With the end of the school year behind us and the opportunity to now come up for air from the graduation season, I am often asked the question, “So, is summer a slow time for you?” While I’d love to answer that with a resounding “yes”, I learned long ago that the summer is the fastest and sometimes busiest time of the year. I remember my second summer as a principal in Rome, NY when I decided to take a week off to head home to Cleveland. The phone never stopped ringing! The textbook delivery was damaged….the technology order was delayed….the maintenance team was falling behind on projects….and then there was the inevitable teacher that found a new job somewhere else. At that point I realized that the summer is the worst time of the year to think that nothing is going on. The only thing that slows down is the pace of having young people all around us keeping us energized in our work as teachers. But the reality of the work and ministry of Catholic education goes on in what seems to be the longest (and shortest) time of the year…summer “vacation”.
Here in Philadelphia we have more than our fair share of work ahead of us in the coming weeks. We have this little thing called the World Meeting of Families and the Papal Visit coming in September and that keeps our attention for sure. We are counting on our teachers to remain engaged during the summer and to sign up as volunteers for this wonderful celebration. Likewise, our administrators and our central office staff are remaining focused on the programs associated with WMOF that have a direct impact on the life of our schools. In addition, our primary focus as an office remains PEOPLE. The hiring of the right people in our senior level positions and the school and central office level is a top priority each and every summer. It’s our people and our school leaders that help execute our bold vision of “Equipping Saints for Life in This World and The Next.” Without intensive processes for hiring and supervising our people we will not be able to sustain our vision for very long. So as we proceed through the summer,a great deal of time is spent in interviews and selection processes for senior level positions in my office and at the school level. This requires a great amount of collaboration across all sectors but in the end it puts us on solid footing for years to come.
And of course there are all of the capital projects in our schools, the orientation of new teachers, the planning for opening school events, the review of budgets, the tracking of enrollment trends and the overall calendaring of priorities and work streams for the year ahead. Sprinkle in everyone’s vacation plans and the need to have everyone renew their spirits during this wonderful time of the year, and before you know it Labor Day has arrived! But let’s not rush it…there’s lots of work to do before then!