Steps forward in Roadmap for Excellence point to promising future

| August 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

A Roadmap for Excellence in Catholic Education by the archdiocese’s Office for the Mission of Catholic Education will help guide Catholic schools for the next three to five years. In this file photo, second-graders at St. Jerome School in Maplewood study U.S. geography during class Sept. 6, 2018. DAVE HRBACEK / THE CATHOLIC SPIRIT

As students prepare for another school year, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis’ Office for the Mission of Catholic Education is placing concrete steps along what it calls a Roadmap for Excellence in Catholic Education.

Announced in January after 18 months of work and preparation, the Roadmap is helping chart a course in five areas of strategic importance for Catholic schools: Talent management, particularly leadership development; curriculum and assessments; access and sustainability; mission schools: and governance.

Five teams, one for each area, have identified best practices and created recommendations that have been presented to Archbishop Bernard Hebda and Auxiliary Bishop Andrew Cozzens, the archdiocese’s Vicar for Catholic Education, said Emily Dahdah, associate director of the education office. Now, stakeholders including the Presbyteral Council and a working group of Catholic school leaders are being consulted about setting priorities and implementation over the next three to five years. The archbishop and Bishop Cozzens will set the agenda, Dahdah said.

Additional action also has been taken, she said, particularly in the area of talent and leadership development.

The Institute for Catholic School Leadership, which offers a 14-month, graduate-level Certificate in Catholic School Leadership to principals and aspiring principals, was launched the same month the Roadmap was announced.

A joint venture of the archdiocese’s education office and The St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity in St. Paul, the institute this summer began teaching its first class of 20 at the seminary. That first cohort will receive mentoring at their schools this school year and complete online courses. They will return to the seminary next summer for a second, month-long summer program, even as another 20-member class begins the cycle anew.

In addition, a Catholic school leader orientation for new principals was held Aug. 5 at the Archdiocesan Catholic Center in St. Paul. Nonprofit partners in education including the Aim Higher Foundation, Catholic Schools Center of Excellence, the Catholic Community Foundation, Catholic Finance Corp. and GHR Foundation addressed the group, as well Jason Slattery, director of the education office, and Bishop Cozzens, who also presided at a Mass.

Other important areas of talent management being fleshed out include providing training and support for pastors who help oversee schools, and identifying the best ways to recruit, interview and hire strong leaders for the Catholic school system, Dahdah said.

Proposals in other areas:

  • Curriculum and assessment team members developing a framework for the archdiocese to define and track excellence in Catholic elementary schools, including strong academics and formation in moral virtues and spiritual lives centered on Christ. Recommendations include developing actionable data to assess and promote excellence.
  • Access and sustainability efforts focus on providing a common model for school and parish financial vitality; developing a handbook of questions and issues to consider when setting tuition costs; and implementing new strategies for school funding in areas of high need for tuition assistance.
  • Mission schools of the archdiocese, which are in areas of higher poverty where parents need particular assistance meeting tuition and other costs, should have common criteria and metrics so their needs can be readily understood by stakeholders and major donors; a system should be developed for recognizing when schools rotate on and off mission school status; centralized management of mission schools should be explored.
  • Governance goals include adopting a common and unified approach to the organization of parish, regional and private Catholic schools and strengthening the role of the Office for the Mission of Catholic Education.

Seventeen schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis will have new leaders this school year — 16 principals and one interim headmaster.

Mary Yamoah, Carondelet Catholic, Minneapolis
Kate Hamill, Mary, Queen of Peace Catholic, Rogers
Ryan Pajak, Nativity of Mary, Bloomington
Joelynn Lahr, Risen Christ Catholic, Minneapolis
Anne Lewis, St. Anne’s School, Le Sueur
Sister Maria Ivana, St. Croix Catholic, Stillwater
Ellen Rian, St. Helena Catholic, Minnepolis
David Sorkin, St. Hubert Catholic, Chanhassen
Angela Wroblewski, St. John the Baptist Catholic Montessori, Excelsior
Dawn Biren, St. John the Baptist Catholic School, Vermillion
Cheryl Avina, St. Raphael Catholic, Crystal
Adam Groebner, St. Therese Catholic, Deephaven
Julie Shelby, St. Timothy’s School, Maple Lake
Mindy Reeder, St. Michael Catholic, Prior Lake
Maggie Dawson, St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, Brooklyn Park
Christa Dohmen, The Way of the Shepherd Catholic Montessori, Blaine

Interim headmaster:
Rear Adm. John Crowley Jr., St. Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights.

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Category: Back to School, Featured