Unleashing Our Catholic Schools

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DE AR FRIENDS O F CATHOLIC S C H O O L S , As boldly called for in Unleash the Gospel, the Office of Catholic Schools and the Catholic Schools Council have embarked on a journey to renew and reinvent our Catholic schools. For centuries, Catholic schools have prepared boys and girls to become men and women of virtue; to fully become the person God created them to be; and to joyfully embrace their vocations, becoming servant leaders in this world and saints in the life to come. God calls our children to become joyful missionary disciples of Jesus Christ, and our schools to equip them for their sacred missions. This new vision for our Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit is the next step of the Unleash the Gospel movement. Our vision is to radically overhaul our schools through a renewal of structures and methods, focusing on the spiritual and academic formation of God’s children—our children. As confirmed by the Holy Spirit in the

archdiocese’s Synod 16, our Catholic schools and students are the responsibility of everyone: bishops, priests, parishes, educators, parents and all the lay faithful. This conviction is a foundational principle for the renewal of this ministry. Our work is modeled on and guided by Jesus Christ, the master teacher. A Catholic school’s mission is to foster holiness and to serve as a center of evangelization and discipleship. Our Catholic school communities play an integral role in unleashing

the Gospel in southeast Michigan and beyond. As directed by the people of the archdiocese through the Synod, our vision reflects the following important charges:


■■ To make Catholic schools the responsibility of all parishes and all Christ’s faithful.

This conviction needs to be a foundational principle for the renewal of this ministry. ■■ To ensure that any Catholic family in the Archdiocese of Detroit that seeks an

excellent Catholic education for their children can have one. ■■ To ensure that school leaders have evangelization and discipleship as their highest

priority as together we will re-envision the mission, funding and governance of Catholic schools. Jesus told his disciples, “knock and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). With the process of crafting this vision, we have prayerfully knocked, and we trust that Christ will open the door to an exciting future for our Catholic schools. We know in faith that as Jesus has promised us in John 15, when we abide and remain in him we will bear much fruit, and apart from him we can do nothing. Together as an archdiocese, we invite you to work with us to unleash our Catholic schools. Sincerely yours in Christ, The Most Reverend Allen Vigneron, Ph.D.

Kevin Kijewski, J.D.

Archbishop of Detroit

Superintendent of Catholic Schools

The Reverend Stephen Pullis, S.T.L.

Kathleen McCann

Director of Evangelization,

Chair, Catholic Schools Council

Catechesis and Schools


F OUR DIM EN S IO NS TO UN L EASHING O UR CATHOLIC S C H O O L S To unleash our Catholic schools, we will first and foremost be proudly Catholic. We are committed to our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ in his Catholic Church. We share the Gospel in our schools through the intellectual pursuit of truth—both divinely revealed and known through nature—and by the witness of our lives. We are uncompromisingly faithful to Jesus Christ and his Church, confident that he is the way, the truth and the life. Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit will be academically excellent. We will offer an exceptional education that helps each student identify and foster his or her talents to work in the service of Christ in the modern world. We will rigorously and lovingly prepare disciples to build up the Kingdom of God in this world, and witness to Christ throughout their lives. This entails forming students for both their vocational and professional lives. Catholic schools will be accessible to all by embracing the rich cultural diversity and traditions of God’s children. Lastly, Catholic schools will become sustainable for the future. Above all, our Catholic schools will be able to provide our families with the blessings of a Catholic education, no matter their economic situation or circumstance. Our vision was largely informed by the results of the recently completed strategic planning process undertaken by schools across the archdiocese. The formulation of each plan involved soliciting feedback from its parish and school community, faculty, administrators, parents and students. We’re grateful for all those that participated, as it helped to shape our collective vision for our archdiocesan school system. In the following pages, we’ll describe concrete and actionable steps that we’ll take to support each of the four dimensions. Together, we will help ensure that our Catholic schools are proudly Catholic, academically excellent, accessible to all and sustainable for the future. Together, we will joyfully and effectively unleash our Catholic schools.



