Today begins a new chapter in Catholic school education in the Diocese of Saginaw. The launch of Our Catholic Schools: Centered in Christ, Committed to Excellence signals the beginning of a dedicated effort to strengthen and grow Catholic schools in the diocese.
“I’m excited about this,” said Bishop Robert Gruss, who announced Catholic schools as one of his priorities in December 2021.
To support the effort, Bishop Gruss is expanding the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools. Two new positions have been created and will provide resources and direct support to Our Catholic Schools across the diocese in the areas of Catholic identity and curriculum, as well as marketing and enrollment.
“Our Catholic Schools instill Catholic values and principles in our children. They foster the fullness of our Catholic identity and form our children for life.”
The Superintendent of Catholic Schools and a team of school and community leaders, parish and diocesan staff and professionals of various backgrounds have committed themselves to the effort. There is already momentum and a spirit of renewal.
“We began by reviewing current operations of our schools, based on the 13 standards and over 70 benchmarks that make up the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS),” said Superintendent of Catholic Schools Cormac Lynn.
In addition to evaluating schools to both recognize strengths and identify opportunities, numerous conversations have taken place to learn from Catholic schools that are thriving. The result of the evaluations and conversations with school leaders locally and around the country was an investment in excellence study. The study made clear those areas which need more resources and support.
“If we want our Catholic schools to thrive and serve our communities for generations to come, we need to make some systematic changes to how we operate,” Superintendent Lynn said. “We also have an obligation to make sure that we are providing great formation and value to those families that sacrifice to send their kids to Catholic schools and for parishes that support Catholic schools.”
Commitments have been made in the following key areas: mission and Catholic identity, academic excellence, leadership, governance and operational vitality.
“Our Church, our culture, and our world need living models of faith today, disciples who are formed with the mind and heart of Christ, who are educated and well-rounded in our Catholic faith tradition,” Bishop Gruss said.
While still early in the process of this initiative, plans are underway to appoint a formal council to support the Office of Catholic schools and to work in collaboration with the existing school boards and committees. A significant role of this council will be in the area of retaining and recruiting effective teachers, administrators, and school staff.
“If we are going to be successful in this effort, we will need your prayers and support,” Bishop Gruss said. “I ask you to join me and many others, in including this initiative and those involved in moving it forward, in your prayers.”
To read more about Our Catholic Schools: Centered in Christ, Committed to Excellence, visit: www.saginaw.org/our-catholic-schools.