Written by Laura MacDonald, Director of Professional Learning, NCEA, [email protected]
As 2023 concludes and the Christmas season is upon us, educators nationwide find themselves in a whirlwind—simultaneously wrapping up the academic year and gifts at home, aware that upon return, one of the school year’s pivotal events, Catholic Schools Week (CSW), awaits.
This year, NCEA is thrilled to share the fresh CSW logo and theme, “Catholic Schools: United in Faith and Community,” from January 28 to February 3, 2024. Here are several guidelines to capture the essence of CSW and ensure your festivities remain distinctly Catholic, high-quality and dedicated to cherishing the heartbeat of our schools—the people!
Let NCEA Be Your Guide
NCEA has outlined your week. Visit NCEA Catholic Schools Week for access to the Marketing Kit and planning tools. Within these resources, discover insights about CSW and the new theme. The CSW logo is downloadable for promotion, along with the latest Catholic school infographics presenting data to inform your community about the significance of Catholic education. I particularly appreciate the CSW Template Downloads. Whether you are a teacher, principal, or advancement coordinator, you’ll uncover innovative ideas and tips to help create a successful week. Just because we share resources doesn’t mean you can’t bring your unique flavor to your events. Your celebration will shine with the distinctiveness of your school community.
Foster Shared Responsibility
This is an opportune time to include all campus leadership groups. Engaging the student council, parent association, school board, teachers and campus ministry can distribute the workload and foster a sense of collective responsibility among leaders.
- Student Council can oversee student activities and contests.
- Parents love to show appreciation and pamper the teachers.
- The school board and parent association can help coordinate open house and fundraising events.
- Teachers can plan themed school assignments and prepare classrooms for open house.
- Campus ministry can organize prayer services and a service project.
With each group taking charge of an activity or two, your week will be well-organized in no time.
Embrace Catholic Principles
Ensure your week is firmly grounded in your school’s Catholic foundational principles. As you plan, embrace and communicate your school’s mission, vision and Catholic identity. I recommend utilizing the Defining Characteristics of Catholic Schools section of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools as a primary guide. Use the Liturgy Planning Guide in the Marketing Kit to plan your prayer services and daily readings.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
Resist the temptation to overload during CSW. While enthusiasm is vital, doing it all is impossible. Save some innovations for future years and focus on high-quality activities that safeguard students’ academic time and teachers’ planning periods. Consider potential disruptions off-schedule activities might cause students and staff. You can schedule student activities during recess, breaks and lunch. Aim for no more than one or two events each day. Some student assignments can also be integrated into the daily theme, such as writing personal letters about the benefits of Catholic school.
Focus on Community
Catholic schools thrive on community! Success is inevitable when we center our attention on people. The Daily Themes pages can assist in finding ways to acknowledge all shareholders. Provide support, show genuine appreciation and celebrate current and future students, teachers, families, the parish and the broader school community.
New to CSW? Don’t know where to begin?
Check out the Marketing Kit and watch this recent webinar on making the most of CSW:
There’s still time to order CSW-themed products to help celebrate the week at catholicschoolpride.com.
We wish you a wonderful CSW. Use #CSW2024 to share your week! May it be a week to cherish as you unite in faith and community!