“Be it known to all who enter here that Christ is the reason for this school.
He is the unseen but ever present teacher in these classrooms.
He is the model of its faculty and the inspiration of its students.”
The statement above graces the entrance of so many Catholic schools and can now be judged through a series of National Catholic Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic and Secondary Schools (NSBECS) developed in March 2012 by the University of Loyola Center for Catholic School Effectiveness. The standards themselves serve to ensure that “From the first moment that a student sets foot in a Catholic school, he or she ought to have the impression of entering a new environment, one illuminated by the light of faith and having its own unique characteristics, an environment permeated with the Gospel spirit of love and freedom.” (The Religious Dimension of Education in a Catholic School, #25)
The NSBECS are based on Church teachings, best practices, and a commitment to the future of Catholic education in the United States. The standards speak of Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Operational Vitality. Please visit http://www.catholicschoolstandards.org/ to review the nine characteristics that define the Catholic identity of Catholics schools, the platform on which the standards and benchmarks are based. Also available on the website for your review are the 13 Standards, which describe the policies, programs, processes and structures that should be present in an effective, well-managed Catholic school. The 70 Benchmarks are measurable descriptors for the 13 Standards.
I bring your attention to the NSBECS as a resource to help understand our Mission and Vision for Catholic education in the Diocese of Colorado Springs. Over the next few weeks, our Diocese, in collaboration with Catholic School Management, will be conducting surveys, meetings, and interviews with Pastors, school administrations, parishioners, parents, and members of our communities asking for comments, suggestions, and input regarding Catholic school education. These events are just a portion of our work to ensure the sustainability of Catholic education in the Diocese and continue the academic excellence and faith-filled education that has been a trade mark at our schools.
Thank you for your support, and I ask for your prayers as we continue Diocesan efforts to develop a strategic plan for our Catholic schools.