By Kathy Almazol
Superintendent of Schools
The school year 2017-18 will begin with new directives that flow from the Task Force recommendations to Bishop McGrath this past spring. The Task Force recommended three directions to be addressed concurrently: a governance change for elementary schools, financial support across all parishes for Catholic schools, and a restructure of elementary school design to meet the changes in education today.
Bishop McGrath has focused on this first recommendation regarding governance of the elementary schools for the school year 2017-2018. The Department of Education begins a shared governance model with six school principals this year. The six pastors agreed to work in collaboration with their principal and the superintendent’s office to refine this model to work effectively in the Diocese of San Jose. The principals have long asked for more support to do their ever-increasing role as leaders of the school community. The Department of Education will provide more direct services to schools involved in the shared governance model by meeting more often with the principal, and measuring their goals based on a reliable tool called, The Four Dimensions of Instructional Leadership, out of the Center for Educational Leadership for principal support and supervision.
Additionally, all schools will be replacing the Teacher Performance Appraisal with the Five Dimensions of Teaching and Learning (5D+) out of the Center for Educational Leadership effective the 2017-2018 school year. This tool has clearly delineated dimensions that allow for concrete data collection and ongoing support for professional development and growth. Principals have asked for a more effective appraisal tool for teachers for the past several years.
In order to accomplish this work, Superintendent Kathy Almazol hired an Associate Superintendent for Marketing and Enrollment in early summer. Chyrise King joins Kim Shields, Associate Superintendent for Curriculum and Catholic Identity and Dr. Tara Rolle, Associate Superintendent for Instruction and Executive Director of the Drexel system of schools. This team will be offering three tiers of support; Drexel Schools, Diocesan Schools and Parish Schools. We are excited about the new model and the opportunity to work closely with principals and pastors to provide intensive oversight for our teachers and leaders.
Bishop McGrath has summed up our path forward in these words: “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!”
Thank you for the trust you place in us as we train, support and accompany our teachers and leaders in Catholic education. Remember us in your prayers as we welcomed our new and returning students and families on August 17.