Catholic Schools Planning Core Teams Print
Our Catholic Schools
Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2009 -- 4:13 PM
Our Catholic Schools by Michael Lancaster

Nearly 100 people from across the diocese gathered on January 7 to carry forward the work of Catholic Schools Planning as members of one of the four Core Teams.

The evening opened with introductions, prayer, a brief background of the project, and an explanation of the process. In a letter of welcome to all of those gathered, Bishop Morlino conveyed his "deep gratitude and constant support" for the work of the Core Teams saying, "What a true blessing that so many of you have gathered to offer your time and talent as we plan for the future of our Catholic schools."

After the welcome and orientation, the large group split into the four Core Teams. Each Core Team will address one of the four areas of Catholic Schools Planning: Catholic Leadership, Academic Curriculum, Enrollment Management, and Fiscal Stewardship.

Each team consists of approximately 20 to 40 people who hail from all areas of the diocese and represent a wide range of background and experience. In addition to Catholic school teachers, parents, priests, and principals, the teams consist of: public school teachers and principals, members of higher education, business and banking communities, and retired teachers and administrators. Some people aren't connected with Catholic schools currently, but they value the Catholic school education they received and want to ensure that future generations have the same opportunity.

As they began their work, each team defined their task and then began analyzing the input received at the regional sessions as well as data provided by the Office of Catholic Schools.

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. Over the course of the next four months the Core Teams will be gathering a great deal of data and analyzing the current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing our Catholic schools.

A critical piece of data will be the results of the diocesan-wide Catholic schools satisfaction survey in late January and early February. All people throughout the diocese will be invited to complete a short, five-minute 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. It will provide a great deal of important information for the Core Teams as we continue planning.

If you would like to be involved in this work, consider joining one of the four Task Forces that will convene in the spring. These groups will review the work done by the Core Teams and then brainstorm solutions that will strengthen our Catholic schools throughout the diocese.

If you have questions regarding Catholic Schools Planning or would like to learn more, visit www.madisondiocese.org and choose "Catholic Schools Planning" from the "Schools" drop-down menu or call the Office of Catholic Schools at 608-821-3180.

We need you and your opinions if we are to create a plan to ensure strong, vibrant, viable Catholic schools that are true to the mission of the Church, academically excellent in all regards, and that will endure for generations to come.

As always, thank you for reading and may God bless your families abundantly.

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