St. Rita School—A Plan for the 21st Century Fall, 2015 – Spring, 2020
GOAL 1: STRENGTHENING CATHOLIC IDENTITY
Action 1: The Teaching and Assessment of Religion
The teaching of religion at St. Rita School, grounded in the gospel, the Catholic intellectual tradition and focused on the person of Jesus Christ, will represent the identity of the school community.
Task 1: A rigorous religion curriculum, keyed to WCEA accreditation standards and to the standards published by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles with scope, sequence and learning outcomes from Transitional K-8 will be taught and assessed.
Task 2: All teachers of religion will be certified as catechists according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles policy.
Action 2: Cultivating Faith-Filled and Formative Communities
St. Rita School, in collaboration with parents an all stakeholders, will foster and promote a strong school/parish community, rooted in faith and love that will form students for discipleship, service, and responsible citizenship. The pastor is the canonically appointed leader and the primary faith leader of the school, which is a ministry of the parish; the principal is delegated by the pastor as the appointed leader to be the faith leader in the school.
Task 1: As faith leader within the school, the principal will promote the Catholic identity and faith traditions of St. Rita School throughout the campuses and the academic year, e.g. through art work and the celebration of feasts and seasons.
Task 2: As academic leader of the school, the principal will ensure that the school’s curriculum and activities include the teaching and practice of prayer, the centrality of the Sunday Eucharist, and the responsibility to live one’s faith in the public arena, especially on behalf of the poor and vulnerable.
Task 3:The principal will schedule times and commit resources for retreat and reflection as an opportunity for teachers, staff, and students to deepen their faith, their spirituality, and their sense of community.
Action 3: Stewardship and Service Learning
Aligned with the religion curriculum, a program of service learning on behalf of the community and parish, infused with the principles of stewardship and Catholic moral and social teaching, will be regularly assessed as a means of teaching students the importance and the ways of building a more just and humane society, locally, nationally and internationally.
Task 1:Teaching stewardship through service and through reflection on the principles of Catholic moral and social teaching will be integrated into the daily school life of all students.
Task 2: Each grade will have a plan for incorporating service learning into the curriculum that involves all students in service to each other, to the parish or the local community.
Task 3: The effectiveness of the service-learning programs will be assessed by the teachers and principals.
Task 4: With the help of Mission Childhood Association, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services, St. Rita School will participate in charity programs in this country and around the world.
Action 4: Certification and Continuing Formation for Teachers of Religion
In accordance with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, St. Rita School will provide programs of continuing formation for teachers of religion and principals in service to the mission of Catholic schools, including continuing formation in the Catholic intellectual tradition and Catholic moral and social teaching.
Task 1:Retreats will be available to principals and to teachers of religion to assist them in developing their call to be faith formation leaders and catechists in their school and school communities.
Task 2: Presentations on units of the religion curriculum that will fulfill requirements for continuing certification will be offered to all teachers such as Religious Education Congress, Dayton University and The Sophia Institute.
Action 5: Strengthening Ties between the School and the Wider Catholic Community
In collaboration with the pastor, the principal will seek ways to strengthen the teaching and faith formation within the school and parish.
Task 1: Since St. Rita School is integral to the teaching and evangelizing mission of the parish, parish financial support for St. Rita School along with moral support and endorsement through pulpit announcements, the bulletin, letters from the pastor, and other means will continue to strengthen the ties between the school and parish community.
Task 2: The school Parent Teacher Organization will assist the parish ministries with stewardship within the parish and the school.
Task 3: In cooperation with the Los Angeles Archdiocese Office of Vocations, the principal and teachers will promote vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
GOAL 2: EXCELLENT CURRICULA, TEACHERS, AND SCHOOL LEADERS
Action 1: Updating Curricula
Drawing on the expertise of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles Department of Catholic Schools Excellence Committee, St. Rita School principal, teachers and staff, will update curricula and learning outcomes to meet and exceed L.A. Archdiocesan (District) and Common Core State Standards throughout topics that are pertinent to Catholic schools.
Task 1: All subjects of the curriculum will be reviewed on a recurring schedule, ensuring that they meet and exceed the District and CCSS standards while serving the needs of an academically diverse student population.
Task 2: As curricula in all subjects are updated, Student Learning Expectations will be integrated into every subject following in the Catholic intellectual tradition inclusive of Catholic moral and social teaching.
Action 2: Innovative Programs
St. Rita School will identify “innovative programs” in TK-8 that align with the school mission and philosophy and the Los Angeles Archdiocesan Department of Catholic Schools.
Task 1: St. Rita School will develop and publish learning outcomes and other expectations for the curricula of innovative programs to ensure that they meet the L.A. Archdiocesan (District) standards.
Task 2: St. Rita School will follow Archdiocesan criteria for adopting innovative programs, such as “readiness” and “sustainability” requirements for faculty professional development.
Action 3: Co-Curricular Programs
St. Rita School will follow L.A. Archdiocesan and Deanery standards of excellence for a range of strong, attractive, co-curricular programs and to promote opportunities for inter-school activities, and tournaments.
