BRAINTREE, MA (February 20, 2019): Five aspiring Catholic school leaders in the Archdiocese of Boston are currently enrolled in the inaugural year of Merrimack College’s Catholic School Leadership Graduate Certificate Program. The Catholic Schools Office, through the generosity of the Catholic Schools Foundation, is providing a scholarship to the five teachers to attend the program.
Merrimack’s twelve-credit graduate program is largely conducted online and is taught in three eight-week modules. Students begin by examining the philosophy and history of Catholic education in a module called Fundamentals of a Faith-Based Education. The second module in the program is Technology, Communication, and School Improvement. The program concludes with a module in financial leadership. At the end of the program, students will have learned how to operationalize the Catholic school mission, plan strategically, and maintain a budget to ensure operational vitality.
The participants are completing this course while working full time in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston. Patrick Moran is the English Language Arts and History Teacher for Grades 5-8 and Director of Special Initiatives at Saint Paul Choir School in Cambridge. “I have enjoyed the certificate program tremendously. The most engaging part has been seeing my school from new, invigorating vantage points,” he said.
Moran said, “Being a part of the Merrimack College classes that focus on operationalizing the mission of the school, examining the media landscape that our students are enmeshed in, and constructing financial models for Catholic schools have provided new and thought-provoking ways of being a part of a school that has become so familiar to me. I would absolutely recommend the program to anyone who may be interested in it.”
If you are interested in exploring leadership development for yourself or your staff at a Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Boston, contact Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Mission Effectiveness Dan Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRAINTREE, MA (February 2019): After an extensive review process, six parish elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Boston have been selected as Healey Education Foundation Partners. As Healey Education Foundation Partners, these schools will undergo a governance transformation and they will also receive guidance in all areas of operation, including finances, academics, and value proposition. In addition, the six schools will each hire an advancement director and share one school improvement director. The schools will also have the opportunity to collaborate with all schools in the Healey Education Foundation network.
The Archdiocese of Boston development team is raising more than $600,000 for this initiative to assist the six schools in its partnership with the Healey Education Foundation to strengthen its schools. The Healey Education Foundation, the Catholic Schools Office, and Archdiocesan leadership, have completed three of six phases: kickoff, leadership assessment, and school selection. The remaining three phases are comprehensive assessment, readiness period, and engagement.
The principals and pastors of the six schools recently met to discuss the comprehensive assessment phase and to address questions. The six schools in the cohort are Our Lady of the Assumption School in Lynnfield, Sacred Heart School in Roslindale, Saint Catherine of Genoa School in Somerville, Saint Jerome School in Weymouth, Saint Joseph School in Medford, and Saint Mary of the Assumption School in Brookline.
The comprehensive assessment will examine family experience, student achievement, and fiscal results. The Healey Foundation will also provide a market analysis and review current enrollment management practices, development strategies, and board governance that are currently utilized at the schools.
Prior to selection, the Healey Education Foundation visited 25 interested schools in the Archdiocese. During this visit, they conducted one-on-one interviews with pastors and principals to identify leaders who are ready for change and schools with growth opportunities.
The Healey Education Foundation partners with schools in six (arch)dioceses in the United States and 85% of the schools that have partnered with Healey are still open and operating.
Superintendent Kathy Mears said, “Each school that has been selected has its own strengths and challenges that they’re bringing to the table. The Healey Education Foundation will help school leaders to create a plan to strengthen their schools, and then assist the schools in implementing best practices to help them improve.”
“While this might seem like a big change, the Catholic Schools Office’s relationship with these schools has not altered. We are still providing professional development to the leaders and teachers, these schools are still enrolled in our student assessment program, and we are still providing support as needed. We have always acted in an advisory role to parish schools and that has not changed,” she noted.
Dr. Theresa Kirk, principal of St. Mary of the Assumption School in Brookline, is part of the cohort. She said, “I am excited to partner with the Healey Education Foundation as we extend our vision for St. Mary of the Assumption School and raise it to the next level. We are honored to have been selected for this unique opportunity for our students and families.”
