Independence Hall. The Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell. It all happened here in Philadelphia! And now we are called upon again to make history here in this city. Catholic education innovation. Resurgence of enrollment. Renewed commitment to academic excellence. History will be made (again) here in Philadelphia! The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, under the leadership of Archbishop Charles Chaput, has taken significantly bold steps to secure a viable future for the Church of southeast Pennsylvania.
As the new Chief Operating Officer and Secretary for Education here in this historic Archdiocese, it is my belief that we have all of the tools in place to create the most innovative movement in school reform that our nation has ever seen. In partnership with the Faith in the Future Foundation, the Catholic secondary schools and four schools of special education here have entered into a first-of-its kind educational joint venture whereby both parties bring expertise that will allow us to strengthen our system for years to come. The Foundation has been granted operational control of these schools and as such oversees the strategic initiatives that will guide us on the path to the future. On the other side of the joint venture are the schools themselves who bring to the table the academic quality and rich Catholic identity that simultaneously combine to create a Catholic education. With the Foundation now serving as the Executive Board of Education here in Philadelphia we are committed to this simple premise: Catholic schools, with a proper business and financial model, can lead innovation in 21st Century learning. And our common goals are clear: educate 6,000 more students across the high school system by 2017, lead in educational innovation, and make our schools affordable for any family that desires it. Bold enough for you? We hope so!
In addition to this joint venture with Faith in the Future Foundation, the Independence Mission Schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia have formed together in the last year. Independence Mission Schools are a strong system of 14 elementary schools that form a network of independent, private Catholic schools. Encompassing more than 4,100 grade school children from underserved neighborhoods in the Philadelphia region, IMS educates children of all faiths to provide quality education in a safe, values-based environment.
Early results of both of these initiatives are showing success. October 1st will tell the real tale of enrollment as that is when we file our “official numbers”. But for now, it appears that our 9th grade enrollment in the secondary schools is going to be up and that our IMS schools will mirror the same. I encourage all of our readers to stay tuned…the best is yet to come!
We are going to make history (again) in Philadelphia!
Read more about what we are doing here in the Archdiocese by following this link: