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Sister Mary Paul McCaughey, OP, is superintendent of Catholic schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago. A Chicago native, she has 37 years of experience as a Catholic school teacher and administrator.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rewriting the Script

Speaking to the National Roundtable on Church Management, Dr. Frank Butler asked, "How do we foster a belief in the future of Catholic Schools, and foster innovation and quality when the story line about Catholic schools portrays them as moribund?"

Indeed, it is about rewriting the script.  And the story lines start here at home, in each of the 256 schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago.  Still the largest Catholic school system in the nation poised to celebrate the National Catholic Educational Association's "Catholic Schools Week", our administrators, parents, benefactors, pastors find new ways to meet the challenge of making ALL our schools Catholic, excellent, and vital - places of faith, learning, service.  I hope you will visit a school that week.

It takes tremendous courage, energy, generosity, and realism to re-write the script.  The markers of faith, the culture of "good to great" embodied in Blue Ribbon Schools, and the renewed emphasis on marketing/enrollment, planning, and boards lay important groundwork.  The potentials of new school models, a campaign, and political action like the Educational Opportunity Scholarship should fill the new year.

The story line is, at its core, about LIFE.  The life of kids and families.  The life of the Church who loves them.  The life of more kids in great Catholic schools who can redefine the world.  Dr. Butler's call for the word to go out for a true national communications campaign for Catholic schools could not be more timely.

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