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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, June 02, 2014

School Endings Always Bring New Beginnings

Education made headlines this year. As the busy school year ends, where did the Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago fit into the news?

Test scores nationally were stagnant while the Archdiocese of Chicago high schools and elementary schools improved. Teachers and principals mined the data as they prepared for national accreditation through the continuous improvement process of AdvancED. With controversy swirling around the "common core," the Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic schools recommitted themselves to rigorous Catholic curriculum that would go far beyond those benchmarks - opening up new professional development for teachers to help them better reach each child and raise the bar for all.

In a time of pinched resources for education, communities stepped up to re-own their schools and others grew enrollment to provide access to families. Most significantly, the Archdiocese committed itself to the To Teach Who Christ Is campaign which can open new doors for children.

School choice was in the news, too, and the unequivocal support of parents’ RIGHT to educate their children must continue to be shaped and find a voice - yes, even in Illinois! It is legal; it is just. It is time.

In a society that struggles with violence, the faith that undergirds everything that the Catholic schools dream to be is found first in the home. As a part of the Year of Strong Catholic Parents, we want the dialogue to continue. If you are reading this, you are probably (unlike me) on Facebook. Thanks for the conversation about our schools - let's let it roll.

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Comments

Thursday, June 05, 2014 11:07 AM

It is great to hear that there is a vision as part of the capital campaign and strategic plan to fund services so that all of God's children can receive a great Catholic Education. But there are success stories already, although unheard. At Divine Infant Jesus School in Westchester we have a young boy who was born without his arms. He has been attending the school now for 3 years and has been welcomed and treated with respect, love and compassion from the staff, parents and his class peers. It is a continued lesson in Jesus' model of love to see him fully engaged with his friends in the classroom and playground. Hats off to Divine Infant Jesus

James N.

Thursday, June 05, 2014 9:42 AM

Dear Karen,

Those with special needs are especially God's children. We hope and pray for the day - and in fact, it is part of the strategic plan and the capital campaign that will fund needed services - when all can attend Catholic schools. In the meantime, please do read the extraordinary story of one such young person in the next New World. And, beyond our schools, many Catholic agencies and services reach out to those with special needs. You will, for example, find no better teachers than the staff at Miserecordia.

Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey, OP

Wednesday, June 04, 2014 8:30 AM

It would be nice of all of God's children could "learn who Christ is". Sadly, kids who have Down's, autism, CP and other disabilities are not allowed to "learn who Christ is". Catholic schools do not accept disabled kids. Could that be 1 reason why 98% of Down's babies die in abortion? Maybe God does not have any disabled children. Maybe the disabled are not God's children. Maybe God is punishing parents w/ a disabled child for some kind of sin. I wonder if that decree of the bishop of Arles still holds about God punishing parents w/ a "feeble-minded" child.

Karen E.

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