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Archdiocese unveils its new “unified vision” for Catholic schools

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August 14, 2012

By Natalie Corzine Moore

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati unveiled a new strategic plan today that promises to help local Catholic schools with their current economic and demographic challenges.

 

The announcement was made at a press conference attended by Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr, Bishop Joseph R. Binzer and Dr. James Rigg, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the archdiocese.

 

Archbishop Schnurr announced the development of the plan as an involved, two-year process, resulting in a “vision for the future” for the schools involving growth and expansion. Archbishop Schnurr said Catholic schools are a priority to the archdiocese as they are “central to the evangelization and catechetical education” efforts of the archdiocese.

 

Rigg outlined the strategic plan, called “Lighting the Way,” noting its metric standards center around three core principles: Catholic identity, academic excellence and finance.  He called the plan a “road map to a vibrant future” and noted the Catholic faith would be the central focus of every subject and program in the schools. He said Catholic identity is a “top priority” in this plan and is the “soul of our schools.”

 

The new plan calls for renewal of evangelization in the schools. Catholic identity and teaching students to be “model citizens” through service are two areas of focus in the plan. Curriculum standards would be established to help schools achieve academic excellence.  The plan also points out the need to serve all types of learners within the Catholic school system.

 

Recruitment of new students and school marketing will take priority under this news development as well as fostering a culture of professional standards and development for all Catholic educators and principals within the archdiocese.

 

Also announced was a new, needs-based tuition assistance fund. This fund would complement the Catholic Inner-City Schools CISE but be available for the entire archdiocese. The archdiocese has started a 501c3 organization to house the fund and has earmarked $3.5 million as seed money. They have met with members of the Hubert Family Foundation to partner with for matching funds.

 

 

Also, the archdiocese will collect enrollment and demographic data from all schools to help monitor their finances for compliance with the plan. Any schools struggling to meet the financial metric of the plan will receive guidance from the schools office. This plan helps develop a “clear, systematic process with the school’s input” when it comes to making tough decisions about the financial health of a school. Rigg noted that consolidations and closures are an “last resort” and that the archdiocese wants to avoid the loss of any school. But he noted there is a wider perspective to quality, affordable education to all who seek it and this plan contains a “new, streamlined process to move vulnerable schools forward and to avoid closures or consolidations.”

 

Rigg commented that the goal of this plan is to help continue the schools’ “well deserved reputation” for academic excellence and to keep the schools “available, accessible and affordable” for all students seeking a Catholic education.

 

To read the outline and the entire plan, visit: http://www.catholiccincinnati.org/education/lighting_the_way/our-vision/

 

There are three  public presentations scheduled to outline the plan and to invite public comment:

 

• August 15: McAuley High School— 6 to 7 p.m.

• August 16: Carroll High School — 6 to 7 p.m.

• August 22: Lehman Catholic High School — 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

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