Catholic School?


#1

Good morning.

I’m not sure if this is the correct place to post my question, so I do apologize in advance if this is not the place.

My son is a first year student at our parish school. I love the teachers and I love the enviroment (vs. public school). Unfortunately, after many years of ignoring parent concerns there are many issues that have started coming to a head. Other parents that have spoken with the school board and beyond have been directed to speak with the bishop because the issues with the school and how they are solved is the sole responsiblity of the priest.

If your child attends a catholic school, how involved is your priest? Is he sympathic to the needs of children (health and sanitary issues)? Do the children fear him or is he well liked?

I am fearful that my son’s school will close. This year numerous families have start exploring other schools and parishes. I fear that if our priest does not listen, he will lose many families this year and the school nor the parish can afford the loss. We are a small school and a non-growing aging parish.

How do you address issues when the priest will not listen and you are told to write to the bishop? Is it better to have a collective group of parents write a letter(s) to the bishop? Has anyone gone through something like this?

Thank you in advance for your help.


#2

I think it depends on how your diocese and school board is set up.
Our school is mostly “run” by the principal, who reports up to the Diocese Superintendent.
Our parish priests participate in school activities, daily morning prayer, religion lessons, etc, etc, but they aren’t “responsible” for what goes on at the school. I think the pastor participates in hiring the principal, and the principal participates in the parish counsel to an extent… but really the school reports up through the diocese - at least in our case.

I don’t have any specific advice to your situation… but you have my prayers…


#3

[quote="mom2boys07, post:1, topic:231543"]
Good morning.

I'm not sure if this is the correct place to post my question, so I do apologize in advance if this is not the place.

My son is a first year student at our parish school. I love the teachers and I love the enviroment (vs. public school). Unfortunately, after many years of ignoring parent concerns there are many issues that have started coming to a head. Other parents that have spoken with the school board and beyond have been directed to speak with the bishop because the issues with the school and how they are solved is the sole responsiblity of the priest.

If your child attends a catholic school, how involved is your priest? Is he sympathic to the needs of children (health and sanitary issues)? Do the children fear him or is he well liked?

I am fearful that my son's school will close. This year numerous families have start exploring other schools and parishes. I fear that if our priest does not listen, he will lose many families this year and the school nor the parish can afford the loss. We are a small school and a non-growing aging parish.

How do you address issues when the priest will not listen and you are told to write to the bishop? Is it better to have a collective group of parents write a letter(s) to the bishop? Has anyone gone through something like this?

Thank you in advance for your help.

[/quote]

There should be a diocesan superintendent of schools in your diocese or something similar. The PTA or a group of parents may be better, IMHO, would best serve you, but at least you should start by contacting the diocese, and other parents can follow suite.


#4

I think it depends on how your diocese and school board is set up.
Our school is mostly "run" by the principal, who reports up to the Diocese Superintendent.
Our parish priests participate in school activities, daily morning prayer, religion lessons, etc, etc, but they aren't "responsible" for what goes on at the school. I think the pastor participates in hiring the principal, and the principal participates in the parish counsel to an extent... but really the school reports up through the diocese - at least in our case.

This is the case here in Baltimore as well. My son is a 4th grader in the same school I attended as a child. Our parish Priest is not very involved because he has other duties to attend to, however, if you have a serious issue with the Principal or the Administration, He is willing to meet with the parents and discuss it.

Our Seminarian is very involved. He teaches religion class 2x a week and the kids LOVE him. He is from the DR and they enjoy learning some spanish and cultural differences in the way we celebrate mass and the way mass is celebrated in the DR.

I would suggest going to your Archdiocese website and there should be a link to the catholic schools and from there you can e-mail the Superintendent or other administrator as needed.


#5

I think it depends on whether you are a true Parish school, or a diocesan "regional" school.

Our Pastor is not too involved in the day to day stuff, but oversees the budget and money matters, as well as approving the religious ed. curriculum. The kids like him, he is funny and easy-going. The principal reports to him technically, but I think he sort of protects his turf -- doesn't want him micromanaging.

The principal reports also to the Superintendent of the Diocese.

Just be prepared if you decide to complain to the Diocese. Things like that tend to stir up a lot of dust. Be sure that what you have to say is based on facts which are demonstrable, stay away from things that might seem like personality conflict or power struggles.

I think like-minded parents should each write their own letters, and I don't think you should "compare notes" too much. If a whole gang of parents approaches like that, it can sometimes take away from your cause -- it can seem like a mob attack, KWIM? Keep your comments limited to what you know to be true, first-hand. Hearsay is not usually helpful, unless you just keep it to "I am concerned about rumors I hear relating to ______."

And yes, I have first hand experience with this kind of thing. It has gotten very ugly at our school at times. Going up the ladder to complain to someone's higher-ups is not usually very well received, so be careful.


#6

[quote="StJudePray4Me, post:5, topic:231543"]
I think it depends on whether you are a true Parish school, or a diocesan "regional" school.

Our Pastor is not too involved in the day to day stuff, but oversees the budget and money matters, as well as approving the religious ed. curriculum. The kids like him, he is funny and easy-going. The principal reports to him technically, but I think he sort of protects his turf -- doesn't want him micromanaging.

The principal reports also to the Superintendent of the Diocese.

Just be prepared if you decide to complain to the Diocese. Things like that tend to stir up a lot of dust. Be sure that what you have to say is based on facts which are demonstrable, stay away from things that might seem like personality conflict or power struggles.

I think like-minded parents should each write their own letters, and I don't think you should "compare notes" too much. If a whole gang of parents approaches like that, it can sometimes take away from your cause -- it can seem like a mob attack, KWIM? Keep your comments limited to what you know to be true, first-hand. Hearsay is not usually helpful, unless you just keep it to "I am concerned about rumors I hear relating to ______."

And yes, I have first hand experience with this kind of thing. It has gotten very ugly at our school at times. Going up the ladder to complain to someone's higher-ups is not usually very well received, so be careful.

[/quote]

Unfortunately nothing can be done if the school closes. Depending on where you live schools are now either closing or consolidating.
Our school only has 59 children in it this year from PreK-8th grade combined. Sadly they are closing the 7th and 8th grade due to lack of enrollment because everyone around here sends their children to the public school. Why? I don't know because its the worst school in our area. Its bad and I mean bad. Poor education, poor enviroment ( extra curricular= having boyfriends and getting pregnant multiple times), there is no discipline. I could go on and on. Our tiny private school goes out of their way to help families whether they are not Catholic or not and they help families the first time they come ( I know some in the city require you to attend a year before they give financial help). We have a great school but its getting closer and closer to closing each year. We are even due to get a new Bishop and I really feel as soon as he sees the numbers they are going to close it.

Our tiny school is pretty self sustaining. We are fundraised up the ying yang, they recycle metals , and the church helps support it as well.
Our priest and deacon are really friendly and the kids love them. Everyone that knows them whether they are Catholic or not thinks very highly of them in our area. So we have no problem with that. The principle makes many of the decisions but honestly I'm not sure of the whole chain of command.Other then I know that Fr. Tom makes the final decision.

I will say I'm not at all happy with the 7th and 8th grade closing. But then again we've also homeschooled so I'm not afraid to do that. Its the other families that I'm concerned about , the ones who just completely dread sending their kids over to the high school.


#7

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