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Column: Workshops help Catholic schools define, advance their mission

Kathy O'Hara is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.

Kathy O’Hara is the superintendent of archdiocesan schools.

by Kathy O’Hara

Dear friends of Catholic schools,

“Your Child’s Future – Now and Forever

Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas

• Joyfully Catholic

• Diligently Achieving

• Intentionally Self-Giving

• Prudently Managed

• Forwardly Thinking”

The phrases written above are the characteristics that we want all of the Catholic schools in the archdiocese to embody in their own unique manner. We identified these characteristics after participating in the enrollment management training sessions offered by Jay Gould of The Advancement Counsel, a consulting firm that assists Catholic schools across the nation. The archdiocesan office of Catholic schools hosted this training for all the schools in the archdiocese. The goal of enrollment management training is to advance the mission of Catholic schools.

To date, nearly all the schools in the archdiocese have completed this training. In the workshops, school teams learned strategies for — and a strategic approach to — optimizing enrollment. But in the process, they also learned much about the good things that are happening in our schools, as well as a vision for a thriving future. Each of the schools has its own story to tell, yet all fit into the framework noted at the beginning of this column:

Joyfully Catholic — When they learn about and experience Christ and his church on a daily basis, students also learn the virtue of hope. And from hope comes joy. We want our Catholic schools to be places of true joy.

Diligently Achieving — This is more than just scoring well on tests. It is developing all of the God-given gifts and talents in our students so they give those and more back to him. We want our schools to be excellent because that is in keeping with the mission.

Intentionally Self-Giving — We seek to help our students understand the relationship between the gifts they have been given and the great commandment of loving and serving others as Jesus did. We want our schools to be known by the love of others that our students demonstrate when they give of themselves.

Prudently Managed — Schools employ best business practices as appropriate for an educational setting. They establish strategic plans, realistic budgets, and advancement (development) tactics (including enrollment and tuition management practices) to support those plans and budgets. We want our schools to be excellent stewards of the resources they receive.

Forwardly Thinking – Schools stay abreast of trends and best practices so that they are constantly improving how they accomplish the mission. We want our Catholic schools to always look to the future, in this world and the next.

The future for Catholic schools in this archdiocese looks bright! Thanks be to God!

Happy Catholic Schools Week!

¡Vaya con Dios!

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Kathy O'Hara

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