SJU Addresses Sustainability of Catholic Schools

Story Highlights

  • Saint Joseph’s University’s Center for Catholic Urban Education invited leadership from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Camden Diocese, 11 Catholic colleges and universities, and others, to Saint Joseph’s campus in November.
  • The CCUE is committed to continuing to provide a regular forum for communication, best practices and resource development for Catholic schools.
  • A follow-up to the November discussion is set for next Wednesday, January 18, from 2 to 4 p.m., in the Haub Executive Center of McShain Hall.

Center for Catholic Urban Education engages area stakeholders

Friday, January 13, 2012

As 49 area Catholic schools prepare to close, Saint Joseph’s University’s Center for Catholic Urban Education (CCUE) has been working to preserve the existence and effectiveness of Catholic education in the region. To formalize these efforts, the CCUE invited leadership from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Camden Diocese, 11 Catholic colleges and universities, along with the University of Pennsylvania’s Fox Leadership Program, four regional foundations, and the key scholarship funds that support children in Catholic schools, to Saint Joseph’s campus in November. The event, “A Roundtable Discussion of the Sustainability of High-Quality Catholic Education,” was co-hosted by Business Leadership for Catholic Schools (BLOCS), The Connelly Foundation and The Maguire Foundation.

The recently established CCUE is a division of the Educational Leadership Institute of Saint Joseph’s and is dedicated to the ongoing existence and sustainability of Catholic schools in urban areas. The Center champions Catholic education as an essential option for families committed to a values-based, quality education for their children. The CCUE is committed to continuing to provide a regular forum for communication, best practices and resource development for Catholic schools.

A follow-up to the November discussion is set for next Wednesday, January 18, from 2 to 4 p.m., in the Haub Executive Center of McShain Hall.

“We are very dedicated to offering our support, and we are making every effort to ensure that Catholic education thrives in our city and region,” says Robert Palestini, Ed.D., director of the CCUE and associate professor of education at Saint Joseph’s.

November’s roundtable discussion focused on gathering regional input on a final draft of The National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools. The document, produced by the Catholic Higher Education Collaborative (CHEC), is an effort to develop and implement national standards and benchmarks for Catholic elementary and secondary schools. Participants also shared initiatives already underway, discussed investments being made, and explored ways to integrate strategies for even greater outcomes in Catholic education. Working groups were developed to address both the need for an enhanced quality classroom experience and the over-arching strategic issues necessary for the sustainability and competitive edge of excellent schools. Next week’s discussion will continue the conversation begun in November. In addition, members of the leadership team of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office of Catholic Education are expected to attend and brief the group on school closings and plans for the future.

Daniel Joyce, S.J., assistant to the vice president for mission and identity and senior fellow at the CCUE adds, "Since Jesuit priest Robert Molyneaux established the first parochial school in Philadelphia in 1782 this has been a crucial educational sector in our region. Expanding the opportunities for the role of Catholic education in the 21st century is the vision offered by the roundtable participants."




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