This summer is a particularly busy one for many of our Catholic schools, given the exciting developments taking place.
One such change is the addition of our new interim Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Barbara Edmondson. Dr. Edmondson is a seasoned educator, having served as principal at one of our finest schools, School of the Incarnation in Gambrills, since 2000, and St. Ambrose School in the Archdiocese of Washington for the previous five years. Dr. Edmondson brings a wealth of knowledge, educational experience and system familiarity to the position and will, no doubt, most ably guide our schools during this pivotal transition year. You can read more about Dr. Edmondson in Matt Palmer’s article on Page 3.
In the meantime, the search committee, led by Dr. Mary Pat Seurkamp, President of the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, will continue its work to identify the individual best suited to head the Department of Schools for the long-term. We feel strongly that the position is so important and critical to the success of our school system that we must be deliberate and thorough in our search. With a strategic plan in place and committed teachers and enthusiastic benefactors, we are confident that we will have an opportunity to choose from the best educators in the United States to guide our schools during this new era in Catholic education in our Archdiocese.
Equally exciting is the opening of our newest school, Holy Angels Catholic School. A fresh sign on Caton Avenue heralds the opening of Holy Angels, which will be located at Seton Keough High School. The 157,000-square-foot building is undergoing construction all summer and will be ready to welcome students at its Sept. 3 open house, according to principal, Kathleen Filippelli. You may hear Filippelli’s voice on the radio this summer or see her and her teachers, as well as those from other schools, at events such as Artscape and the Maryland State Fair.
In addition, billboards and radio ads (courtesy of Dan Schuster) were due to begin this week announcing several of our own Catholic school bus lines in Baltimore. Meanwhile telephone banks continue from central offices in an effort to encourage and facilitate enrollments into our receiving schools. We are committed to providing transportation to assist families in overcoming a significant obstacle for registering their child in a Catholic school and are grateful to Schuster for his contributions of time and money in helping us meet this important goal.
Making our schools more accessible is an important goal of the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Committee on Catholic Schools. I have asked our Office of School Planning & Implementation to create a plan for these recommendations by Nov. 1. As I wrote a few weeks ago, I continue to study the plan and welcome your comments and suggestions. Not every recommendation may be adopted as written, but the plan has been accepted and I have every confidence that once implemented, it will guide our schools through a period of growth and renewal.
There is great enthusiasm in the school system for the exciting academic programs we’ve announced: PRIDE Plus, Dual Language, New American Academy and Montessori. We have entered into a partnership with a company that will provide not only school accreditation, but system-wide reviews that will ensure accountability and drive efficiency and success. Mostly, we have dedicated and excellent teachers who love our students, believe in Catholic schools and change lives every day for the better.
We’ve endeavored to record some of the stories of students, parents and others who have witnessed this life-changing difference. You can view their stories on our website, www.archbalt.org/aplacetogrow.
I hope you will become as excited about the next school year as we are. Enjoy the rest that summer offers and I encourage you to reach out to us at 1-800-5-CATHOLIC if you have ideas for how we can continue to make Catholic schools “a place to grow.”