Catholic schools will be able to provide our families the blessings of a Catholic education, no matter their economic situation or circumstance. UNLEASHING OUR CATHOLIC SCHOOLS | 5


Proudly Catholic

Our schools must be training grounds for future saints. ARCHBISHOP VIGNERON

CAT H O L I C SC HOOLS T HAT AR E P R O UD LY CATHO L IC FOR M T H E FU TU R E OF O U R CH U RC H ■■ Millennial Catholics who attended Catholic schools are SEVEN

TIMES more likely to attend weekly Mass than millennial adults who attended public schools (Gray, 2014). ■■ In 2015, some 51% of those ordained to the priesthood attended Catholic

grade school and 43% attended a Catholic high school (Ference, 2015). ■■ Men who have attended a Catholic secondary school are more than SIX

TIMES as likely to consider a vocation (NRVC, 2013). ■■ Women who have attended a Catholic primary school are three times as

likely to consider being a religious sister (NRVC, 2013). ■■ Catholic school students are more likely to pray daily, attend church more

often, retain a Catholic identity as an adult, and are faithful stewards (Sander, 2001).

Ference, Fr. Damian. “What the CARA Report Tells Us About Our Newest Priests.” Word on Fire Blog. Word on Fire. 13 April, 2015. Http://www.wordonfire.org/resources/blog/what-the-cara-report-tells-us-about-our-newest-priests/4724. Gray, Mark M. “Do Catholic Schools Matter?” 1964 Blog. Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate - Georgetown University (CARA). 13 June 2014. Http://nineteensixty-four.blogspot.com/2014/06/do-catholic-schools-matter.html. National Religious Vocations Conference (NRVC). “Vocations to Religious Life Fact Sheet.” Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA). February 2013. Http://cara.georgetown.edu/CARAResearch/Vocation_Fact_Sheet.pdf Sander, William. “The Effects of Catholic Schools on Religiosity, Education, and Competition.” Http://www.ncspe.org/ publications_files/727_OP32.pdf.


Proudly Catholic Offer and Encourage Participation in the Sacramental Nature of the Church ■■ All Catholic schools will offer weekly Mass opportunities and greater access to the

sacraments, which will assist students and their families deepen their relationship with Jesus Christ (starting in the 2019-2020 academic year). ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools, informed by guidance from the Offices of

Catechesis and Evangelization, will provide ongoing faith formation for parents and students commencing in the 2019-2020 academic year. ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools, partnering with the Office of Vocations and the

Serra Club, will implement new programs to promote awareness and discernment of each student’s vocational call to priestly, religious, married and single life starting in the 2018-2019 academic year.

Acquire, Develop, and Retain Talented Catholic Professionals in Our Schools ■■ During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Offices of Catholic Schools and Human

Resources will develop and deploy a toolkit for schools to effectively hire faculty

who have a heart for spreading the joy of discipleship in Jesus Christ, helping young people grow in their talents and abilities to put themselves at the service of the Gospel. The role of educators is modeled on the role of Christ Himself. ■■ The Offices of Catholic Schools and Human Resources will develop and promote

a new principal recruitment and hiring toolkit to attract mission driven leaders for our schools (effective the 2019-2020 academic year). ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will develop and publish highly qualified

principal standards and a corresponding coaching tool, to assist pastors and other school decision makers, so that they may retain and develop joyful missionary leaders for our schools starting in the 2018-2019 academic year. ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will develop and publish highly qualified teacher

standards and coaching tools to assist principals and other decision makers to retain and develop joyful missionary teachers for our schools during the 2019-2020 academic year.


Equipping for Service of the Gospel ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will develop and provide principal, teacher and staff

formation and retreat opportunities regarding how they may effectively form students into missionary disciples. This will commence during the 2019-2020 academic year. ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will develop and implement a newly-created Principal

Formation Institute (PFI) to offer Catholic educational leadership programs for aspiring principals during the 2018-2019 academic year. ■■ The Office of Catholic schools will formulate and train school principal leadership teams

to begin operation during the 2019-2020 academic year. While the principal sets the vision, the leadership team helps to set the course and coordinate faculty work to reach the goal. Highly effective principals distribute leadership to get constituent voices at the table when planning where to focus efforts and when assessing progress toward goals.

