In response to an ever-changing transitional kindergarten to 12th grade (TK-12) school landscape where demands are evolving constantly, and solutions often require unconventional ideas, in 2021 the administration of the Department of Catholic Schools ("DCS") was reorganized from a grade-level model to a TK-12 regional model.
Strategic and targeted supports for schools advance the department's ministry. Capacity building in areas such as professional development, leadership and faith formation, budget management, strategic planning, governance, and marketing play a critical role in supporting the vitality of the archdiocesan system of schools and student growth academically, socially, and spiritually.
DCS's service orientation and strategic thinking are now regionalized. Instead of separate and distinct teams divided by grade-levels, the department has a seamless TK-12 design. Regional teams and function area leaders plan, collaborate, and execute together, with the superintendent in the lead. This approach positions the department to be more locally responsive to schools and be a catalyst for high-impact outcomes for all students.
The DCS redesign focused on three key shifts: 1) Transitioning from grade-level to regional teams; 2) Formation of function area teams; and 3) Expansion of investment in high-impact programs and initiatives:
Regional teams: Regional teams serving TK-12 in the five pastoral regions of the archdiocese are led by a regional superintendent and supported by an assistant regional superintendent and administrative staff. The teams are organized to create a seamless approach to increase administrative, educational, and staff capacity at schools, to promote problem-solving, and to enhance results the entire school community. The teams also assist schools in assuring a safe environment for the school community.
Function area leaders: Inspired by the four pillars for Catholic education established by the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS), DCS has established four function areas, led by a DCS administrator. Currently, the function area leaders focus on: 1) leadership and governance, 2) Mission and Catholic identity; 3) academic affairs; and 4) operational vitality.