This week’s Catholic School Matters Radio Hour features two great guests.
Tim Bopp, the president of Holy Trinity High School in his 27th year, discusses the fascinating origin of his high school which responded to the Polish neighborhood in inner-city Chicago and was borne out of conflict in Catholic Chicago. The demographics of the school have changed radically over the years as has the neighborhood. Holy Trinity is no longer a Polish-only school and is a melting pot.
Providing a Catholic high school education to a student body which skews toward poverty is difficult, but not impossible. Bopp outlines their financial model and the need for fundraising. He explains the value-add for Holy Trinity and how they sell the school.
Bopp’s determination to greet every student every morning sets the tone for students. It is a bold, interesting choice for a high school president to make knowing each student by name. Bopp explains how he articulates the central values of the school which are carried from the mission to the classroom.
Bopp is a school leader focused on mission who knows his school and his students. He knows the stories of his families and raises money based on these stories. He has a job that no one quite understands so he has worked to develop what a president does and what the position means. “Leading your friends and colleagues to believe in the mission of the school” is how he defines it.
Bopp told the story of coaching an athlete who broke his ankle which helped him realize that Holy Trinity was more than an academic institution and was a living, breathing community which helps these struggling families to raise their students to excellence. He also discussed the heroic example of a teacher who helped him understand the meaning of Holy Trinity.
“We have to know what you know” and “you have to know what we know” is a great way to explain the partnership between home and school which guides Bopp’s practice.
The second guest is the Lead Economist from the World Bank and the publisher of the Educatio Si bulletin, Dr. Quentin Wodon, who joins the podcast to discuss his work promoting and encouraging research on Catholic schools around the world. His hobby has taken him to support the work of the OIEC (International Office of Catholic Education).
Dr. Wodon also explains his work with the World Bank and his research on the developing world and how these research interests have led him to research on Catholic education since the developing world is seeing growth in Catholic schooling.
He is examining the NCEA market research study and its challenging findings. He points out that market share of Catholic schools has not changed but African Catholic schools will soon become the majority of Catholic school students.
Here is another link to the podcast.