Cincy Magazine, a business magazine in the Cincinnati area, recently put out its inaugural list of outstanding educators. Of the 25 teachers honored in the story, 15 were from Catholic schools. As we begin the 2011-2012 school year, it is important to remember that quality learning begins with a strong teacher. Technology and textbooks are important to the learning process, but nothing can replace an engaging and effective instructor.
Last Monday, I had the opportunity to participate in a unique and illuminating event. On Monday, August 8th, the Catholic Schools Office hosted the first-ever Archdiocesan University Summit for Catholic Schools. Leaders of the five Catholic colleges in the Archdiocese congregated at Xavier University to discuss how our institutes of higher education can better support our Catholic schools.
The first days of August are already upon us, and we will soon welcome the start of the 2011-2012 school year. In some schools, teachers are already in classrooms preparing their courses and attending in-service meetings. School offices are already buzzing with phone calls and photocopies. Students will be back in some schools as early as next week. In short, the school year is set to begin.
The first round of Visioning Sessions for Catholic schools is now complete, and I am pleased to offer some general feedback on what we heard during these events. To recap, we held a series of seven Visioning Sessions in May and June. These sessions were part of our wider efforts to define a new vision for Catholic school education in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The purpose of these sessions was to hear directly from the people of the Archdiocese; as we build this vision, it is vital that our plan reflect the needs and insights of all who care about our schools.
Dear Catholic High School Graduates of the Class of 2011,
School has been dismissed for the summer at most Catholic schools, and the 2010-2011 school year is officially coming to a close. As I reflect upon this school year, I am astounded at the relentless presence of support and energy surrounding our Catholic schools. We truly benefit from the many supporters who constantly rally around our schools!
We have accomplished much in the 2010-2011 school year. I would like to recap some important and amazing milestones from the last nine months. Although we cannot mention every significant achievement, I’d still like to mention the following:
I would like to extend an invitation to all people who care about our Catholic schools to attend one of the upcoming Visioning Sessions. These sessions are open to the general public, although you must RSVP to attend. For more information, see the announcement below. I hope you will be able to attend a session and join in the conversation about our schools!
In my last blog, I discussed the various conditions that affect whether a school can stay viable, or needs to consider closure or consolidation. I know that many people are rightly focused on the danger of closing and consolidating Catholic schools. However, as we study the future of our schools in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, it is also vital that we examine the possibility of new schools in emerging areas of growth.
Our process to create a Vision for Catholic schools is proceeding very well. During the first week of May, we began a series of “Visioning Sessions” to engage with various stakeholders in our schools. On Tuesday, May 3rd, I had the profound opportunity to listen to over 200 pastors, principals, and presidents discuss the future and welfare of our Catholic schools. A similar session with over 50 participants took place in Dayton on May 4th. On Tuesday of last week, over 300 school and parish leaders gathered at Elder to discuss our schools.
I cannot believe that the 2010-2011 school year will soon be coming to a close. My time has truly passed swiftly since I first arrived in the Archdiocese last July. I continue to be amazed at the strength and great diversity of our Catholic schools. I also continue to learn about how the Catholic Schools Office can best support our schools. We have been fortunate to have some wonderfully dedicated and intelligent people in the Catholic Schools Office.