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santa margarita

catholic high school Pursuing Excellence in Catholic Education


“Strategic Plans, at least the actionable ones, can serve as both clear roadmaps for the future and as instigators or accelerants to discussions and conversations which might not otherwise occur amongst an organization’s leadership team.“

Strategic Plans, at least the actionable ones, can serve as both clear roadmaps for the future and as instigators or accelerants to discussions and conversations which might not otherwise occur amongst an organization’s leadership team. So too, by necessity, actionable Strategic Plans are dynamic, adaptable documents. Why? Simply put, circumstances change. Economies slow. Competitors transform. Leadership teams turn over. Technology leapfrogs. The next five years will undoubtedly be exciting for Santa Margarita Catholic High School, if not outright transformative. It is in that spirit of hope, candor, excitement and flexibility that we humbly enclose this Strategic Plan. Caritas Christi, The Administrative Board Santa Margarita Catholic High School


Ever faithful to the charism of Caritas Christi and the pursuit of excellence, Santa Margarita Catholic High School attracts and inspires diverse, principled and talented young men and women. By encouraging innovative faculty, our learning community empowers students with the experiential knowledge, multidisciplinary skills, and self-confidence to become faith-filled, responsible stewards of God’s earth.


Santa Margarita Catholic High School seeks to bring the nurturing charism of Caritas Christi – the love of Christ – to our community of faith and learning. Centered in this charism, we work jointly with parents to provide an educational experience that incorporates: • Religious and spiritual formation • Intellectual and academic development • Physical and personal growth • Social awareness and moral development We seek to encourage in our students a positive sense of self-worth, self-discipline, personal responsibility, successful interpersonal relationships, commitment to Gospel values, and a desire to contribute positively to both the global community and the immediate society in which they live.


Nestled against the Saddleback Valley Mountains, Santa Margarita Catholic High School has provided students a nurturing environment to grow and thrive for more than 25 years. Under the direction of The Diocese of Orange, the school offers a well-rounded education emphasizing the formation of the entire person. SMCHS strives to develop students who are people of faith, skilled lifelong learners, healthy individuals and involved citizens of our world. Both a National Blue Ribbon School and ranked as one of the nation’s top private schools by The Washington Post, Santa Margarita is helping to shape tomorrow’s leaders instilling in students confidence, responsibility, and the desire to make an impact not only within our local community but wider world. Home to more than 1,650 students a year, Santa Margarita provides a faith-based education with unmatched academic and arts programs, engaging extracurricular activities and competitive, character-building athletics.

at santa margarita, we

inspire innovation

Implement a 1:1 program

putting a tablet in the hands of every student and faculty member. The program represents one of the most significant strategic investments in technology in school history. Full-time curriculum specialists support the program and its associated blended online courses.

Establish an innovation committee

composed of select students, faculty, staff, local thought leaders and advisory board members. The Innovation Committee will share, discuss and champion opportunities for SMCHS to further enrich the multidisciplinary and immersive learning of all students.

Encourage, enable and reward innovation

among faculty and staff through a program that recognizes employees who enhance student learning through innovation.

Strengthen the school’s Interdisciplinary Program

which weaves together subjects reaching beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries.

Remain opportunistic

in upgrading classroom technologies demonstrated to enhance student learning.

The next five years will be one of the most evolutionary periods in the history of education. Innovations in technology and a deepening understanding of how students think and learn are intersecting, transforming the art and science of education. Santa Margarita fully embraces today’s digital learning environment including 1:1 computing, blended online learning, tools including interactive whiteboards and specialized calculators enabling teachers to easily poll students electronically, and technology centered courses including computer programming and digital media production – yet we understand technology is just a tool. It is the skilled teacher that integrates technology effectively and meaningfully that enhances learning. Innovation transcends technology initiatives. It’s about taking risks, meeting challenges with curiosity and confidence and utilizing creative solutions. It’s about developing a multidisciplinary approach to learning and providing students with immersion opportunities that open doors and break down barriers. It’s about pushing the boundaries and raising the bar.

Innovation Continue to implement curriculum changes

where students are assessed in “real-time,” providing faculty and students with precise, analytical feedback allowing them to be more effective educators.

Further develop the school’s International Students Program. Santa Margarita is proud to welcome students from across the globe. Bringing cultures together from around the world helps develop responsible world citizens.

Adapt the leadership structure

to support the evolving emphasis on experiential knowledge, multidisciplinary skills and blended learning.

Foster multidisciplinary collaboration

through professional learning communities.

Increase professional development budgets ensuring our faculty keep abreast of best practices in instruction and learning.

at santa margarita, we are ever


Strengthen the school’s Catholicity

by attracting and enrolling a growing number of Catholic families, developing more fellowship opportunities, and engaging students in service learning by integrating service projects with classroom instruction.

Build meaningful relationships with the county’s Catholic parishes through personalized visits from school leadership, collaboration and mutually beneficial partnerships.

Continue to integrate faith into the curriculum

across all disciplines while encouraging prayer and worship as a school community.

