Catholic Schools planning - Emerging themes Print
Our Catholic Schools
Thursday, Jan. 08, 2009 -- 1:00 AM
Our Catholic Schools by Michael Lancaster

The Steering Committee for Catholic Schools Planning met in early December and is moving forward with plans for two major events in January. The first of these is the gathering of the Core Teams. The Core Teams represent a major extension of the planning process. Over 100 people from across the diocese will serve on four Core Teams, one for each area of planning: Catholic Leadership; Academic Curriculum; Enrollment Management; and Fiscal Stewardship.

Mission Statement

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Madison cultivate a love for Christ and His Church by inviting students, and the entire school community, to meet and know Jesus and embrace a loving God. Catholic schools seek to assist parents with excellent moral and academic formation of their children, developing the talents of all students and fostering a commitment to service, justice, and the sanctity of human life.


The Core Teams will work closely to analyze data within each planning area to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges facing all parishes and schools in providing Catholic school education. Core Teams will work with parishes and cluster implementation teams across the diocese in this effort and will incorporate the work of Trusting in the Spirit into the planning process.

Notable themes

In preparation for working with the Core Teams, the members of the Catholic Schools Planning Steering Committee are currently analyzing feedback from the November regional gatherings. Some of the notable themes that surfaced during these meetings were:

  • The importance of being truly Catholic in both word and deed
  • Integrating the Catholic faith throughout the curriculum, in every subject
  • The need for pastors to more actively promote Catholic schools
  • The need for solid funding structures that decrease the amount of financial support that parishes with schools provide to the school
  • The need for better monetary compensation and benefits for teachers and staff
  • The need for school curriculum to be rigorous and, in all cases, to exceed the quality of the public schools
  • The increasing need to keep pace with integrating new technology in the classroom
Diocesan-wide survey

All of these issues, and more, will be addressed by the Core Teams in the coming months. Most people however, will have their first opportunity to provide input on these issues by participating in a diocesan-wide survey in January.

All people throughout the diocese will be asked to complete a short survey regarding their satisfaction with diocesan Catholic schools. This survey will be open to all people in the diocese and seeks to gain the participation of all parishioners, whether or not they have children in Catholic schools. This is a great opportunity for everyone to get involved and let us know what you think about Catholic schools.

Of course, if you have more to say than can be captured by the survey, you might consider participating as a member of one of the four Task Forces that will convene later in spring 2009. These groups will consider the challenges faced by our schools and brainstorm solutions and create the initial draft of a strategic plan for Catholic schools in the diocese.

Watch the Catholic Herald and your parish bulletin in January 2009 for more information about the diocesan-wide survey and how you can participate. We need you and your opinions and input to help us ensure that we have the best Catholic schools possible.

For more information about the entire planning process, visit: and click on "Catholic Schools Planning" from the "Schools" drop down menu.

As always, thank you for reading and may God bless your families abundantly during the new year.

Michael Lancaster is the superintendent of Catholic schools for the Diocese of Madison.