Four dimensions to Unleashing Our Catholic Schools
To unleash our Catholic schools, we will first and foremost be proudly Catholic. We are committed to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ in his Catholic Church. We share the Gospel in our schools through the intellectual pursuit of truth—both divinely revealed and known through nature—and by the witness of our lives. We are uncompromisingly faithful to Jesus Christ and his Church, confident that he is the way, the truth and the life.
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit will be academically excellent. We will offer an exceptional education that helps each student identify and foster his or her talents to work in the service of Christ in the modern world. We will rigorously and lovingly prepare disciples to build up the Kingdom of God in this world, and witness to Christ throughout their lives. This entails forming students for both their vocational and professional lives.
Catholic schools will be accessible to all by embracing the rich cultural diversity and traditions of God’s children. Lastly, Catholic schools will become sustainable for the future. Above all, our Catholic schools will be able to provide our families with the blessings of a Catholic education, no matter their economic situation or circumstance.
Our vision was largely informed by the results of the recently completed strategic planning process undertaken by schools across the archdiocese. The formulation of each plan involved soliciting feedback from its parish and school community, faculty, administrators, parents and students. We’re grateful for all those that participated, as it helped to shape our collective vision for our archdiocesan school system. In the following pages, we’ll describe concrete and actionable steps that we’ll take to support each of the four dimensions.
Together, we will help ensure that our Catholic schools are proudly Catholic, academically excellent, accessible to all and sustainable for the future. Together, we will joyfully and effectively unleash our Catholic schools.
Dimension Two: Academically Excellent
Academic Programming and Configuration
- As part of the on-going school strategic planning process, provide resources and guidance to help interested schools identify and plan for these opportunities (e.g. classical education, dual language emersion, STEM). Such changes will assist schools in becoming uniquely and individually excellent, all the while driving enrollment across the school system.
- Partnering with the University of Notre Dame, the Office of Catholic Schools will help schools with planning and implementation of nationally-acclaimed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs at select schools starting the 2019-2020 academic year.
- Engage the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education to help to plan and implement classical models within select grade schools, with planning starting in the 2018-2019 academic year. Classical schools will help to promote the Aristotelian and Catholic traditions of truth, beauty, and goodness in our Catholic schools.
Academic Performance and Monitoring
- Create and implement a new archdiocesan curriculum and standards process to encourage academic rigor and relevance starting the 2019-2020 academic year. This will include ensuring there is an authentically Catholic worldview that permeates the curriculum. This will particularly assist students in seeing the harmony between faith and reason, and the harmony between rigorous scientific pursuit and faithful obedience to Christ.
- Starting the 2018-2019 academic year, the Office of Catholic Schools will begin a process to investigate, pilot and implement a computer adaptive assessment platform to effectively gauge student academic achievement and growth so that teachers may provide more impactful and specifically tailored instruction.
- A newly created Instructional Leadership Institute (ILI) will begin during the 2019-2020 academic year to provide a forum for midlevel and seasoned educators to gather together and dialogue about current issues in the fields of leadership, curriculum and instruction, as well as provide each participant with current and relevant practices and tools. The goal is to strengthen their confidence, efficacy and competence for the important work they do in their schools.
- The Office of Catholic Schools will work with schools to produce meaningful school-level performance and comparison metrics, culminating in annual State of the School presentations at the local level, so they may be shared with their stakeholders (commencing 2019-2020).
Dimension Four: Sustainable for the Future
Comprehensive School Financial Modeling and Planning
- Starting immediately, we will begin development of a sustainable system-wide school finance model that promotes Catholic school affordability and accessibility for any family who desires it for their children, no matter their economic situation or circumstance. The creation of the model will be guided by a strategic and collaborative effort with pastors, principals, philanthropists, alumni and archdiocesan faithful. These important constituents will help ensure the effectiveness of a systematic solution to truly make a Catholic education affordable, with the first fruits to be seen during 2020-2021 academic year.
Model Uniform School Budgeting
- The Efficient School Model will be developed by the Office of Catholics Schools, Office of Finance and Administration, and school stakeholders. The tool will provide financial guidance and help to promote long term sustainability for schools as they formulate their budgets starting with the 2019-2020 academic year.
Highly Effective and Innovative Forms of School Governance
- The Office of Catholic Schools will explore and assist with implementation of highly effective alternative school governance models for parish-based and regional grade schools (commencing the 2019-2020 school year).
- Design and implement fiduciary boards to govern Archdiocesan free-standing high schools and regional elementary schools for implementation during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Centralized Marketing and Development Efforts
- The Offices of Catholic Schools and Development will create an annual school system development plan that identifies continual funding sources of income and engagement with benefactors through events, grants, endowments, alumni support, and regular appeals for the 2019-2020 academic year.
- The Offices of Catholic Schools and Communications will develop an archdiocesan marketing communications strategy to help promote the life-changing benefits of a Catholic school education, including the launch of a new website with compelling resources for prospective and current parents for the 2019-2020 academic year.