Listen, Dialogue, Plan, Act: Catholic School Leadership and Family Engagement

    The 2015 Catholic Education Summit connected teachers, principals, and superintendents around issues of leadership and family engagement as we adapt and change with social, educational, and religious flux.  As Pope Francis visits the United States for the first time and presides over the World Meeting of  Families, exploring family engagement in Catholic schools was a timely topic for movement in our Church and education ministry.  Leadership also seems to be an urgent consideration on the minds of many as baby boomers retire and millennials bring energy and technological expertise to our schools while respecting traditions of excellence.

    image of ces 2015Over 150 participated at the University of Dayton’s River Campus with others joining the dynamic presentations and conversations virtually.   As the fourth in the series of Catholic Education Summits, it is invigorating to see familiar faces and greet others for the first time to this crucible of provocative topics and discussions.  A staple of participation remains in the attendance of our Lalanne teachers.  The questions and observations they bring as the newest members of the Catholic education community grant hope and encouragement for renewal and growth in academic excellence and faith formation of our students in P-12 Catholic schools.

    Themes generated by questions and paths to empowering parents were proliferated by our presenters.  We are called to see our families as sometimes in need of healing, as having wisdom, and of accepting evangelization from their children through initiatives in our schools.  In addition, we are called to accept all families through dispositions that invite them to be partners in the education of their children and to provide steps needed by families in poverty to move forward in enjoying a better life.  We were reminded to appreciate the gifts all families bring to our schools.

    “Who will lead and how shall we lead in Catholic education?” were essential questions posed by our presenters and considered by engaged Summit attendees.  The call to formation in faith and adherence to mission for Catholic school teachers and administrators are noted in the National Standards and   Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools, and practical means to integrate these were among the issues and lessons learned and shared by some of our presenters.  Participants gained a better understanding of why a strategic plan is required as well as the preliminary steps to create and follow such a plan to fruition.  Calls for servant leadership and shared leadership to empower teachers were heard.

    Sister Angela Ann Zukowski set the stage and concluded the presentations as she echoed Pope Francis’ call to accompany families, administrators, teachers and students on the journey.  There is great need for healing in our school community and in our world.  It is in seeing Christ in each other that we have energy for the journey, hope, and learning.

    Check out photos from the summit >>