, math, science, history, and the fine arts. Such a curriculum implied that serious academic work should begin at age 10. It also created continuity in a student’s education from childhood through adolescence.

To organize and administer the school, the Cistercians introduced the Form Master system. A Cistercian priest was assigned to each of the entering classes to oversee their personal, academic and spiritual growth for the full span of eight years. The Form Master sought to create a community among the students and their parents, a sense of identity and family for each Form. He personalized the counseling of students and offered parents a partner with a long-term view of a child’s development. At the same time, unity and consistency in instruction and discipline were assured. Finally, the Form Master built strong, permanent ties between the Abbey and the School. The very nature of monastic life made this system possible, for the monks have bound themselves to the Abbey by a vow of stability.


Cistercian Preparatory School is accredited by the Independent School Association of the Southwest (ISAS), a member of the NAIS Commission on Accreditation that has voluntarily submitted to a rigorous and impartial review of its accreditation program and demonstrated its adherence to the Commission’s Criteria for Effective Independent School Accreditation Practices. ISAS is commended by NAIS for the quality of the Association’s accreditation program for its Member Schools.



  • What is the student/teacher ratio?
    6:1 in classes and one on one tutorials available before school and after school Monday thru Thursday and all day long on Fridays.
  • How long has the school been in operation?
    Cistercian was founded, and has been successfully educating students since 1962.
  • How qualified are the school’s teachers?
    Cistercian employs highly qualified, energetic, motivated, and dedicated teachers. Of the 56 faculty members, 63% hold a master’s degree and 14% have earned their doctorate degree. Average tenure of faculty members is 13 years.



Cistercian 2017-18 School Profile:



College Counseling at Cistercian is an integral part of the school’s overall counseling program, designed to lead young men to a deeper understanding of their individual talents, characteristic learning styles, academic interests and vocational goals. The college admissions process at Cistercian is, therefore, viewed as a developmental process. Its purpose is not only to assist students in finding colleges that meet their needs and match their academic strengths and interests, but also to engage each student in a process of self-assessment. Parents, Form Master, faculty members and college counselor all encourage each student’s aspirations while supporting the young man in taking personal responsibility and initiative for the college process. The college counseling process serves as a capstone experience in fulfilling the school’s motto, Ardere et Lucere , so that each graduate will go forth and enlighten the world in which we all live.


At Cistercian, the role of athletics is to serve the ission of The School. Physical Education and Athletics form an important and necessary part of the Cistercian curriculum. Each student is encouraged to perform on the level of his own capability within the framework of the teams and in the pursuit of a common goal. In this manner, our boys come to understand teamwork and sportsmanship.

Through our coaching staff, players are inspired with a love for the game and a desire to win. Our staff teaches that it is better to lose than to win unfairly. We continuously strive to exemplify the mission of our school and the athletics department.

We demand our players to live clean and play hard out of respect and love for the game. Our athletes win without boasting and lose without excuses. We never quit! Because we take pride in representing Cistercian, we always compete fairly and with respect for our opponents, fans, and officials.

Cistercian is a member of the Southwest Preparatory Conference and competes against other like-minded, college preparatory schools. As a conference we exemplify the highest standards of sportsmanship and inter-school relations.


A note from the Headmaster, Father Paul McCormick:

As our students arrived to campus this year for Opening Ceremonies, they were greeted by the soon-to-be-completed renovation of our Science Building. Yet, even before the first student ever crosses its threshold, the renovation has already been a tremendous boon for Cistercian through the lengthy and considered process of self-examination and cross-curricular discussion by the faculty, the administration, and various members of our alumni community. Through this process, we were able to clarify and refine our vision for creating innovative spaces and labs to most effectively advance our students’ understanding of and deepen their appreciation for all the marvels and mysteries of our universe as we prepare them for the very best STEM programs in the country.

The team that planned the renovation included our new science department chair, Dr. Martina Kroll; veteran science teacher and Director of Facilities, Mr. Tim Parker ’90; alum architect Gary Cunningham ’72; alum contractor Warren Andres ’77; and alum landscape architect David Hocker ’96, among others. Guided by this group, we ultimately decided to go beyond our initial goal of merely expanding, reconfiguring, and modernizing our existing labs. We have also introduced individual research labs for our upper-classmen to work alongside local college professors and have expanded the building’s footprint to include both a new flex lab as the Form I (Grade 5) Earth Science classroom and a versatile new flex space for our enthusiastic robotics team and senior seminar projects. Further, striving to model and promote responsible stewardship of the environment in the spirit of Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato Si,” we will also be incorporating solar panels and a rain water collection system. It will be very rewarding and, honestly, great fun watching both our students and our science faculty make the most of this new facility.

Yet, as important as facilities are to the learning process, even more vital is the daily interactions between teachers and students that take place within these buildings. Cistercian was happy to welcome back an outstanding cadre of dedicated faculty members again this year as well as to welcome a few new ones.

Our theme for the 2017-18 school year is taken from the example and command of Our Lord at the Last Supper when at a certain point during the meal, He rose, tied a towel around his waist, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel. Explaining as He did so, “Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me ‘teacher’ and ‘master,’ and rightly so, for indeed I am. If, therefore, I, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you must wash the feet of one another.”

Of course, there is a whole lot here for us to think about and to “unpack,” if you will, over the course of the coming year. During our annual retreat before the opening of school, the faculty, coaches, and staff reflected together on how we might strive even better to serve our students after the example of Our Lord. It is my hope that this year’s theme may also help inspire even greater “servant leadership” in our students as they grow and mature intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually, and increasingly look for opportunities to serve and to mentor one another as well as those in the larger community.

In this and in other ways, Cistercian seeks to remain true to our founding mission of preparing talented boys for the colleges of their choice by challenging their minds with an excellent academic program, molding their characters through the values of Catholic education, and offering them guidance with both understanding and discipline.

I hope you will be able to visit our campus soon to see firsthand all the ways Cistercian continues to “Enkindle and Enlighten” the promising young men entrusted to our care.

About the Headmaster

Fr. Paul McCormick, O. Cist. grew up in Beaumont, Texas, entered the Cistercian Abbey Our Lady of Dallas in 1992, and was ordained a priest in 1997. He holds an S.T.L. from Gregorian University, Rome, as well as B.A., M.B.A., and M.A. degrees from The University of Dallas.

Cistercian seeks to enroll students of educational promise who are seriously ready to apply themselves in order to reach their academic potential. Along with completing the application found on our website, all applicants must take an in-house placement test, turn in transcripts from current schools, and have an informal interview on the day of testing. All materials are due before an applicant may take the exam. Testing for Forms I-II will take place on the last Saturday of January, while those testing for Forms III-VII will take place on the first Saturday of February.

Admissions begins in the fall with our application becoming available online. All families are welcome to conduct a private tour of Cistercian’s 83 acre campus. Please contact Cistercian for details. All admissions materials are due to the school by mid-January. Admissions information and can be found on our website,


For additional information, please refer to the following contact information:

Cistercian Preparatory School


Fr. Paul McCormick – Headmaster

Mr. Greg Novinski, Head of Upper School

Mr. Jim Taylor, Director of Admissions


  • Grades : 5th - 12th
  • Student Body : Male
  • School Types : - Select an Option -, Catholic
  • School Type : Day Only
  • Religious Affiliation : Catholic
  • Zip Code : 75039
  • Special Focus :
  • Grade : - Select an Option -, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth
Contact details

3660 Cistercian Rd, Irving, TX 75039,75039  Show Phone Number