To Teach As Jesus Did:
Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee
“The Blessings of Beginning Anew”
A co-worker of mine at Catholic Memorial High School used to remind teachers each August that teaching is a uniquely privileged profession because of its annual, predictable cycle. “Few other professions,” he’d say, “have the opportunity to ‘clear the slate’ and start over at least once a year like ours does.”
No matter the school location or grade level, there is indeed an energy, an eagerness, and a freshness to this time of late summer that hold rare experiences of hope and promise for students, parents, and educators alike. I share that enthusiasm in a special way this year.
Our new religious education certification program, “Sustaining the Mission,” was developed and sponsored by the Saint Clare Center of Cardinal Stritch University in collaboration with our Office for Schools. All our Catholic educators now have the opportunity to increase and solidify their religious knowledge through systematic, cohesive, and high quality instruction in the faith.
This long overdue program, focusing on six core theological areas (Scripture; Creedal and Doctrinal Concepts; Justice and Morality, Liturgy, Sacraments and Prayer; Church History, and Methods/Vocational Formation) is a substantive and structured approach to better preparing our Catholic school teachers to further the Kingdom of God in our midst through strong Catholic schools grounded in Catholic identity, faith formation, and academic excellence.
Some of the finest instructors in the Archdiocese, including scholars from each of our five Catholic colleges and universities and both Archdiocesan seminaries, have been invited to deliver “Sustaining the Mission” courses. Initial feedback on the program from the teachers and principals who’ve attended introductory sessions has been highly positive.
Our three new school consolidations (All Saints Catholic School, Kenosha; Our Lady of Grace Academy, Racine, and Wauwatosa Catholic School) have successfully opened and are welcoming growing numbers of students and their families into their communities.
Although official reports won’t be submitted until mid-September, we’re receiving preliminary information from a number of schools in various areas of the Archdiocese about their enrollment increases for 2011 – 2012.
The Vision 2011 statement for the elementary and secondary schools of our Archdiocese, which is posted here on our website, is a reflection on both our heritage and our future. This reflective summary can be used to provide direction for all Catholic school leadership groups, at every level, in the pursuit of excellence.
Finally, as I recently transitioned from “rookie” to “veteran” status as your Superintendent, having begun my second year on July 1, I give thanks daily for the terrific leaders with whom I work, both here in the Office for Schools and in our 10 counties. Our office team, as you will discover, possesses an amazing complementarity of backgrounds, skills, expertise, and interests. In our service, support, and leadership roles, we will continue to challenge you and each other to be committed to excellence in every aspect of this privileged ministry.
A happy and blessed new year to you and your school communities!
Kathleen A. Cepelka, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Catholic Schools