Superintendent of Schools
This week Catholic Schools open their doors wide to all the new students and families choosing Catholic education in the Diocese of San Jose. Bishop McGrath stated in his welcome back letter to the community:
“Our Catholic Elementary Schools, in particular, are at a crossroad. The old methods have run their course, even as we strain to adopt new ways of strengthening leadership and teaching. What occurs in the Catholic School classroom today barely resembles the same place just five years ago!”
This statement embodies much of what we have been doing this summer to prepare for the coming year. We have trained over a hundred teachers from several schools at our Tech Camp at Santa Clara University (SCU) in June. At camp the teachers learned how to use a variety of educational applications designed to deliver effective and individualized lessons for students. The Tech Camp allowed teachers to get a refresher in using tech for teaching and also to earn certification if they are in a Drexel School. The Academy of Blended Learning operated through the Center for Professional Development at SCU provides the technicians and the practitioners to instruct our teachers and administrators.
Proficiency certificates are earned over a three-year period
We have nine schools as part of the Drexel system of schools. These schools use a specific instructional model called to deliver lessons. Students are rotated through three stations in a very intentional way for reading and math. Students in Drexel Schools are assessed and measured against their own learning growth three times a year. The data collected is shared with the individual school site and with the nine schools together. We have been using this model for four school years and have data to show the effectiveness of the instructional model.
The nine schools are: Holy Spirit, Most Holy Trinity, Saint Patrick, Saint Clare, Saint Joseph in Mountain View, and Resurrection. Three more schools are entering the model this year: Saint Mary in Gilroy, Saint Mary in Los Gatos, and Saint Elizabeth Seton in Palo Alto. Schools interested in this model are asked to meet with Dr. Tara Rolle, Associate Superintendent, to understand the commitment. Agreement of all stakeholders must be in place to join this model: Bishop, Department of Education, pastor, principal, teachers, and the community of the local school.
We just finished another cohort of Ethics Camp for Catholic schoolteachers through the Markkula Center at SCU. This program was designed by Professor Steven Johnson to introduce our teachers to the meaning of “teaching in a Catholic school.”
Every new teacher in our Catholic schools is required to complete four days of camp. Father Tony Mancuso and Steve Johnson are the primary instructors. It is a wonderful way for our new teachers to get to know each other. After all, this work is not just about secular subjects. Our teachers are the spiritual role models in the classroom for our students. We want to prepare our teachers with the best practices for teaching religion courses as well as instructing students in the teachings of our Catholic faith.
Ethics Camp is an opportunity for teachers to revisit their own faith story and learn to share it with their peers and then their students and families.
Our elementary schools are ready for a robust year of teaching and learning. Every teacher in our schools has the proper credentials to teach in California. We are proud of the many teachers seeking graduate degrees in order to provide the most updated instructional practice. Teaching is a very demanding yet rewarding job, and we are proud of each and every one of our practitioners in elementary and high schools.
We have three new principals this year: Jan Popolizio at Saint Nicholas School, Ryan Roth at Saint Simon School, and Maeve Hannon at Holy Family. We also welcomed Chyrise King, Associate Superintendent for Marketing and Enrollment, into the Department of Education. Please join me in welcoming these leaders to our schools and to our Diocese.
Thank you, our loyal stakeholders! We are grateful to you for your prayerful support each and every year. If you are interested in visiting a school in your neighborhood don’t hesitate to call us at (408) 983-0185 and Caitlin Lollis will assist you in your search.
God bless you and your families.