Mission and Catholic Identity in Our Schools

The following article was contributed by Annette Jones, Ed.S., Assistant Director of Leadership Development at NCEA.

At the NCEA’s Institute of Catholic School Leaders (ICSL) 2017, the keynote presenter Tom Thibodeau, Distinguished Professor of Servant Leadership at Viterbo University (La Crosse, WI), focused on the topic of servant leadership.  During his inspirational and captivating address, he reminded us, “If service is beneath us, then leadership is beyond us.”  Clearly as Catholic leaders and educators, we are called to spiritual leadership, focusing on the mission and Catholic culture of our schools.

During the session, Perspectives on the Role of the Principal, I suggested using the framework of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools by Dr. Lorraine A. Ozar to organize and prioritize leadership tasks in preparation for the new school year.  Mission and Catholic Identity is the first section in the National Standards and Benchmarks.

As the school year rapidly approaches, the hustle and bustle of planning and preparation is in full swing.  Catholic school leaders could use the following list as a guideline for emphasizing the mission and Catholic culture in their schools.

Mission and Catholic Identity

  • Provide faith formation for staff, such as a staff retreat.
  • Form a staff prayer group.
  • Participate in the Arch/diocesan Catechist certification program.
  • Utilize NCEA’s Information for Growth (IFG) Assessment for staff.
  • Create a Spirituality Committee.
  • Prepare for prayer services and school liturgies (themes, servers, Eucharistic ministers).
  • Communicate a timeline and details about Sacramental Preparation and Ceremonies.
  • Plan service projects.
  • Use NCEA resources to plan Catholic Schools Week.

As we serve together, I wish you a blessed and successful school year!