Mentoring and Onboarding Programs ■■ During the 2019-2020 academic year, the Office of Catholic Schools will offer a

newly-designed teacher induction and mentor program. The program will focus on training Catholic school teachers as ministers, deepen their understanding of Catholic Church teaching, and inspire them in their calling to Catholic education., ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools, in conjunction with the Vicar for Clergy, will create

training and mentorship for newly-appointed pastors to foster best practices and collaboration among those engaged in this vital ministry during the 2019-2020 academic year. ■■ New principals will be invited to participate in a redesigned annual mentoring

program to ensure successful onboarding and accelerated skill acquisition during the 2019-2020 academic year.



Academically Excellent

I want and desire our Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit to be among the very best in the country. ARCHBISHOP VIGNERON

CAT H O L I C SC HOOLS T HAT A R E ACA D E MI CAL LY E XC ELLE N T PROD U C E S U CCE SS FU L OU TCOMES ■■ Catholic schools have a lower dropout rate (3.4%) than both

public (14.4%) and other private schools (11.9%) (USCCB, 2005). ■■ 99% of students who attend Catholic high schools graduate. Of those,

86% attend 4-year colleges (Grogger and Neal, 2001). ■■ The student/teacher ratio in Catholic schools is better than public schools.

(Grogger and Neal, 2001).. ■■ Students in Catholic and other private schools demonstrate higher academic

achievement than students from similar backgrounds in public schools (Coleman and Hoffer, 1987). ■■ The Catholic high schools within the Archdiocese of Detroit have a 99%

graduation rate. ■■ The vast majority of Catholic high school graduates within the Archdiocese of

Detroit went on to enroll at 4-year colleges.

Coleman, James S. and Hoffer, Thomas. Public and Private High Schools: The Impact of Communities. New York: Basic Books, 1987. Grogger, J. & Neal, D.A. “Further Evidence on the Effects of Catholic Secondary Schooling.” Bookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs, 2001. Https://muse.jhu.edu. “Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium.” USCCB, 2005. Http://USCCB.org/ beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/upload/renewing-our-commitment-2005.pdf.


Academically Excellent Academic Programming and Configuration ■■ As part of the on-going school strategic planning process, provide resources

and guidance to help interested schools identify and plan for these opportunities (e.g. classical education, dual-language emersion, STEM). Such changes will assist schools in becoming uniquely and individually excellent, all while driving enrollment across the school system. ■■ Partnering with the University of Notre Dame, the Office of Catholic

Schools will help schools with planning and implementation of

nationally-acclaimed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs at select schools starting during the 2019-2020 academic year. ■■ Engage the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education to help plan and

implement classical models within select grade schools, with planning starting in the 2018-2019 academic year. Classical schools will help to promote the Aristotelian and Catholic traditions of truth, beauty, and goodness in our Catholic schools.


Academic Performance and Monitoring ■■ Create and implement a new archdiocesan curriculum and standards

process to encourage academic rigor and relevance starting in the 20192020 academic year. This will include ensuring there is an authentically Catholic worldview that permeates the curriculum. This will particularly

assist students in seeing the harmony between faith and reason, and the harmony between rigorous scientific pursuit and faithful obedience to Christ. ■■ Starting in the 2018-2019 academic year, the Office of Catholic Schools will

begin a process to investigate, pilot and implement a computer adaptive

assessment platform to effectively gauge student academic achievement and growth so that teachers may provide more impactful and specifically tailored instruction. ■■ A newly created Instructional Leadership Institute (ILI) will begin during

the 2019-2020 academic year to provide a forum for midlevel and seasoned educators to gather together and dialogue about current issues in the fields of leadership, curriculum and instruction, as well as provide each participant with current and relevant practices and tools. The goal is to strengthen their confidence, efficacy and competence for the important work they do in their schools. ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will work with schools to produce

meaningful school-level performance and comparison metrics, culminating in annual State of the School presentations at the local level, so they may be shared with their stakeholders (commencing 2019-2020).



Accessible to All

We want our schools to be places where people feel welcome, where the love of Christ is extended to as many people as possible, and where we evangelize. ARCHBISHOP VIGNERON

W E M U ST STRI V E TO HAVE CAT H O L I C SC HOOLS T HAT AR E ACC ESSI BLE TO AL L ■■ In Catholic schools, the student achievement gap is smaller

than in public schools (Jeynes, 2007). ■■ Students with multiple disadvantages benefit most from Catholic

schools (Neal, by Notre Dame). ■■ An African-American or Latino child is 42% more likely to graduate from

high school and 2.4 times more likely to graduate from college if he or she attends a Catholic school (Neal, quoted by Notre Dame). ■■ Urban Catholic school parents report taking an active role in their

children’s education, and they believe that participating in the Catholic school community represents an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty (Stewart 2009, quoted by Notre Dame). ■■ Latino Catholic school parents believe their children are more motivated,

more focused, and working harder since enrolling them in a Catholic school (Stewart 2009, quoted by Notre Dame).

Neal, Derek A., “Measuring Catholic School Performance.” Public Interest, 1997, (127). Notre Dame ACE Program. “Renewing Our Greatest and Best Inheritance”. University of Notre Dame, 2013. htttt ps:// ace.nd.edu/catholic-school-advantage/renewing-our-greatest-and-best-inheritance. Stewart, Thomas, Wolf, Patrick, et al., “Family Reflfl ectiti ons on the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarship Program.” University of Arkansas, 2009.



Accessible to All School Level Enrollment and Retention Planning ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will oversee training and accompany schools to

complete a comprehensive enrollment management plan to be implemented and monitored, along with school specific recruitment and retention tracking tools designed to ensure best practices to optimize enrollment (2018-2019 academic year). ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will explore opportunities to collaborate with and

serve the Catholic homeschooling community. ■■ Collaborate with Directors of Religious Education to develop an approach to promote

Catholic schools among public school families so that they may realize the benefits of a Catholic education and decide to enroll (2019-2020 academic year). ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will develop and implement a plan to serve children

with exceptionalities and special education needs (2019-2020 academic year).

Building Cultural Competency ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will provide cultural competency certification for

Catholic school staff to identify and remove barriers that potentially divide us from the faithful whom we desire to serve (2019-2020 academic year). ■■ In response to national data suggesting Latinos are both the fastest-growing

segment of the U.S. Catholic Church and the most underserved by Catholic schools, the Office of Catholic Schools will commence an on-going partnership

with the University of Notre Dame Latino Enrollment Institute so our schools may better attract and serve Latino families.



Sustainable for the Future

Our schools need our commitment, our investment, and our resolve if they are to become the instruments of the New Evangelization that Christ wants them to be. ARCHBISHOP VIGNERON

W E M U ST E NSU R E T HAT CATHOLI C S CH OOLS A R E S U STA I N A BLE F OR T HE F U T U RE ■■ Catholic schools tend to operate as communities rather

than bureaucracies, which links to higher levels of teacher commitment, student engagement, and student achievement (Marks, 2009, quoted by USCCB 2014). ■■ Graduates of Catholic high schools are more likely to vote (Dee, 2015). ■■ Graduates of Catholic high schools earn 14% more than their

public or private school counterparts (Wile, 2012). ■■ Catholic schools tend to produce graduates who are more civically engaged, more

tolerant of diverse views, and more committed to service as adults (Campbell, 2001; Wolf, et al 2001, quoted by Notre Dame). ■■ When a Catholic school closes, neighborhood disorder increases (Bring and Garnet, 2009). ■■ Catholic schools provide over $24 billion a year in savings for the nation (NCEA).

