For many, Catholic Schools Week is the kickoff to next year’s registration and a time to market your school. For principals, it’s a busy week dealing with schedule changes and activities. My hope is that we can make it something more. Providing celebrations and rewards builds community. And building community strengthens our bonds to each other. With stronger bonds comes better retention.
Coupled with our sense of community, I would hope we would examine our schools in light of Pope Francis’s call to accompaniment. We can all become discouraged by the lack of participation by school families in our schools and parishes. The old paradigm was that people would attend Mass every Sunday because it was required (and a sin not to!). Or that every parent would participate in the HSA because they’re supposed to. This paradigm is no longer effective.
We need to invite people. Personally. Don’t just announce it in the newsletter or post it on Facebook. We need to pick up the phone and call people! It needs to be personal to be meaningful. This is one ways that schools who use parent ambassadors are using best practices. If one were to look for opportunities for evangelization, there would be no greater opportunity that Catholic elementary schools. We need each other and are saved in community, not in isolation. We should focus more on how often our families come (5x or more per week) than how often they don’t (e.g. Sundays).
I hope you use this week to thank all of your stakeholders and show them your gratitude for their participation in our schools. A written thank you note goes a long way! We need to find ways to keep connecting our communities. Enjoy the week! A few other resources for you:
- Video thanking parents from the superintendent
- Bishop Mike’s video thanking teachers
This post originally appeared in Catholic School Matters