A school’s Catholic identity and the components that contribute to academic excellence are closely linked. Source: Archdiocese of Chicago
A school cannot be considered “Catholic” if it has a vibrant Catholic identity but it is not as strong academically as other local schools. Code of Canon Law 806 §2: “Directors of Catholic schools are to take care under the watchfulness of the local ordinary that the instruction which is given in them is at least as academically distinguished as that in the other schools in the area.” • Academic Excellence is not optional!
How can we know if we are excellent? • Test data (ITBS, ACT, MAP, AimsWeb, etc.) • Longitudinal tracking of academic growth • Graduation rates • Future success in high school (and/or college) • Testimonials from former students • AdvancED accreditation – QAR reports • Quality of teaching staff, educational resources, facilities • Performance in academic competitions • Comparison with other local schools
Illinois Interactive Report Card http://iirc.niu.edu
By the end of 2013, there will be 138.3 million tablet users in the United States — up an astonishing 52.6% from 90.7 million users in 2012; this number will grow to 262.1 million users by 2017. In 2015, more U.S. consumers will access the Internet using mobile devices than using PCs. Source: International Data Corporation (IDC)
Some questions for reflection • What instructional programs in the school can be considered innovative? • Are textbooks and other educational materials up-to-date? • How does the school meet special learning needs of students (both remedial and gifted)? • How are Catholic principles and values integrated into each of the academic subject areas? • How does the school track assessment data longitudinally to determine academic growth for both individual students and classroom cohorts? • How does the school know that its students receive challenging instructional content and achieve at high levels? • How does the school ensure that the curriculum is closely aligned to student assessment? • How are both formal and informal assessment results used to improve student academic performance and guide instructional decision making?
Some questions for reflection • What types of assessment data are communicated to parents? To parishioners? To prospective families? To the larger community? • How does the school utilize community resources to enrich its academic programs (e.g. local colleges/universities, business community)? • Is the technology available to teachers and students adequate for instructing today’s generation of students who are “digital natives”? • Does the school provide sustained professional development to teachers (training that continues over extended period to ensure deep learning)? • If classes are small (< 15 students), has the school implemented multiage instruction? Have teachers received training in multiage techniques? • What elective or enrichment programs are available in addition to the core courses (e.g. foreign language, fine & applied arts, robotics, etc.)? • Does the school extend its course offerings through blended learning or virtual instruction? • Do your students achieve at higher levels than other schools in the area (and how do you know)?