God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
This prayer has been swimming in my head this past year as we continue to confront new challenges and things seem to be ever-changing. How to figure out what we can influence and impact?
From my vantage point, it looks like we are coming out of the pandemic as rapidly as we went into it! So now is the time to start transitioning our parents and students back toward our normal. As we rely on strong Catholic communities to support our schools, I have a few recommendations for your summer.
Many of our parents have been disconnected from the school. Unable to volunteer, unable to cheer at games or attend many normal events, these parents have grown accustomed to life without Catholic school parenting. Other parents have joined us this year and don’t know any different.
We need to intentionally rebuild our parent support. We should be reaching out to parents now asking for volunteers for work parties. A summer barbeque for families should be planned. Before this non-involved reality becomes normal, we need to emphasize how much we need parental involvement. And we need to do it now! Many of our schools have seen increases in new students. You need to recruit those parents to come back and show them that strong parental involvement is part of your school’s strength.
We’ve also lost many students. Do you have a plan to reach out and invite them back? Sometimes we need to put aside our pride (and our hurt feelings) and reach out for the benefit of the students. Enrollment management is more than recruiting new students.
We also need to recruit our current students to come back. Summer camps, open gyms, outdoor play parties, all could go a long way to rebuilding connections. Remember, outside is okay. Asking parents to organize grade-level gatherings is worth the effort.
We’re all connected. Let’s focus on coming back together.
This post originally appeared in the May 17th Catholic School Matters newsletter.