Reprinted from The Catholic Advocate, 6/3/04
In developing a vision for schools in the Archdiocese through the year 2013, the New Energies Task Force for Schools established a number of benchmarks,or guiding principles,by which schools will be examining themselves for the future.The benchmarks cover such areas as:maintaining Catholic identity and mission; quality and innovation in programs;teacher and administrator quality and education;study body size;cost of education, and quality and size of facilities.
The Archdiocese affirms its obligation to provide opportunities for Catholic education to Catholic families and will encourage all Catholic families to enroll their children in a Catholic school. Non-Catholics will be welcomed to apply.
Students attending Catholic schools (and their parents) will be regularly challenged to follow the example of Jesus Christ and to develop a personal,life-long commitment to Him.
Administrators,school boards,faculty and staff of Catholic schools will be regularly encouraged to deepen their faith commitment,and to live their commitment on a daily basis.
Catholic elementary schools will be an integral part of parish education ministry.
All elementary and secondary schools will strive to develop curriculum based enrichment programs for high achieving students.
Elementary schools located geographically close to each other are strongly encouraged to share resources in math,science and world languages.
ESL programs to serve an increasing immigrant population will be expanded.
Schools will continue to take advantage of funding for updating technology in order to enhance teaching/learning strategies.
There will be an increase in training for teachers in order to integrate technology with curriculum more fully.
Catholic high schools will investigate and implement opportunities to offer advancement/enrichment programs
Catholic schools will use only religion textbooks that are in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
The Office of the Superintendent will create a position,in collaboration with the Archdiocesan Office of Development,that will work with individual schools to expand aggressively their institutional advancement programs.
The Office of the Superintendent will realign and expand its staff so that ample time can be invested with schools to help them become stronger and more self-sufficient.
Selection of new principals will be carefully monitored.
The formation of new Catholic school leaders will be a priority.
Steps will be taken to strengthen the role of the Catholic School leader.
Teacher selection and development will continue to be a high priority of the individual school and the Office of the Superintendent.
All teachers of religion will be practicing Roman Catholics qualified to teach religion.
The Office of the Superintendent will require that all schools have a deferred maintenance plan that is updated each year.
Catholic schools that have less-than-capacity enrollment will develop an aggressive marketing program to bring the school to capacity.
Where possible,pre-kindergarten programs will be researched and opened as part of the elementary school,or in parishes that do not sponsor a school.
Each year,schools will move tuition rates closer to their actual cost-per-pupil,and simultaneously increase scholarship funding.
The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children has been challenged to increase scholarships to $3 million or more within the next three or four years,and to higher levels in future years.
The Archdiocese will investigate the potential of a parish subsidy program in which all parishes support Catholic schools. Elementary and Archdiocesan secondary schools will increase development income substantially.
Schools will develop realistic budgets annually.
The Archdiocesan School Advisory Board will be restructured with more responsibility for developing policy,visioning and strategic planning.
Each Archdiocesan and parish elementary school and high school will be required to have a functioning consultative school board no later than 2008.
The Office of the Superintendent will have appropriate budget and staff to help individual schools achieve the objective of an active consultative school board by 2008.
Local school boards will be consultative and involved in policy development. They may also have a hands-on involvement in fundraising,development,marketing and facility planning. However,local boards do not become involved in areas of day-to-day school affairs,which remain the school administration’s responsibility.
In addition to the current governance models,alternative governance models will be considered when appropriate.
In towns with multiple elementary school sites,schools will collaborate with regard to sharing resources and programs.
The Co-Sponsorship Manual will be rewritten to reflect the experiences of recent years.
The current alignment of schools and parishes in co-sponsorship relationships will be studied to determine if any current alignments should be re-evaluated,with a view toward adding parishes if appropriate.
Parishes that do not have schools and that are located in growth areas will participate in a regional study to assess the need for new schools.
When new parishes are started by the Archdiocese,sites will be acquired with enough acreage to include a school. Alternative Catholic school structures will be studied to determine if there are any areas of the Archdiocese where they may be feasible.
Regional middle schools will be considered when their creation would be advantageous.