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placeholder For many, beatification confirms long-held sentiment

Church firmly opposes firearms for civilians

Faith leaders try to help heal pain after shootings

Bishop’s Appeal reaches out to pastors, parish leaders

Vatican did not tell bishops to cover up abuse cases, spokesman says

Colorado scientist’s research finds spot for Red Sea parting

Jesus was a refugee, pope says

Fast-growing ‘Oprah nuns’ order expands to California

New evidence of communism’s ‘war’ with Church, Weigel says

• Deacon Antonio Barreto

Schools Week

Catholic schools are making strategic plan

Partnerships blossom at St. Martin de Porres School

Dominican schools’ pupils vie for Penguin mascot

School arts festival sets 25th year

Principal Mangini to retire at end of school year

Students share technology

Holy Names plans strategy for 21st century

O’Dowd holds line on tuition; others await decisions

A future for Catholic schools, Catholic culture

Catholic high school graduates likely to attend college, says report

Scholarships open to best in class from across US

Boston Archdiocese: No ‘categories’ will be excluded

Portrait of school offers insights into city that surrounds it

High schools work to eliminate bottled water

placeholder January 24, 2011   •   VOL. 49, NO. 2   •   Oakland, CA
Catholic schools are making strategic plan

As the schools in the diocese prepare to celebrate Catholic Schools Week from Jan. 30 through Feb. 5, more change is on the horizon for them.

A long-term strategic plan process, launched a year ago, continues to gather information for the future of the Catholic schools of the diocese.

According to a March 2010 letter to the Catholic community from Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone, the purpose of strategic planning is to “identify what we need to do to ensure that we can provide a 21st century Catholic education that is academically excellent, accessible, affordable and financially viable to any family that desires a Catholic education for their children, regardless of socio-economic status.”

A survey on the diocesan website last year provided respondents with an opportunity to express their opinion on a variety of topics related to the schools. Information from that survey, as well as focus groups and one-on-one interviews, are helping the Diocese of Oakland and the Department of Catholic Schools make that plan. All elementary and high school principals and presidents, and approximately half of all pastors, contributed their perspectives.

Meetings with the bishop, clergy, school principals and presidents, members of the diocesan school board and other leaders of the diocese followed last fall.
Tasks forces are being formed later this month to continue that process, said Sister Barbara Bray, superintendent of schools.

Among the national organizations consulted in the quest to determine the future of the schools in the Diocese of Oakland is the University of Notre Dame. Father Joseph Corpora, will conduct a conference for diocesan schools to improve enrollment of Latino students.

Through the efforts of “The Catholic School Advantage: The Campaign to Improve Educational Opportunities for Latino Children,” the University of Notre Dame and the Alliance for Catholic Education seek to enroll 1 million Hispanic students in Catholic schools by 2020.

Assistance in reaching out to the Latino community would be welcome here. The most significant growth in new Catholics, as measured in Baptisms, is occurring in parishes with large Latino populations. That growth, however, has not been reflected in the parish schools.

As the Oakland process has shown, the most critical factor involving enrollment in the Catholic schools may be money. One of the biggest challenges in the strategic planning process will be to develop new models for funding the schools.

Survey respondents noted that the cost of education is of concern to parents across socio-economic groups, with the middle class feeling particularly squeezed in challenging economic times.

New models for funding Catholic education, particularly in the inner-city, are being sought.

Other dioceses around the country have adopted new funding models for urban public schools. In Memphis, for example, where local companies are seeking better-educated workers, Bishop J. Terry Steib, the year before the jubilee year of 2000, announced the reopening of long-closed Catholic schools in the inner-city. Memphis began with one school; now there are eight.

In New York earlier this month, Archbishop Timothy Dolan announced the closure of 27 Catholic schools that had been receiving heavy subsidies from the archdiocese. The archdiocese has been seeking a new model for funding its schools.

For the Diocese of Oakland, results of the survey showed that in addition to the need to develop better recruitment and financing models, there was overwhelming support for Catholic education. Ninety-one percent of respondents to the community online survey said that Catholic schools should be a priority ministry for the diocese.
Any look ahead at the Diocese of Oakland schools includes the continuing interest in the proposed John Paul II High School in Livermore.

The project remains in the pre-construction phase. Environmental field investigation work is expected to continue through the winter. After completion of this phase, the permitting process at state and federal levels can begin. This process is expected to take two years. These phases have been funded by donors. In addition to an extensive feasibility study, the project will require a capital campaign to move forward.

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