The Diocese of Buffalo on Wednesday unveiled its new vision for Catholic elementary schools. Titled "Faith in Tomorrow," the strategic plan provides a detailed course of action to strengthen Catholic education and help secure the future success and viability of elementary schools located throughout the eight counties of Western New York.
Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, bishop of Buffalo, said this plan will ensure the continuation of the tremendous strides the department of Catholic Schools has made under the leadership of Carol Kostyniak, secretary for Catholic education, and Dr. Rosemary Henry, superintendent of Catholic schools.
"Faith in Tomorrow' represents the new vision for Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Buffalo as well as my unwavering commitment to the education of our children, which I believe is among the most important missions of the Catholic Church and diocese today," said Kmiec. "It is a covenant that will result in stronger schools, better educational opportunities and will make our Catholic schools even more appealing to parents, students and educators."
Kostyniak said the new vision encompasses a data-driven, comprehensive plan with clear, measurable targets for the continued success and sustainability of Catholic schools in the diocese.
"As we implement this plan, we will transform the entire operation of the Catholic school network by right-sizing the number of school buildings we currently have, improving the financial stability of our schools, upgrading technology and facilities, and much, much more," said Kostyniak. "This is a living, breathable document that will foster a community-based approach to affecting critical, positive change to important components of Catholic education that will stabilize and eventually grow enrollment. Like any strategic plan, we create it for now. As we move forward, it will be continually updated."
The document identifies key actions and goals for the transformation of Catholic elementary schools, as identified by nine committees representing seven key result areas.
These key areas are: Catholic identity, organizational structure and leadership, finances, academic excellence, marketing and communications, facilities and transportation, and health and human services.
Among the strategies that will be implemented:
•Each school will engage in a process of comprehensive self-evaluation and action to discern and strengthen the lived experience of Catholic identity for their entire faith community.
•An educational consortium of 10 to 15 urban, suburban and rural elementary schools will be established to develop and pilot an innovative organizational structure for Catholic elementary schools to reduce competition, increase accountability and provide an economic benefit among participating schools.
•Available funds for tuition assistance will be expanded.
•Community partnerships that enrich health and human services for all school communities will be researched and expanded.
•Educational partnerships will be established among elementary, secondary, college, university and seminary leaders, to develop new programs and initiatives to strengthen and expand curricular and instructional programs.