Dan Rocha, vice president of operations at the Healey Education Foundation, spoke at length Wednesday about the schools’ new Boards of Specified Jurisdiction, which will be formed in a measured way after extensive interviews with the respective school communities. This model can be the key to long-term success of the schools.
Rocha said, “If the board is focused on strategic direction and financial management, it frees the principal to be a principal, especially since they will have an additional member of their staff who is concentrating on advancement. And it frees the pastor to actually be a pastor. This model supports the priest in real ways.”
He continued, “The pastor is a voting member of the Board of Specified Jurisdiction, and a member of the corporate board, and he is still in charge of Catholic identity and assets of the school. The schools remain parish schools and the Pastor remains the linchpin between parish and school.”
BRAINTREE, MA (February 8, 2019): Educators from Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston gathered this week at the Pastoral Center for two sessions on fostering a Responsive Classroom. The attendees included lead teachers, guidance counselors, principals, and assistant principals from PreK-Grade 6. Mary Goslin, the director of government programs and events at the Catholic Schools Office, arranged the professional development.
Goslin said, “Responsive Classroom aligns with the mission of Catholic schools by creating a culture where everyone is valued and feels like they are connected. Also important are the social emotional skills developed through uniform practices, common language and strong student support. We are thrilled to see schools embracing this program.”
The four-day workshop, which is provided at no cost to the educators, is funded by the Catholic Schools Office and taught by the Center for Responsive Schools. According to the Center for Responsive Schools, Responsive Classroom is “an evidence-based approach to teaching that focuses on engaging academics, positive community, effective management, and developmental awareness.” Additionally, “Independent research has found that the Responsive Classroom approach is associated with higher academic achievement, improved teacher-student interactions, and higher quality instruction.”
Through instruction, demonstration, small group exercises and more, attendees are learning to incorporate interactive structures and supports that are needed to promote respect, build student relationships, and encourage academic growth. Participants are learning how to respond to behaviors with clear, consistent and logical consequences, to establish a safe learning environment.
Dan Price, associate principal of elementary education at Lowell Catholic in Lowell, attended the session. He said, “The Responsive Classroom training provided us with proven classroom strategies that support students’ emotional, social, and academic development. Both of my teachers in attendance implemented new strategies the following school day, and their students responded joyfully and thoughtfully to these new ways to learn about themselves, others, and academics. I would recommend this training to all teachers and school leaders.”
Principal Maria Giggie of Saint Anthony School in Everett also attended the workshop. She said, “My most important takeaway, thus far, has been how Responsive Classroom connects students’ social/emotional competencies to academic learning. The strategies that have been presented on how to create a positive learning environment and establish effective classroom management skills are essential elements in helping students become active learners.”
Part two of the workshop — days three and four — will take place in March. The workshop, which was fully attended and had a waitlist, is one of many offered by the Catholic Schools Office to further the professional development of Catholic school faculty and staff. If you are interested in learning more about one of the approximately 75 professional development events the CSO is hosting during the remainder of the 2018-2019 school year, contact Becky at email@example.com.
BRAINTREE, MA (January 2019): Nineteen aspiring leaders and four apprentice principals recently gathered to discuss school governance models and to hear from a panel of three experts from Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools. This session began with the aspiring leaders meeting in small groups that changed every 10 minutes and they discussed school governance models, benchmarks, and diversity of stakeholders.
Associate Superintendent of Leadership and Mission Effectiveness Dan Roy organized the event. He said, “This program is one of nine monthly in-person meetings during the school year that is designed to introduce and train aspiring leaders in topics that are essential in the successful administration of a school. Each meeting is complemented by a virtual meeting held beforehand during which participants prepare via assigned readings and discussions with school administration.”
An attendee observed that teachers are fully immersed in their roles as educators, and it was “interesting to consider the role of board members and administrators in their participation of the end game, [to examine] which people and the roles the play to reach the end goal” of a school’s mission and strategic plan.
