Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September, 2012

Dear Catholic School Parents,

As we prepare for the start of a new school year, I want to take the opportunity to share with you several dynamic changes underway in our Catholic schools and how they will positively impact your family.

As you may know, we are in the midst of implementing Pathways to Excellence, our multi-year strategic plan to strengthen schools in the Archdiocese of New York and ensure they remain available, accessible and affordable for every family desiring a Catholic education for their child(ren).

Currently, we are in a phase called "Regionalization." As its name implies, Regionalization involves the coming together of parish elementary schools into geographic "regions." This way, every parish will be responsible for, contribute to and have a voice in Catholic education in the archdiocese.

As Cardinal Dolan stated recently, "Simply put, Regionalization is about everybody doing their part, sharing responsibilities and working together to ensure a vibrant future for our schools."

This September, three pilot regions have become operational: Staten Island, Rockland and Northwest South Bronx. Each of these new regions will be governed by a Board, made up of outstanding and talented individuals committed to the mission of Catholic education- both laity and clergy. For schools, this means that they will now be able to benefit from this new wealth of knowledge and expertise, to include finance, marketing and, of course, education. The remaining seven regions in the archdiocese will follow the same process and become operational in September 2013. During this process, however, we recognize that some difficult decisions will have to be made, including the very real possibility of additional school closings at the end of the current school year. For the vast majority of schools, the end result will be a revitalized and stronger system.

What does regionalization mean for you and your child(ren)? On the surface, you probably won't notice much of a change in the day-to-day operations at your school. However, by adopting a regional approach in which individual schools, true to their Catholic mission, cooperate as members of a larger faith community and share resources, regionalization is expected to result in:

• Sustainable, fiscally sound schools providing an excellent Catholic education
• An infusion of additional talent through the increased role of the laity in school governance
• Community-based decision-making that more fully addresses the goals and needs of schools on the local level
• More funds available for academic enhancements, scholarships and parish religious education programs

All of this translates into better schools and brighter futures for those who matter most: our children.

For regular updates on Regionalization, please visit the Superintendent of Schools' website: www.adnyeducation.org. My prayers and best wishes for a successful school year ahead!

Timothy J. McNiff, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools