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CURRENT ISSUE:  April 12, 2010
VOL. 48, NO. 7   •   Oakland, CA
Other front page stories
Immigration reform advocates press for change
Local Catholics join efforts to pass just reform of immigration laws
Cardinal Levada responds to NY Times pope stories
Catholics asked to weigh in on
future of Catholic schools in diocese

The diocesan Department of Catholic Schools is inviting all members of the East Bay Catholic community to express their views on Catholic elementary and secondary education through an online survey that will help the department plan for the future of schools in the Oakland Diocese.
To participate in the diocesan School Department survey on Catholic education:
• Go to www.oakdiocese.org and find “Imagining Our Future” under “News,” or
• Go to www.surveymonkey.com/s/dioceseofoaklandcatholicschools
The survey must be completed by April 30, 2010.
“This is an opportunity to set a new course for Catholic schools,” said Holy Names Sister Barbara Bray, superintendent, in announcing a 12-15 month planning process to examine how to respond effectively to changing demographics, lower enrollments, and financial challenges of the 45 elementary and nine secondary Catholic schools in the diocese.

Survey participants will contribute to the strategic planning process by answering a series of questions about the Catholic identity, academics, finances, leadership and mission of Catholic schools in the diocese. They are also asked to identify changes that might be needed in Catholic schools to ensure their long term viability. The survey, which takes about 10 minutes, must be completed by April 30.

In addition to community participation in the survey, the school department is seeking input from pastors, principals, and school boards, along with the Bishop’s Administrative Council and the Presbyteral Council.

“Our vision is to provide a 21st century Catholic education that is academically excellent, accessible, and affordable to any family that desires a Catholic education for their children,” Sister Bray said.

How that will be accomplished is the task of a leadership team to be convened in August, she said. They will take into consideration all the collected survey and research data as they develop the strategic plan. The plan will be available for public comment in the late fall.

Oakland Bishop Salvatore Cordileone emphasized the importance of the entire Catholic community’s participation in the planning process. In a message to parishioners, he wrote, “Your insights, wisdom and participation are essential to this process, and I ask you to take this opportunity to be part of creating a vibrant future for Catholic schools.”

Catholic school enrollment has been dropping for the past decade. According to the National Catholic Education Association, more than 1400 Catholic schools — nearly one in five — have closed since 2000. Since 2005, seven schools in the Oakland Diocese have closed and one has suspended operations.

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