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Jan. 31, 2018

By Sister Ellen Rose Coughlin, SSJ
Superintendent of Schools

It is time to celebrate our Catholic Schools, their mission, distinctive characteristics and notable achievements. Sr. Ellen Rose Donahue

Many of our schools will celebrate Catholic Schools Week the week of January 27th. Others will celebrate in February and some in March. Regardless of the date, schools typically observe the week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members.

Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to the Church, local communities and the nation.

This year’s theme, Catholic Schools: Learn – Serve – Lead –  Succeed, encompasses the core products and values of our Catholic Schools.  We can sing the praises of our schools recognizing that they:
• combine our Catholic faith with academic excellence;
• provide a balanced academic curriculum that integrates faith, culture and life;
• instill in students the values of service to others;
• partner with parents in the faith formation of their children;
• instill respect for the human person and all creation;
• emphasize moral development and self-discipline;
• recognize a person’s eternal destiny;
• prepare students to be productive citizens and future leaders;
• provide a safe and welcoming environment.

Although we can cite the accomplishments of our schools we know that excellent schools are engaged in continuous improvement. Over the next few months our schools will partner with Advanced Ed to implement a rigorous accreditation process that certifies that our schools meet high standards in all aspects of their work.

The Advanced Ed Performance Accreditation offers a balanced approach combining standards for learning, leadership and resources, stakeholder feedback and student performance to measure quality programs, relationships and results.

Advanced Ed is the largest community of education professionals in the world, serving as a trusted partner to more than 32,000 schools and school systems. 

The review process will assist us in examining the extent to which our schools have effective policies, practices, conditions and culture that optimize the success of our students and supports their continuous improvement.
As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week we embark on a journey of accreditation for our school system.  

The Advanced Ed process will assist us in identifying existing strengths as well as areas of improvement.  In addition, it will provide resources and support about all aspects of schooling to successfully guide our efforts to prepare generations of children for their future.

Most importantly the process will assess the program and culture of our schools in terms of their distinctive Catholic mission as described in The National Standards and Benchmarks for Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools.

Saint John Paul II called Catholic schools “a gift to our nation.”  This gift is made possible through the dedication and commitment of many, including Bishop LaValley, our pastors and parishioners, teachers, staff, administrators, education council members, parents and volunteers. 

At this special time of year for our Catholic schools, I extend my gratitude to everyone who makes them successful centers of learning and faith formation.

If you would like to personally experience the unique character of a Catholic school, please call the school principal in your area and arrange a visit. Please pray for our schools. These are challenging times in which to sustain Catholic schools. But, as agents of evangelization and an invaluable “gift to the nation” they are worth our efforts and sacrifices.

Catholic Schools Week

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