Cruisin’ through Catholic Schools Week

Every day, all through the school year, there are reasons to celebrate education in the diocese.

Student awards in academics and the arts. Sporting accomplishments. Faculty honors. Commitment to the faith. Stewardship efforts. Inclusion and leadership.

Every school has so many reasons to be proud, and grateful to the parishes and communities that support them, it would be impossible to thank them all.

But the schools try.

Each year during Catholic Schools Week, the days are packed with events to express gratitude. See below for just a few of the many photos schools shared with The Miscellany for Catholic Schools Week.

And while the celebrations continue, the diocesan Office of Education works quietly behind the scenes to help all 34 schools succeed.

Part of that work is the continued implementation of a targeted and cohesive plan to revitalize and strengthen the schools in the diocese. The vision and plan, crafted by the Catholic Schools Task Force, was formally accepted and approved by Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone in early 2016. Since then, the Diocesan School Advisory Council and its committees have worked to implement the revitalization recommendations.

All photos provided. Top photo, St. Gregory the Great in Bluffton. See more below.

Schools continue to roll on revitalization efforts

Below is a list, compiled by Sheila Durante, of items being addressed this school year, which is the third year of implementation:

Mission and Catholic Identity:

Recommendations implemented:

  • A revised religion/social teaching curriculum
  • A plan on pastor support, with financial emphasis, submitted to the curia and Presbyteral council
  • Retreat offerings for the formation of students, faculty and parishioners given by the Diocesan Missionary team (youth) and Formation for Ministry led by Sister Kathy Adamski

Recommendations worked on but not yet implemented:

  • A survey via Hispanic Ministry initiated but put on hold. Meanwhile, Father Joe Corporo and Notre Dame have provided education on outreach to Hispanic families related to schools
  • Connection with Catholic universities: There is no specific school-based action, but Catholic Extension grant has a data base to connect graduating seniors to campus ministers at their colleges and universities.
  • Looking at ways to connect with rural parishes

Recommendations to be worked on during the school year:

  • Asking the bishop to approve and send a survey to pastors and parishes that was developed by the Mission and Catholic Identity Committee
  • Creating a focus on families for activities, retreats and service as families
  • Developing promotional videos and using technology to promote Catholic schools; actively encourage Bicentennial Capital Campaign donors to specify Catholic schools on their donation

Governance and Leadership:

Recommendations implemented:

  • Updated the Pastors and Administrators Handbook, which will be located on the principals website during the 2018-2019 school year
  • Created an exit interview for pastors/superintendents to use for exiting principals. Currently being reviewed by the Human Resources Department
  • Changed the title of Director of Education to Superintendent
  • Created the Diocesan Advisory Council
  • Established a two-year long “New Principals Program”
  • Established an “Aspiring Leadership Program”

Recommendations worked on but not yet implemented

  • Many schools have been working with the diocesan technology consultant on new technologies for this school year. It appears to have a positive impact financially for the schools in purchasing new equipment.  This will be an ongoing process as schools update their technology.
  • A plan is being devised for seminarians to visit parishes/parish schools while on break

Recommendations to be worked on during the school year:

  • Will consider ways for best practices to be shared from school to school, principal to principal, and diocese to principal/school
  • Sending Diocesan Advisory Council Members to regional/deanery schools to visit local School Advisory Council members and update them on goals/tasks of the Diocesan Advisory Council

Academic Excellence

Recommendations implemented:

  • A Teacher Mentoring Handbook that forms the framework and baseline strategies for supporting Catholic school administrators, mentors, new teachers, new-to-school teachers, and new staff members to successfully navigate the first year in a new school environment
  • The Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Collaborative for Academic Excellence Program at all schools
  • Training for teachers, principals, and pastors on the basics of educating special needs learners; a final draft of the “Special Needs Survey” to disseminate to principals was completed
  • Ensuring accountability for timely creation of Student Assistance Plans (SAP)

Recommendations worked on but not yet implemented:

  • Connecting technology integration in schools in conjunction with the Leadership & Governance committee

Recommendations to be worked on during the school year:

  • Monitoring and supporting the pilot implementation of the Teacher Mentoring Handbook developing a set of strategies to implement the Teacher Mentoring Handbook diocesan-wide
  • The Special Needs Survey will be distributed through the Superintend of Schools in the fall and the committee will analyze the responses to determine salient trends and inform the identification of goals, strategies and initiatives
  • Monitor and support the pilot implementation of the Student Assistance Plans protocols at a target school in the diocese. The results of the pilot, along with the analysis of the Special Needs Survey, will inform a set of strategies to implement the SAP protocol diocesan-wide.

Operational Vitality

Recommendations implemented:

  • Marketing and financial strategies are being explored for two diocesan high schools
  • Development of a formal philanthropic strategy to maximize fundraising efforts across constituent groups is in place and evaluated as successful

Recommendations worked on but not yet implemented:

  • A financial plan to deliver a standardized parish subsidy was studied and a recommendation has been made regarding this process
  • An assessment of school facilities is completed, which will aid in ensuring the schools provide the environment needed to deliver excellent academic and faith leadership

Recommendations to be worked on during the school year:

  • Developing an effective and efficient integrated communication strategy using a combination of traditional and digital media
  • Minimizing operational expenses by developing diocesan-wide purchasing, marketing, and operational efforts, while maintaining seamless implementation at the school level
  • Understanding enrollment, retention, revenue and expense trends by school and comparing them to national and regional best practices
Bishop England High School on Daniel Island
Charleston Catholic in Charleston
Holy Trinity in Longs
John Paul II in Ridgeland
Nativity on James Island
Our Lady of Peace in North Augusta
St. Gregory the Great in Bluffton
St. Anthony in Florence
St. Joseph in Anderson
St. Martin de Porres in Columbia

St. Mary Help of Christians in Aiken
St. Peter in Beaufort


St. Peter in Columbia


St. Anne in Rock Hill


St. John in North Charleston
St. Michael in Murrells Inlet


Summerville Catholic in Summerville
St. Mary in Greenville