Saint Patrick School

Strategic Planning

January 23, 2018

St. Patrick School, Parnell

Strategic Planning: Community Forum

Thirty School Parents/Parishioners Participated

 Current Direction

(Snapshot of current status of St. Patrick School)

Academics/Enrollment/Space

  • Strong focus on the learning environment
  • Increased resources
  • Cooperative learning environment where older students interact with younger students (peer/mentor examples)
  • School enrollment has more than doubled over past seven years
  • Waiting list for preschool and first grades
  • Near capacity; School building space a major concern moving forward

 

Community

  • Support from church community
  • Pastor and principal are integral to parish/school community
  • Strong Catholic atmosphere
  • Long/deep parish heritage

 

Pastor

  • Involved with students/aware of activities
  • Pastor holds students accountable/involves them in church – connects with them
  • A visible presence at and around school
  • Knows all the students
  • Weekday student Mass

 

Principal

    • Interactive and strong relationships with teachers
    • Strives for more
    • Considers each individual student
    • Easy, direct access to him
    • Fiscally responsible
    • Problem solver

 

 

Trends

(Economic, political, social, religious, etc., that may impact our school)

Economy

  • Strong or weak economy impacts choice of private schools/paying for tuition
  • Many two-income families
  • Many families save for college, not to pay for private elementary education

 

Politics

  • Very limited federal funding for private schools

 

Social

  • Secularization of society
  • Speed of technological change – keeping safe while keeping current social media
  • People are working hard to maintain their quality of life

 

Religious

  • Gender issues
  • Religious intolerance

 

Educational

    • Remote/virtual learning growing in popularity
    • Online learning integrated into classrooms
    • Increasing need for special education services
    • High expectations for educational facilities

 

Competitive Landscape

(What competes for our audiences’ attention/choice of St. Patrick School?)

  • New Catholic school opening in Ada – not an immediate threat, but not to be ignored – a school with services we don’t have
  • “Free” schools compared with tuition-based education
  • Virtual schools
  • Schools with tax deductions and incentives
  • Society’s values of materialism (i.e., spend money on vacation/things rather than education)
  • Expectation of public high school (the idea that kids need to leave in middle school to get “ready” for public school)
  • Some may anticipate feeling unwelcome coming from public school to private school (i.e., private school feels elite/clique)
  • Home schooling
  • Economic conditions
  • Personal finances
  • Local school competitors: Our Lady of Consolation, Lowell, Assumption

 

Catholic School Practices

(How is St. Patrick typical and atypical of other nearby schools?)

Typical

  • Parental involvement
  • Structure/education staff
  • Sports program
  • Child care
  • Community support
  • Extra-curricular

 

Atypical

  • High parental involvement/support
  • Catholic curriculum
  • New Catholic school curriculum standards beginning 18/19 school year
  • High academic expectations and test scores
  • Strong PTO
  • Band program
  • School uniforms
  • Cooperation between public and Catholic community (typical in Michigan)
  • Pre K–8 on one campus
  • High priest/principal involvement
  • Unique location
  • Long history

 

Critical Realities

(Issues affecting our work)

  • Location – cover a widespread geographic area; rural isolation
  • Lack of racial diversity; homogeneous population
  • Broad economic diversity – need to address resources for lower incomes
  • Fluctuating political environment may cause changes in school (i.e., laws, tax status)
  • Fast-moving technology and cost of those changes
  • Building project currently in progress
  • Faith formation desired by only certain people – reduces student pool
  • A new Catholic school in 2018-19
  • Aging facility – cost to repair/maintain current building
  • Most high schoolers go to public school due to cost/distance of Catholic HS

 

SWOT

 

Strengths (Have and Want) Weaknesses (Have and Don’t Want)
  • Family atmosphere
  • Small class sizes; favorable student/teacher ratio
  • Strong Catholic environment
  • Strong parish and pastor support
  • Excellent principal, great teachers
  • Every day band
  • Small feel of school
  • Adaptable learning environment, incorporate technology
  • Technology program
  • Strong academics, test scores
  • Willingness/supportive to seek or adopt tools needed
  • Loving atmosphere
  • Lack of adequate transportation
  • Not enough space for growing population
  • Not enough enrichment opportunities (Robotics, gifted curriculum, etc.)
  • Lack of volunteers
  • Lack of hot lunch program
  • Not enough kindergarten spots for all students
  • Shortage of staff and structure for enrollment growth
Opportunities (Don’t Have and Want) Threats (Don’t Have and Don’t Want)
  • Additional space/larger learning environment
  • Additional sports support for younger and existing teams plus new opportunities for younger grades
  • Hot lunch program
  • Better transportation – focus on kids/families outside of area; carpooling options facilitated by school
  • Look into more specially trained staff for children who require extra help
  • Stronger computer program
  • Plan for incremental tuition increases
  • Remote learning opportunities
  • Diocesan-provided services
  • New schools in area
  • New priest who doesn’t support school
  • Class sizes growing too large
  • Intolerance of others who are different
  • Change in leadership
  • Insufficient funds
  • Attempting to grow too large
  • Internet issues
  • School violence
  • Lack of passion/enthusiasm of staff/principal/pastor
  • Debt

 

Describe the 3 best things about St. Patrick School

 

Classroom size 12
Catholic teaching/faith environment 10
Teachers/staff 10
Strong leadership 9
Strong academics and Catholic teachings/identity 8
Community atmosphere/welcoming/supportive 8
Principal/priest 7
History 4
Relationship between church and school/parish involvement 4
Family atmosphere 4
Staff, leadership, parents, students 4
Learning environment 2
Location and setting 2
Playground 1
Accessibility of leadership 1
Board and PTO 1
Parent-based programs 1
Family and alumni network and support 1
Inspirational – changed view of private education 1
Engagement of volunteers/community 1
Professional communication and updates (email, website, app) 1

 

Describe the 3 things that need the most improvement about St. Patrick School

 

Lack of physical space/need for more space and improve aging facilities 18
Continue improvement of high learning standards/options for additional curriculum, programming 7
Need more volunteers (parental/board member involvement and accountability) 6
Improve communication of volunteer needs, other available activities, fundraising (beyond Shamrock – use other lines of communication); extend to parish to grow support of school by non-school parishioners 6
Improve transportation and pick-up line logistics to ease congestion 6
Maintain athletic programs/parent volunteers for these/opportunities for younger kids 5
Continue small class sizes 5
Conduct more strategic planning for growth and sustainability 3
Maintain reasonable tuition costs (consider endowment, aid or assistance); long-range tuition plan 3
Establish foundation as potential income source/staff development use 3
Add hot lunch program 3
Create a place for everyone; better programs that address student development needs 2
Offer more extra-curriculars 1
Continue Catholic identity focus (growing) 1
Promote diversity of thought and perspective 1
Give parish more access to the school; make current experience better 1
Connect parents/families outside of school (directory) 1
Offer mentoring activities between older/younger students 1
Involve parents – whole family faith activities outside of the school 1
Air conditioning 1
Enforce current uniform standard 1
Improve male/female ratio 1
Better equip teachers with supplies for classroom 1
Provide flexible and personalized responses to situations 1
Decide who we are: expand, larger school and class size, or small school with cap on class size 1
Seek more involvement/empowerment as school and community grow 1
Increase staff development opportunities and support 1
Offer opportunities for student involvement in community; “real life” experience; connecting with local Franciscans, Carmelites, Trinitarians 1
Increase administration pay 1
Consolidate the many small fundraisers into a few big fundraisers 1

 


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