In a recent publication by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA) there was an article that discussed the perception and view of Catholic education in the United States. This research effort was done to answer several questions, from perceived strengths/weaknesses of Catholic schools to why parents choose to send their children to Catholic schools. Overwhelmingly, researchers found that parents are “well-informed” and “savvy” customers for their child’s education and, increasingly so, they want their child to be in an environment that promotes strong moral values. Challenges focused on the affordability of Catholic schools and the necessity to provide a “global-view” to students to assure they are prepared for the world that awaits them post-compulsory education.
At the surface of this article it seems so simple- parents want what is best for their children while living within their means. That simplicity dissipates when you consider the complexity of educating children; the learning needs of our students vary immensely, prioritizing limited finances with unlimited wants and needs, and supporting our staffs in fulfilling their call to be the best educators they can be. This is a mighty feat for any school to successfully work toward, not to mention, first and foremost, each of our schools are striving to assure their students develop a meaningful relationship with Jesus and their faith (I would argue we are never completely finished); this is far from simple!
As I navigate my new role as Director of Schools for the Diocese of Crookston I have been able to better understand what is happening in our schools in northwest Minnesota. I constantly hear of the service projects students are working on, review assessment data showing exceptional academic growth, witness teachers and staff putting their heart and soul into their work and observe the ever-diversifying population of students and families we get to serve. There is no doubt that NCEA highlighted challenges for Catholic schools across our country; know that in the Diocese of Crookston we have schools that are owning their hurdles and coming out on top. Growing enrollments, academic achievements, building projects, unified schools, strong teachers and principals- we have much to celebrate this Catholic Schools Week in the Crookston Diocese!
No matter your home parish or school, know the students, staff, families, and principals in the schools throughout the Crookston diocese appreciate your support in all forms – prayers, time, talents or treasure. Be sure to reach out to your most local school to check out the great things happening!
Director of Schools, Diocese of Crookston