Task 1: In consultation with the superintendent of Catholic schools, the assistant superintendent of Catholic schools and principals in the deaneries within San Gabriel region, St. Rita School will ascertain interest in promoting inter-school tournaments for a range of co-curricular activities such as speech and debate tournaments, science fairs, spelling bees and programs that focus on communities in the United States, international issues, global awareness, and Catholic social teaching.
Task 2: In consultation with the teachers and staff of St. Rita School who are experienced in specific activities, the principal will support the best practices for establishing and promoting specific co-curricular activities within the school.
Action 4: Alignment of Elementary and High School Curricula
Strategies and procedures will be followed for aligning the St. Rita School curriculum from TK – 8 with the Catholic high schools.
Task 1: St. Rita administration and teachers will continue articulation with the Catholic high schools regarding subject-based requirements, assessments, financial support and the transition from elementary to secondary education within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
Task 2: St. Rita School will identify and track diverse learning needs of students and develop strategies and mechanisms to successfully transition students from the elementary to the secondary level.
Action 5: Accountability Through Assessment
For the purpose of assessing and improving learning, St. Rita School will follow the Archdiocesan policy of a common test for assessing student achievement of common curriculum learning expectations and religion.
Task 1: The principal will support the purpose and uses of assessment to determine student mastery of subjects and grade levels.
Task 2: The teachers and staff will follow the assessment instrument in planning for student growth and for assessing the religion curriculum of St. Rita School.
Action 6: Integrating Curriculum and Information Technology
With advice and consultation from teachers, stakeholders and outside experts, St. Rita School will maintain a Curriculum and Information Technology committee (CIT) to develop instructional strategies, professional development programs, ethical guidelines, and implementation resources to promote and make accessible personalized learning, blended learning, and other curriculum models to ensure a 21st century.
Task 1: The CIT will have the following mission:
- Survey current practices in Catholic elementary education
- Promote personalized learning, professional development of teachers and a phased strategy for implementation.
- Provide and oversee ethical guidelines for the use of technology.
- Provide the framework, criteria, and tools to assess the mastery of all students.
- Promote and support professional development opportunities for how to use technology for improving pedagogy and operations
- Annual evaluation of the implementation of technology for instruction to show growth and achievement of the standards for all students
Task 2: St. Rita School will support a “Professional Learning Community” forum for collaboration and support of current instructional technology and new implementation options when aligning instruction to the individualized needs of students.
Action 7: Hiring and Evaluation Policies
Los Angeles Archdiocesan policies and procedures will ensure that all teachers and principals are professionally certified, experts in teaching, and engaged in an ongoing program of professional development.
Task 1: St. Rita School will follow archdiocesan policy for identifying and hiring qualified and certified teachers who are active Catholics, committed to the mission of Catholic schools.
Task 2: St. Rita School administration will participate in archdiocesan professional development for principals/vice-principals to ensure that the school leaders are well versed in the mission of Catholic education and skillful at the administration of policies and the development of faculty.
Task 3: The administration will follow archdiocesan procedures for the formative and summative assessment of teachers and staff.
Action 8: Professional and Leadership Development
St. Rita School will seek high-quality programs for professional, leadership, and faith development of teachers and staff, adapted to their respective levels of experience and stages of development.
Task 1: A program of professional development that fosters leadership and faith development will be designed around common goals and distinct needs.
Task 2: St. Rita School will implement the archdiocesan resources and information among teachers in such areas as:
- Instructional resources
- Training for technology
- Differentiated instruction
- Pedagogy for teaching religion
- Best practices and ideas in teaching and assessment
- Resources for providing co-curricular programs
- Resources for teaching diversified learners, and ideas
Curriculum standards, instructional best practices to serve diverse learners, and resources for teaching and operations.
Task 8: The principal will provide teachers and staff a handbook describing the responsibilities of their role and the resources available.
GOAL 3: AN ACCESSIBLE AND WELCOMING COMMUNITY
Action 1: Enrollment Management
St. Rita School will develop goals and strategies for meeting enrollment and retention goals according to the archdiocesan policies.
Task 1: St. Rita School will develop targets for optimal enrollment with plans for achieving them and for maximizing the retention of current families through all levels of Catholic education.
Task 2: St. Rita School will develop marketing and development to assess enrollment and the impact of unfilled seats on their mission and their budgets.
Task 3: St. Rita School will develop strategies for parish leaders to promote St. Rita School to the parish community and encourage parish enrollment in the school.
Task 4: The principal will work with the pastor and ministry leaders to establish an annual giving program that is posted on the parish and school web site. The funds will be allocated for the financial support of parents who seek a Catholic education for their children.
Task 4: St. Rita School will promote and expand communication from the school to the parish and to the surrounding communities.
Task 5: St. Rita administration will enlist current parents/families for recruiting and mentoring programs to serve as peer marketers among prospective/new families.
Action 2: Technology in Support of Students
St. Rita School will seek and support resources to ensure teacher, staff and student access to affordable and effective information systems.
Task 1: The administration will budget for the procurement and implementation of hardware and software that is current and compatible with the infrastructure and the best practices for seeking and hiring service providers. Network and information security will meet the archdiocesan Security policy.
Task 2: St. Rita School will use the best practices for security of the classrooms campuses and offices that will provide students and teachers with a safe school and peaceful environment.