Director of Data and Research Annie Smith, who co-authored the Catholic Schools Office Board Guide, offered some advice. She said, “I suggest that your school has a small board with 7-10 members, but also has robust committees. Ask a subject matter expert to work on a committee, and then you can transition that person to the board if they have a passion for the role. For example, you could reach out to someone in the finance world to help set tuition. That person could serve as a consultant, or they could ultimately join the board if they are a good fit and are interested in making a larger commitment of time and talent to the school.”
Three members of Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools also acted as panelists for the aspiring leaders: Cathy Cameron, Principal, Quincy Catholic Academy; Father John Currie, Pastor, St. Patrick School, Roxbury; and Bill Burke, Headmaster, St. Sebastian’s School, Needham, and Board Chair, Trinity Catholic Academy.
Cathy Cameron spoke about her career history. She worked in Catholic schools for almost two decades and then moved to a public school. Cathy said, “I worked in a public school and I was making triple the salary. The money was wonderful, but I had gone to Catholic schools my entire life, and I had taught in Catholic schools my entire life. I gave up the money after one year and I went back to a Catholic school. I don’t regret it for a second.”
Father Currie answered a question about the role of a pastor in a Catholic school. He said, “If there isn’t a synergy with the principal, a like-mindedness, a shared belief in mission and openness to one another, and a holding of that relationship in deep trust, a school can quickly be derailed. The pastor and principal must be on the same page, working together.”
Bill Burke is in his 29th year of leading St. Sebastian’s. He fielded a question about maintaining Catholic identity. “If you want your parents to love you, you love their children. You remind the parents that the only reason the school exists is because of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior. Sell the academics and the mission at the same time — our goal is to get their sons to heaven.”
The theme for this year's Catholic Schools Week is "Learn. Serve. Lead. Succeed." Scroll through our gallery to get a small taste of the excitement at Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston this week! In addition, search #RCABSchools on Twitter to see more!
BRAINTREE, MA: Cardinal Seán O’Malley and Superintendent Kathy Mears shared a message via video to Catholic school communities in anticipation of Catholic Schools Week, which is January 27–February 2.
In the video, Cardinal Seán said, “What a wonderful gift Catholic schools are, to our church and to our society. We are so grateful to everyone who is involved in the schools…. Today we want to celebrate with great joy our Catholic schools and encourage everyone to promote Catholic education throughout the Archdiocese.”
Superintendent Kathy Mears said, “We are so grateful to you for entrusting your children to us, and for the teachers who work hard with them every day. And we thank you, because we know that with their catholic education, they will go further with faith.”
There are 112 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston, which educate 34,056 students from more than 190 towns. To learn more about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston, visit www.csoboston.com.
What do you know about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston? Scroll through the photos below for some fast & informative facts!
CAMBRIDGE, MA, JANUARY 22, 2019 – SAINT PAUL’S CHOIR SCHOOL (SPCS) in Harvard Square recently announced two international tours, highlighting the global exposure that is a standard component of an SPCS education.
Following up on their 2018 tour to Montreal, SPCS students this year will share their renowned musical talents with audiences in Mexico City and Shanghai. In addition to performing in majestic venues, the boys will “learn on location” as they visit sites of historic, cultural and religious significance.
“Saint Paul’s Choir School integrates rigorous academic and music programs with life-transforming experiences,” said Dr. Thomas Haferd, Head of School. “These include singing at Fenway Park and performing with professional ensembles such as the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Moreover, the boys regularly go on tour to share their uniquely beautiful music with international audiences, while encountering some of the world’s most magnificent destinations.”
SPCS’s Mexico City tour will take place during Easter Week 2019. The trip will include singing at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the most visited Catholic pilgrimage site in the world. There the choir will see the miraculous image of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which was imprinted on the cloak, or tilma, of St. Juan Diego in the 16th century. The five-day tour will also include singing Mass at local churches with peer boys choirs from Mexico City. While in the area, the boys will take part in a guided visit to the Pyramids of Teotihuacán and receive passes for the trajineras de Xochimilco, the famous canal boats in historic southeastern part of the city.