Expand pastoral care

by recruiting an on-campus chaplain to support the faith life of the school. The chaplain will build upon the success of the school’s partnership with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, personifying the school’s commitment to its charism of Caritas Christi, while also serving as a mentor and spiritual leader to students, families, faculty and staff.

Adopt core values to further advance the charism of Caritas Christi

– the love of Christ – throughout Santa Margarita Catholic High School. These core values will form the foundation of how we work with one another and our students and families.

The school’s charism of Caritas Christi – the love of Christ – is ever present on campus providing students with a nurturing environment to grow and thrive academically, spiritually, socially and morally. Living Caritas Christi is to live with compassion and love, as modeled by Christ. Our love of God, of one another, and our commitment to make the world a better place has at its driving force Christ’s love for us. At Santa Margarita, we seek to bring the nurturing charism of Caritas Christi – the love of Christ – to our community of faith and learning. This can be seen in the way we interact with one another on campus, our outreach and service projects within the community, and through the school coming together as a faith community for prayer and masses.

Caritas Christi Core Values Collaboration

We will always proactively collaborate and leverage one another’s skills, experiences and ideas, because our collective abilities and opportunities as a school community are boundless.


We will always actively seek out and embrace students and faculty with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perceptions.


We will always lean forward as a learning organization – to seek out new ideas and to test new thinking – in order to provide the very best learning experience to our students.


We will always do what’s right, no matter the circumstances or consequences.


We will always respect one another as much for our differences as for our similarities.

at santa margarita, we are in

pursuit of excellence

Continue to provide our students with a variety of academic programs

allowing all types of learners the opportunity to succeed. We are proud to provide a college-preparatory education with diverse Advanced Placement and honors courses, the rigorous International Baccalaureate Program, an Auxiliary Studies Program to help students with learning differences, and blended learning opportunities combining web-based and classroom instruction.

Ensure we have the resources to build on our legacy.

Over the next three to five years, deferred and preventative maintenance projects will be prioritized including renovating the school’s track and athletic fields to possibly include more spectator seating, adding air conditioning to the Moiso Pavilion (gym), and expanding the lab and lecture space for the natural and physical sciences.

Successfully launch and promote a major gifts program.

Pursue new scholarship opportunities.

At Santa Margarita Catholic High School, it is our desire that every student who wishes to receive a well-rounded Catholic education have that opportunity.

Continue to focus on optimizing Valentasia,

the school’s annual benefit gala and auction, as well as the Eagle Fund, the school’s annual giving program.

Develop more effective fundraising, marketing and communications strategies.

Extraordinary schools are supported by comprehensive communications and fundraising programs. The Advancement Office will evolve into two offices: the Marketing and Communications Office and the Development Office. This realignment will empower the Development Office to more sharply focus on fundraising while providing marketing and communications with a more strategic platform from which to help position the school.

Santa Margarita Catholic High School seeks to empower our students giving them the opportunity to explore their talents and achieve their highest potential by providing them with the resources needed to succeed. Together, through the dedication of faculty, staff, parents and the entire Santa Margarita community, we are providing our students with a world-class education preparing them for the rigors of college and beyond. Our success is no secret – it’s because of our dedicated community that the school continues to thrive. The school’s Strategic Plan builds upon our legacy ensuring we have the tools and resources to continue to excel in pursuing excellence as we educate our youth.

Excellence Explore providing financial assistance to a greater percentage of the student body. Further engage alumni

in meaningful ways and continue to strengthen relationships with our graduates.

Initiate a feasibility study

to define the need and scope of an arts center and assess the viability of a potential campaign to raise money for an on-campus facility.

Differentiate the school’s brand and define a brand positioning statement. Build greater pride

in the school by widely and effectively communicating school and student successes.

strategic initiatives As the strategic plan is put into place, we will accomplish these strategic initiatives.

Encourage, enable and reward innovation Recruit, nurture and retain exceptional faculty Enhance multidisciplinary and immersive learning build and differentiate the school’s brand Build a more effective Development Office Strengthen the school’s Catholicity Reinforce the school’s charism of Caritas Christi Continue to utilize technology and explore new opportunities to enhance student learning

“Young people who are intrinsically motivated — curious, persistent, and willing to take risks — will learn new knowledge and skills continuously. They will be able to find new opportunities or create their own. Reimagining schools for the 21st-century must be our highest priority. We need to focus more on teaching the skill and will to learn and to make a difference and bring the three most powerful ingredients of intrinsic motivation into the classroom: play, passion and purpose.”

Tony Wagner

Harvard Education Specialist Author of “Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World” Excerpts taken from New York Times Pulitzer Prize columnist Thomas L. Friedman

santa margarita

catholic high school A Diocese of Orange School An International Baccalaureate World School 22062 Antonio Parkway, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688 949.766.6000

“Pursuing Excellence in Education: A Strategic Plan for Santa Margarita Catholic High School� was endorsed by the SMCHS Administrative Board on March 30, 2013. The plan was developed in collaboration with the SMCHS Consultative School Board and Ovus Ater.

Pursuing Excellence in Catholic Education: A Strategic Plan  

"Pursuing Excellence in Education: A Strategic Plan for Santa Margarita Catholic High School" was endorsed by the SMCHS Administration Board...