Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Catholic Schools Week: Revitalization plan enacts first-year strategies and prepares for phase 2

The Diocese of Charleston just completed the first full year of its strategic initiative plan, a five-year plan designed to revitalize and strengthen Catholic schools in the state.

Sandra Leatherwood, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, said a number of essential steps were taken — such as hiring personnel and establishing necessary groundwork — to ensure the success of the plan over the next four years.

“We had to have organizational aspects in place. We did all the necessary paperwork and created policies so the rest of the five years can be successful,” she said.

Chief among the actions is the creation of a Diocesan School Advisory Council, which will consist of 13 members, pending approval of Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone. The council will assist the Catholic Schools Office and Leatherwood in the accreditation process and the revitalization plan going forward, said Sister Pamela Smith, SSCM, Secretary for Education and Faith Formation.

Another key element is the hiring of two part-time consultants to help in the area of academic excellence, Leatherwood said. The diocese hired Myra Finneran to help develop a diocesan-wide curriculum, and Bernard Dumond to assist five smaller schools that don’t have the necessary staff for development and enrollment projects. Those schools are John Paul II in Ridgeland, St. Joseph in Anderson, St. John in North Charleston, St. Anne and St. Jude in Sumter, and Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta.

The comprehensive school revitalization plan was approved by Bishop Guglielmone this time last year. It is the result of a year-long comprehensive look at Catholic education with input from pastors, principals, teachers, parents, and anyone else with a vested interest.

Goals for the five years are broken down into categories: mission and Catholic identity, operational vitality for finances and marketing, academic excellence, and governance/leadership.

Other goals accomplished in the first year include:

Under Catholic identity, a focus group of pastors was created, pending approval of the bishop, which will formulate concrete actions to more fully integrate the parish and school.

In the area of academic excellence, in addition to the hiring of consultants, the implementation task force also conducted a review of standardized testing that led to a change in the testing format. Leatherwood said they found that MAP testing, which is conducted three times a year instead of just once, is more effective in evaluating student progress. They are also training teachers on how to use the MAP testing results to strengthen learning.

Under operational vitality, the diocese is working on a number of projects designed to serve as shared resources for all the schools. For example, two programs were created to help schools fundraise effectively: one that focuses on successfully raising funds, and another to track donors, said Michael Acquilano, director of the S.C. Catholic Conference and associate director of Catholic School Development.

He said they also created a marketing “toolbox” that elementary schools can use to promote themselves to their particular area.

Lastly, under governance and leadership, a program to identify potential principals within the schools will be launched in the 2017-18 school year. Those selected for the program will attend Catholic university leadership programs, and then receive a year of mentoring and coaching.

“We want to ensure we have a group of trained individuals ready to assume leadership in the diocese,” Leatherwood said.

Along with the programs enacted this year, she said there are more on the way.

One thing that pastors said they want to see is support of Catholic education from all parishes, and not just the ones with parish schools. School leaders said they are looking forward to shared resources, such as a tech vendor that can service all the schools’ technological needs.

Photo provided: As part of an outreach effort for the local animal shelter, students at St. Joseph in Anderson filled rubber chew toys with peanut butter as treats for the dogs.




  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    May 237:00 pm Confirmation - Sacred Heart - Gaffney - Bishop Guglielmone presiding
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    7:30 pm Mariologia #1
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    May 24All Day 2nd Semester Exams
    From the Calendar of Bishop England Charleston
    All Day Semester Exams (4th and 3rd)
    From the Calendar of Bishop England Charleston
    All Day 8th Grade Exams
    From the Calendar of Charleston Catholic School
    All Day Middle School Exam Week
    From the Calendar of Christ Our King Mount Pleasant
    All Day 4K End of Year Picnic
    From the Calendar of Christ Our King Mount Pleasant
    All Day Last Day of 5K Classes
    From the Calendar of Christ Our King Mount Pleasant
    All Day Final Exams
    From the Calendar of Our Lady of Peace North Augusta
    All Day 8th Grade Graduation
    From the Calendar of Prince of Peace School Taylors
    All Day MAP Testing
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony of Padua School Greenville
    All Day 8th Grade Graduation
    From the Calendar of St. Paul the Apostle School Spartanburg
    All Day 7th and 8th Grade Final Exams
    From the Calendar of Nativity Charleston
    8:00 am Baccalaureate Mass
    From the Calendar of Divine Redeemer
    9:15 am Underclassmen Honors Convocation
    From the Calendar of Cardinal Newman School
    All Day Eighth Grade Exams
    From the Calendar of Cardinal Newman School
    7:00 pm Mariologia #1
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    7:00 pm Mariologia #1
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    7:00 pm Confirmation - St. Paul - Spartanburg - Bishop Guglielmone presiding
    From the Calendar of Bishop's Office
    May 25All Day 2nd Semester Exams
    From the Calendar of Bishop England Charleston