During their visit to the Shanghai area, the Choristers will attend a choral festival celebrating the life and legacy of a renowned Chinese visual artist. The sponsors, who are covering all costs of the trip, selected Saint Paul’s Choir School as a representative of the kind of historic music tradition that is now being taken up in this part of China. In addition to directing the Choristers, Music Director John Robinson will give a tutorial on developing boys’ voices for choral directors attending the festival. The choir will also sing a Mass in Shanghai.
Singing at Mass is second nature to Saint Paul’s Choir School students, whose voices uplift liturgies at Saint Paul Church five times a week. Their repertoire ranges from Gregorian chant and polyphony through music of the Romantic era and the 20th century. In recent years the Saint Paul’s Choristers have recorded via AimHigher with Decca and Sony Classical, and have performed with the Boston Pops and the Vienna Boys Choir. Soloists from the choir have appeared with the Harvard Glee Club and the Boston Lyric Opera.
All Choristers attend Saint Paul’s Choir School, which combines musical education with a classical academic experience, in the great cathedral school tradition. Founded in 1963, the school provides boys in grades 3-8 a “community of camaraderie and high expectations” where they “build the habits of mind and heart to rise to all of life’s demands and thrive in a world characterized by constant change.” Upon graduation, boys are actively recruited by leading secondary schools.
For more information, visit www.saintpaulschoirschool.us
Dr. Thomas Haferd, Head of School
Saint Paul’s Choir School
29 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Recently North Shore schools in the Archdiocese of Boston gathered in anticipation of Catholic Schools Week, which is January 27–February 2. Each year all North Shore Catholic schools are invited to meet at one school to create a collaborative ½-page advertisement that goes into North Shore newspapers. The ad includes a photo of selected students and the names of all the schools with open house information for Catholic Schools Week and the spring semester.
Principals recruit two students from their school for the photo, and each year the photo is taken in a different parish or school. This year the photo was taken at St. Pius V School in Lynn.
The North Shore schools have done this for approximately 10 years. It began with the North Shore principals in the elementary schools and expanded to include St. Mary's High School in Lynn and Bishop Fenwick High School in Peabody about five years ago.
Since then, Cecile McCarthy, from the advancement office at Bishop Fenwick, and Maureen Kelleher, principal of St. John the Baptist in Peabody, facilitate this joint effort. Maureen Kelleher said, “We feel that our schools are stronger together. Collectively, we are sharing the great news, opportunities and achievements of what Catholic education means to our students. We are able to share that message to a larger audience more effectively with our shared resources.”
She continued, “Many families who visit our school mention that they have seen the ad, which runs in the Lynn Item and the Salem News. We feel it is worth our investment and that it is one of the reasons that families seek out our schools.”
Schools participating in this year’s collaboration are:
Saint Pius V School, Lynn
Saint Mary High School, Lynn
Bishop Fenwick High School, Peabody
Saint John the Baptist School, Peabody
The Saints Academy, Beverly
St. Mary School, Danvers
Our Lady of Assumption School, Lynnfield
Sacred Heart School, Lynn
Immaculate Conception School, Revere
A Lowell Catholic team of 10 students spent 8 days in the Dominican Republic over their holiday break this winter. The annual trip to the Hogar Immanuel Orphanage and Mustard Seed Communities allows students the opportunity to not only practice their world language skills, but to give back to the community through service learning. This year the team set a goal to raise $4,000 in order to cover the expenses of one month of food for all 48 residents at the orphanage. They far surpassed their expected fundraising goals and ended up raising $6,000. With this money, the team was able to stimulate the local economy and buy food and diapers for the residents. After the food and necessities were purchased, the team proceeded to buy three small bikes as an extra treat for the children.
To read more about the Lowell Catholic Dominican Republic Service Trip experience, check out the blog: https://lchsdr2018.blogspot.com/?m=1 If you would like to learn more about Lowell Catholic, contact the Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.