Brinig, Margaret F. And Garnett, Nicole Stelle. Lost Classroom, Lost Community. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014. Dee, Thomas S. “The Effects of Catholic Schooling on Civic Participation.” International Tax Public Finance, 2005. Marks, Gary N. “Accounting for School-Sector Differences in University Entrance Performance.” Australian Journal of Education, 53, 19-38. National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). “Schools and Tuition.” NCEA. Http://www.ncea.org/NCEA/Proclaim/Catholic_School_Data/ Schools-and-Tuition/NCEA/Proclaim/Catholic_School_Data/Schools_and_Tuition.aspx?hkey=e8a681a5-8d00-4de7c-6be68c1. Notre Dame ACE Program. “Catholic School Advantage Fact Sheet.” University of Notre Dame. Https://ace.nd.edu/catholic-school-advantage/ catholic-school-advantage-fact-sheet/roman_curia/congregations/cathedral/documents/rc_con_ccatheduc_doc19770319_catholic-school_ en.html. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). “Catholic Schools Fact Sheet.” USCCB, 2014. Http://www.usccb.org/about/mediarelations/backgrounder/catholic-education.cfm. Wile, Rob. “Catholic High School Graduates Make Way More Money Than Everyone Else.” Business Insider. 23 October 2012.www.businessinsider. com/catholic-high-school-graduate-earnings-2012-10


Sustainable for the Future Comprehensive School Financial Modeling and Planning ■■ Starting immediately, we will begin development of a sustainable system-

wide school finance model that promotes Catholic school affordability and accessibility for any family who desires it for their children, no matter their economic situation or circumstance. The creation of the model will be guided by a strategic and collaborative effort with pastors, principals, philanthropists, alumni and archdiocesan faithful. These important constituents will help ensure the effectiveness of a systematic solution to truly make a Catholic education affordable, with the first fruits to be seen during 2020-2021 academic year.

Model Uniform School Budgeting ■■ The Efficient School Model will be developed by the Office of Catholics Schools,

Office of Finance and Administration, and school stakeholders. The tool will

provide financial guidance and help to promote long term sustainability for schools as they formulate their budgets starting with the 2019-2020 academic year.


Highly Effective and Innovative Forms of School Governance ■■ The Office of Catholic Schools will explore and assist with implementation of

highly effective alternative school governance models for parish-based and regional grade schools (commencing the 2019-2020 school year). ■■ Design and implement fiduciary boards to govern Archdiocesan free-standing

high schools and regional elementary schools for implementation during the 20192020 academic year.

Centralized Marketing and Development Efforts ■■ The Offices of Catholic Schools and Development will create an annual school

system development plan that identifies continual funding sources of income and engagement with benefactors through events, grants, endowments, alumni support, and regular appeals for the 2019-2020 academic year. ■■ The Offices of Catholic Schools and Communications will develop an archdiocesan

marketing and communications strategy to help promote the life-changing

benefits of a Catholic school education, including the launch of a new website with compelling resources for prospective and current parents for the 2019-2020 academic year.


Our schools are not optional. They’re part of how we live our vocation as disciples of Jesus Christ.


CO NC LU S IO N Catholic schools are integral to the life of the Church. Our schools are not optional. They’re part of how we live our vocation as disciples of Jesus Christ. This is an important time in the history of the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of Detroit. While we inherited solid elements from our forebears, we must reconfigure and energize our schools into a new system because what we offer is a great gift to the world—to our children and their families. Our mission of providing an authentically Catholic education is urgent. We need our Catholic schools more than ever so that our young people have the vision that is part of the mind of Jesus Christ—so they don’t slip into a post-Christian mentality about how all the world fits together and the place they have in it. Our children must grow and move forward with the heart and mind of Christ. The Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron Archbishop of Detroit


O C H RIST, OUR TE AC H E R, You invite Your faithful people to make disciples in Your name and to announce good news to all. We thank You for the gift of our Catholic schools. Increase our zeal for ensuring that all children and families can access and benefit from a high quality Catholic education, and that Catholic schools grow in their ability to nurture the soul of Detroit. We ask this through the intercession of Our Lady, Mother of Catholic Schools.