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  • Towards Courageous Renewal 

    March 2011

    In 1998, the Congregation for Catholic Education in the Vatican published a critically important document, “The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium.”  It remains a powerful document over a decade later, as we are well and truly over that threshold and in to the new millennium.  The document challenges us in many ways.  It analyses the s ocial setting in which schools find themselves today – and re-affirms its purpose, namely, the promotion of the human person in the way of Jesus Christ in whom the fullness of truth concerning humanity is to be found.(#9)

    The document recognises that, in so many ways, schools are called to meet the needs of a society in tumult.  It calls to courageous renewal in Catholic schools.(#2).  In the Diocese of Sale, Catholic education is responding to that challenge. It has embarked on precisely that path to courageous renewal.

    Some years ago, schools developed a way forward in their work, through the document, “Catholic Schools Journeying Together 2004 – 2008.”  It was a rich document that served us well.  But its very title suggested that it was limited in time and was intended to expire in 2008.  We have waited until our new bishop is established in the Diocese before venturing in to a new set of directions.  We have not called it a “plan”, but rather a “Directions Document” that schools can use as a resource in their planning, rather than as a tightly framed guide.

    The Vision for Catholic Education:

    We are committed to courageous renewal and to the promotion of the human person through the provision of stewardship and leadership that are credible, contemporary, accountable, sustainable and transparent. This will enable schools to be contemporary centres of excellence, equity and evangelisation that reach out to all. In this environment, students are empowered to become successful lifelong learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens who contribute to the Church’s mission to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. 

    The Mission of Catholic Education:

    Our mission is to enable all students to reach their full human potential where:

    • They are brought to a fuller knowledge and love of God, as revealed in Jesus Christ and expressed in the Catholic tradition.

    • They experience an environment that promotes healthy social and emotional development where their learning is maximised. 

    Our work is centred on three core educational goals and two enabling goals.  The core educational goals are:

    Faith – bringing every student to a knowledge and love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ and mediated to us through the Catholic Church

    Learning – enabling every student to learn so that he or she can lead a fulfilling life and contribute positively to a healthy and just society

    Growth – enabling every student to thrive in an environment that enhances his or her social and emotional growth

    The core enabling goals are:

    Leadership – building the capacity for visionary leadership throughout the system and the school to achieve our faith, learning and growth outcomes

    Stewardship – developing soundness in our management so that we do the right things right and use sound processes to achieve our purposes of faith, learning and growth.

     

    Seven major focus areas are identified in the document, each having a number of elements.  They are:

    Strengthening Catholic identity

    • Communities recognise and embrace the Catholic school’s fundamental duty to evangelise.

    • Religious Education teaching recognises the wide range of religious experience of students in each classroom.

    • The Enhancing Catholic School Identity Project instrument is an integral part of the Catholic School Renewal process.

    • The role of the Religious Education Coordinator is clarified and promoted.

     

    Improving school and student performance

    Teachers understand the nature and scope of contemporary learning.

    • Leaders, teachers and support staff adopt contemporary pedagogy that empowers personalised learning to improve student   performance.

    • Wellbeing is understood as central to learning.

    • All schools exhibit a culture which embeds performance and development.

    • The capacity of teachers to provide quality education (including Religious Education) is enhanced.

     

    Engaging the government reform agenda

    Government-mandated curriculum is implemented in each school, acknowledging our focus on Indigenous History and Culture, Asia and Pacific and Sustainability.

    • Schools engage meaningfully with the accountability and transparency agenda of the government.

    • Schools meet the government milestones for student and school performance.

    • Schools have ICT infrastructure that enables every student to engage with the digital world.

    Building leadership capacity

    The school education community in the Catholic Diocese of Sale is seen as a leader in learning.

    • School leaders in the Diocese of Sale exhibit excellence in leadership in faith, learning and wellbeing appropriate to their role.

    • Leaders in the Diocese of Sale exhibit exemplary stewardship appropriate to their role.

    • There is a strong pool of applicants for leadership positions.

     

    Ensuring sustainability and growth

    There is a rational approach to the provision of Catholic school infrastructure in the diocese.

    • Schools and CEOSale have sound and consistent financial management practices.

    • A decision is made regarding the provision of early childhood education.

    • The Integrated Catholic Online Network (ICON) is implemented.

    Building sound governance structures

    Appropriate authority, responsibility and accountability relationships are established and clarified between CEOSale, Parish Priests and schools.

    • Schools and CEOSale work in partnership with parents, parish and the wider community.

    • School Boards are effective structures in all schools.

    This is an exciting document that spells the way forward for our already successful schools in the Diocese.  It can be accessed in full on the Catholic Education Office website (www.ceosale.catholic.edu.au)